Genesis 31:9
Thus God has taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me.
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Genesis 31:9. God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me — Thus the righteous God paid Jacob for his hard service out of Laban’s estate, as he afterward paid the seed of Jacob for the service of the Egyptians with the spoils of that people.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.

6. ye know that … I have served your father—Having stated his strong grounds of dissatisfaction with their father's conduct and the ill requital he had got for all his faithful services, he informed them of the blessing of God that had made him rich notwithstanding Laban's design to ruin him; and finally, of the command from God he had received to return to his own country, that they might not accuse him of caprice, or disaffection to their family; but be convinced, that in resolving to depart, he acted from a principle of religious obedience. No text from Poole on this verse. Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father,.... Not all of them, see Genesis 31:19; but a great part of them; his flock was much lessened by those means, and more were taken away, and came to Jacob's share, than if Laban had abode by the original agreement:

and gave them to me; who has the disposing of all things in the world, whose the world, and all in it, are, and gives of it to the sons of men as he pleases. Jacob takes no notice of any artifice of his, or of any means and methods he made use of, but wholly ascribes all to the providence of God, and points to his wives the hand of God only; and indeed it seems to be by his direction that he took the method he did, as appears from Genesis 31:11.

Thus {c} God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me.

(c) This declares that the thing Jacob did before, was by God's commandment, and not through deceit.

Verse 9. - Thus - literally, and (as the result of this) - God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me. In ascribing to God what he had himself effected by (so-called) fraud, this language of Jacob appears to some inexcusable (Kalisch); in passing over his own stratagem in silence Jacob has been charged with not telling the whole truth to his wives (Keil). A more charitable consideration of Jacob's statement, however, discerns-in it an evidence of his piety, which recognized and gratefully acknowledged that not his own "consummate cunning, 'but Jehovah s watchful care had enabled him to outwit the dishonest craft of Laban (Rosenmüller, Ainsworth, Bush, Candlish, Murphy). The Flight. - Through some angry remarks of Laban's sons with reference to his growing wealth, and the evident change in the feelings of Laban himself towards him (Genesis 31:1, Genesis 31:2), Jacob was inwardly prepared for the termination of his present connection with Laban; and at the same time he received instructions from Jehovah, to return to his home, together with a promise of divine protection. In consequence of this, he sent for Rachel and Leah to come to him in the field, and explained to them (Genesis 31:4-13), how their father's disposition had changed towards him, and how he had deceived him in spite of the service he had forced out of him, and had altered his wages ten times; but that the God of his father had stood by him, and had transferred to him their father's cattle, and now at length had directed him to return to his home.
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