Genesis 31:5
And said to them, I see your father's countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father has been with me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
31:1-21 The affairs of these families are related very minutely, while (what are called) the great events of states and kingdoms at that period, are not mentioned. The Bible teaches people the common duties of life, how to serve God, how to enjoy the blessings he bestows, and to do good in the various stations and duties of life. Selfish men consider themselves robbed of all that goes past them, and covetousness will even swallow up natural affection. Men's overvaluing worldly wealth is that error which is the root of covetousness, envy, and all evil. The men of the world stand in each other's way, and every one seems to be taking away from the rest; hence discontent, envy, and discord. But there are possessions that will suffice for all; happy they who seek them in the first place. In all our removals we should have respect to the command and promise of God. If He be with us, we need not fear. The perils which surround us are so many, that nothing else can really encourage our hearts. To remember favoured seasons of communion with God, is very refreshing when in difficulties; and we should often recollect our vows, that we fail not to fulfil them.Circumstances at length induce Jacob to propose flight to his wives. His prosperity provokes the envy and slander of Laban's sons, and Laban himself becomes estranged. The Lord now commands Jacob to return, and promises him his presence to protect him. Jacob now opens his mind fully to Rachel and Leah. Rachel, we observe, is put first. Several new facts come out in his discourse to them. Ye know - Jacob appeals to his wives on this point - "that with all my might I served your father." He means, of course, to the extent of his engagement. During the last six years he was to provide for his own house, as the Lord permitted him, with the full knowledge and concurrence of Laban. Beyond this, which is a fair and acknowledged exception, he has been faithful in keeping the cattle of Laban. "Your father deceived me, and changed my wages ten times;" that is, as often as he could.

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.

4. Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah—His wives and family were in their usual residence. Whether he wished them to be present at the festivities of sheep shearing, as some think; or, because he could not leave his flock, he called them both to come to him, in order that, having resolved on immediate departure, he might communicate his intentions. Rachel and Leah only were called, for the other two wives, being secondary and still in a state of servitude, were not entitled to be taken into account. Jacob acted the part of a dutiful husband in telling them his plans; for husbands that love their wives should consult with them and trust in them (Pr 31:11). Either,

1. Hath blessed me; hath stood constantly by me, when your father hath failed and deceived me. Or,

2. Hath appeared unto me, as Genesis 31:13. And said unto them, I see your father's countenance, that it is not towards me as before,.... See Gill on Genesis 31:2; no notice is taken of what their brethren, the sons of Laban, had said:

but the God of my father hath been with me; not only by affording him his gracious presence with him, which supported him under all his troubles; but by his good providence prospering and succeeding him in his outward affairs, as well as he had lately appeared to him, and encouraged him to return to his own country.

And said unto them, I see your father's countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the {b} God of my father hath been with me.

(b) The God whom my fathers worshipped.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 5. - And said unto them, I see your father's countenance, that it is not toward me as before (vide supra); but the God of my father - literally, and the Elohim of my father, the term Elohim employed by Jacob not being due to "the vagueness of the religious knowledge" possessed by his wives (Hengstenberg), but to a desire on his own part either to distinguish the God of his father from the gods of the nations, or the idols which Laban worshipped ('Speaker s Commentary'), or perhaps, while using an expression exactly equivalent to Jehovah, to bring out a contrast between the Divine favor and that of Laban (Quarry) - hath been with me - literally, was with me; not the night before simply, but during the past six years, as he explains in ver. 7. He did not adopt the trick with the rods, however, on every occasion of copulation, for the sheep in those countries lamb twice a year, but only at the copulation of the strong sheep (המקשּׁרות the bound ones, i.e., firm and compact), - Luther, "the spring flock;" ליחמנּה inf. Pi. "to conceive it (the young);" - but not "in the weakening of the sheep," i.e., when they were weak, and would produce weak lambs. The meaning is probably this: he only adopted this plan at the summer copulation, not the autumn; for, in the opinion of the ancients (Pliny, Columella), lambs that were conceived in the spring and born in the autumn were stronger than those born in the spring (cf. Bochart l.c. p. 582). Jacob did this, possibly, less to spare Laban, than to avoid exciting suspicion, and so leading to the discovery of his trick. - In Genesis 30:43 the account closes with the remark, that the man increased exceedingly, and became rich in cattle (רבּות צאן many head of sheep and goats) and slaves, without expressing approbation of Jacob's conduct, or describing his increasing wealth as a blessing from God. The verdict is contained in what follows.
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