And he said to him, My lord knows that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Flocks and herds with young.—Heb., that give such. Thompson (Land and Book, p. 205) infers from this that it was now winter, and thinks that this is confirmed by Jacob making folds for his cattle at Succoth. If so, more than six months would have elapsed since Jacob’s flight from Haran; but the conclusion is uncertain, and Jacob probably halted at Succoth because of his lameness.
12. And he said, Let us take our journey—Esau proposed to accompany Jacob and his family through the country, both as a mark of friendship and as an escort to guard them. But the proposal was prudently declined. Jacob did not need any worldly state or equipage. Notwithstanding the present cordiality, the brothers were so different in spirit, character, and habits—the one so much a man of the world, and the other a man of God, that there was great risk of something occurring to disturb the harmony. Jacob having alleged a very reasonable excuse for the tardiness of his movements, the brothers parted in peace.The children are tender; the eldest of them, Reuben, not being yet fourteen years old.
The flocks and herds with young are with me; or, upon me, i.e. committed to my care, to be managed as their necessities require. See Isaiah 40:11.
and the flocks and herds with young are with me; or "upon me" (r); the charge of them was upon him, it was incumbent on him to take care of them, and especially in the circumstances in which they were, being big with young, both sheep and kine; or "suckling", giving milk to their young, as the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan, and so having lambs and calves, some of them perhaps just yeaned and calved, they required more attendance and greater care in driving them, not being able to travel far in a day:
and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die; if he, and the servants under him, should push them on too fast, beyond their strength, even but one day, all in the above circumstances would be in danger of being lost through overmuch fatigue and weariness.And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)13. tender] i.e. young and unequal to the fatigues of travel.Verse 13. - And he (Jacob, politely declining Esau's society and protection, though apparently accepting his invitation to go to Mount Seir) said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender (Joseph at this time being little over six years of age), and the flocks and herds with young (literally, giving milk; עַלות, from עוּל, to give suck) are with me, - literally, upon me, i.e. are an object of my special care, because of their condition (Rosenmüller, Keil) - and if men should over-drive them literally, and they (sc. the shepherds) will over-drive them, i.e. in order to keep pace with Esau's armed followers they must do so, and in that case, if they were to do so for only - one day, all the flock (literally, and all the flock) will die. Thomson says that Oriental shepherds gently lead along the mothers when in the condition spoken of by Jacob, knowing well that even one day's over-driving would be fatal to them, and, from the fact that Jacob's ewes were giving milk, infers that it was winter time, since then alone the flocks are in that condition - an inference which he further confirms by observing that at Succoth Jacob constructed booths for their protection ('Land and Book,' p. 205).
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