Genesis 31:39
That which was torn of beasts I brought not to you; I bore the loss of it; of my hand did you require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night.
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Genesis 31:39-40. That which was torn I brought not unto thee — What Jacob here affirms, and for the truth of which he appeals to Laban, shows him to have been of a very industrious and faithful disposition, and that Laban’s temper was exceedingly selfish and sordid: for though Jacob was his relation, and his substance had increased so greatly under his hand, yet he was very rigid toward him, and required him to make good all the cattle that were lost, by whatever accident it happened. In the day the drought consumed me — “In Europe,” says Sir John Chardin, quoted by Harmer, vol. 1. p. 74, “the days and nights resemble each other, with respect to the qualities of heat and cold; but it is quite otherwise in the East. In the lower Asia, in particular, the day is always hot, and, as soon as the sun is fifteen degrees above the horizon, no cold is felt in the depth of winter itself. On the contrary, in the height of summer, the nights are as cold as at Paris in the month of March. It is for this reason that in Persia and Turkey they always make use of furred habits in the country, such only being sufficient to resist the cold of the nights.”31:36-42 If Jacob were willingly consumed with heat in the day, and frost by night, to become the son-in-law of Laban, what should we refuse to endure, to become the sons of God? Jacob speaks of God as the God of his father; he thought himself unworthy to be regarded, but was beloved for his father's sake. He calls him the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac; for Abraham was dead, and gone to that world where perfect love casts out fear; but Isaac was yet alive, sanctifying the Lord in his heart, as his fear and his dread.After the search for the teraphim has proved vain, Jacob warmly upbraids Laban. "The camel's saddle." This was a pack-saddle, in the recesses of which articles might be deposited, and on which was a seat or couch for the rider. Rachel pleads the custom of women as an excuse for keeping her seat; which is admitted by Laban, not perhaps from the fear of ceremonial defilement Leviticus 15:19-27, as this law was not yet in force, but from respect to his daughter and the conviction that in such circumstances she would not sit upon the teraphim. "My brethren and thy brethren" - their common kindred. Jacob recapitulates his services in feeling terms. "By day the drought;" caused by the heat, which is extreme during the day, while the cold is not less severe in Palestine during the night. "The fear of Isaac" - the God whom Isaac fears. Judged - requited by restraining thee from wrong-doing.39. That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee—The shepherds are strictly responsible for losses in the flock, unless they can prove these were occasioned by wild beasts. Which was unjust and unreasonable, except where it fell out through the shepherd’s default. See Exodus 22:13.

Quest. How could Jacob pay these losses, seeing he came empty from his father’s house, and got nothing by his service, for the first fourteen years, but his wives?

Answ. Either, 1. He had some supplies sent from his father, though it be not mentioned in this history. Or,

2. He might have some inconsiderable allowances or privileges from Laban, out of which he could easily defray these charges, which because of his great care and watchfulness did but seldom happen. Or,

3. These losses were put to his account, to be satisfied by him as soon as he should be able to do it. That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee,.... To show what had befallen it; that so it might appear he had one the less to account for to him:

I bore the loss of it; took it upon himself, as if it had been somewhat blameworthy in him, as the word used signifies; and so made satisfaction for it; which, how he did, when he had no wages, is difficult to say: he might have some perquisites allowed him by Laban, though he had no settled salary; or he might lay himself under obligation to make it good whenever it was in his power, as follows:

of mine hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night; whether by men or beasts; or by men in the daytime, and by beasts in the night, as the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem distinguish: Laban was so rigorous and unjust as to require the restoration of them, or an equivalent for them at the hand of Jacob; all which were contrary to the law of God, Exodus 22:10.

That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night.
39. I brought not unto thee] Jacob allowed himself to be the loser by the animals that were killed by wild beasts. Instead of bringing the mangled remains so that their value might not be deducted, he cheerfully bore the full loss: see Exodus 22:12-13; Amos 3:12. Jacob had exceeded the standard of fairness which was required by custom: “I bare the loss of it,” i.e. “I used to make myself responsible for the loss.”Laban looked through all the tents, but did not find his teraphim; for Rachel had put them in the saddle of her camel and was sitting upon them, and excused herself to her lord (Adonai, Genesis 31:35), on the ground that the custom of women was upon her. "The camel's furniture," i.e., the saddle (not "the camel's litter:" Luther), here the woman's riding saddle, which had a comfortable seat formed of carpets on the top of the packsaddle. The fact that Laban passed over Rachel's seat because of her pretended condition, does not presuppose the Levitical law in Leviticus 15:19., according to which, any one who touched the couch or seat of such a woman was rendered unclean. For, in the first place, the view which lies at the foundation of this law was much older than the laws of Moses, and is met with among many other nations (cf. Bhr, Symbolik ii. 466, etc.); consequently Laban might refrain from making further examination, less from fear of defilement, than because he regarded it as impossible that any one with the custom of women upon her should sit upon his gods.
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