And he said, Lift up now your eyes, and see, all the rams which leap on the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and spotted: for I have seen all that Laban does to you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Grisled.—That is, covered with spots like hailstones, the word “grisled” being derived from the French grêle, hail. Others derive the word from gris, grisaille, grey.Genesis 31:12. I have seen all that Laban doeth to thee — If we attend to this vision we cannot but see reason to conclude that it was really communicated to Jacob at this time to make use of the speckled rods; for here is a plain declaration that God would effect the thing, and the reason why; because he had seen Laban’s ungenerous and unfair dealing toward Jacob, and therefore was resolved to punish him for it, and at the same time reward Jacob for his fidelity and contentedness under these injuries.
If, at the end of the first year, he found that Jacob had gained considerably, though he began with nothing, he might change his wages every following half-year, and so actually change them ten times in five years. In this case, the preceding chapter only records his original expedients, and then states the final result. "God suffered him not to hurt me." Jacob, we are to remember, left his hire to the providence of God. He thought himself bound at the same time to use all legitimate means for the attainment of the desired end. His expedients may have been perfectly legitimate in the circumstances, but they were evidently of no avail without the divine blessing. And they would become wholly ineffectual when his wages were changed. Hence, he says, God took the cattle and gave them to me. Jacob seems here to record two dreams, the former of which is dated at the rutting season. The dream indicates the result by a symbolic representation, which ascribes it rather to the God of nature than to the man of art. The second dream makes allusion to the former as a process still going on up to the present time. This appears to be an encouragement to Jacob now to commit himself to the Lord on his way home. The angel of the Lord, we observe, announces himself as the God of Bethel, and recalls to Jacob the pillar and the vow. The angel, then, is Yahweh manifesting himself to human apprehension.
all the rams that leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled,
and grisled; thereby assuring him, that such would be those the ewes would bring forth, which would be right in him to agree with Laban for as his hire; and it is probable that there was some distance of time, at least a night, between the first motion of Laban's to Jacob to settle his wages, Genesis 30:28; and his repeating that, and being urgent to have it done, Genesis 31:31; and in this interval of time might be the night Jacob had this dream and vision in, for his direction; or if it was after the bargain made, since it is said to be at the time the cattle conceived, he had it to assure him of God's approbation of it, and of his success in it:
for I have seen all that Laban doeth to thee; had took notice how he had made him serve fourteen years for his wives, and had given him nothing for his service; and how he now was taking advantage of Jacob's modesty to get him to fix his own wages, which he supposed would be lower than he could have the face to, offer him.And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ring-streaked, speckled, and grizzled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 12. - And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled. Since all the parti-colored animals had already been removed (Genesis 30:35), this vision must have been intended to assure him that the flocks would produce speckled and spotted progeny all the same as if the ringstraked and grisled rams and he-goats had not been removed from their midst (cf. Kurtz, § 78). To insist upon a contradiction between this account of the increase of Jacob's flocks and that mentioned in Genesis 30:37 is to forget that both may be true. Equally arbitrary does it seem to be to accuse Jacob of fraud in adopting the artifice of the pilled rods (Kalisch). Without resorting to the supposition that he acted under God s guidance (Wordsworth), we may believe that the dream suggested the expedient referred to, in which some see Jacob's unbelief and impatience (Kurtz, Gosman in Lange), and others a praiseworthy instance of self-help (Keil). For I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. If the preceding clause appears to imply that the vision was sent to Jacob at the beginning of the six years' service, the present clause scents to point to the end of that period as the date of its occurrence; in which case it would require to be understood as a Divine intimation to Jacob that his immense wealth was not to be ascribed to the success of his own stratagem, but to the blessing of God (Delitzsch). The difficulty of harmonizing the two views has led to the suggestion that Jacob here mixes the accounts of two different visions accorded to him, at the commencement and at the close of the period of servitude (Nachmanides, Rosenmüller, Kurtz,- ' Speaker's Commentary,' Murphy, Candlish). Exodus 13:11, Exodus 13:20; Exodus 34:17.
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