« FöregåendeFortsätt »
we love him, we shall call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, and honourable, and it will be honoured by us ; nor shall we scruple to break through difficulties to serve and obey him. As he is the most worthy object of our love and desire, if our affections are suitably raised, we shall be glad of any method to show our love and respect. In like manner should we cherish a kind and benevolent affection to our fellow creatures, as the only foundation for kind and benevolent words and actions. If devotion and charity freeze at the heart, the life will be destitute of the fruits of them. Earnest langings after the enjoyment of God's favour and friendship, and the prospect of likeness to him in a better world, will make us steady and constant in his service. This will be the best remedy against the evils of life ; none of these things will then move us, neither shall we count our lives dear unto us, 80 that we may finish our course with joy. If the love of God be shed abroad in our hearts, through the holy Spirit given unto us, we shall esteem the afflictions of the present life light, and not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. The Lord direct our hearts, therefore, into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for of Christ Jesus ; for eye hath not seen, nor car heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive, those things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
CHAP. XXX. Gives an account of the increase of Jacob's family and substance. Į AND when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children,
H Rachel envied her sister ; and said unto Jacob, Give 2 me children, or else I die with grief and vexation. And Ja.
cob's anger was kindled against Rachel his beloved wife, and he made a very grave and pious reply, and said, [Am] I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the
womb? It is his prerogative to give children. But so desirous 3 was Rachel to have children of her own, And so impatient, that
she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her ; and she shall bear upon my knees, or lap, that I may also have chil
dren by her, that may be brought up and nursed by me as my 4 own. And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife, or as
a concubine : and Jacobs, overcome by her constant importunity,
complied, and went in unto her. 5 6 And Bilhah conceived and bare Jacob a son. And Rachel
said, God hath judged me, given sentence on my side against Leah, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a
son : therefore called she his name Dan, that is judging. 7 And Bilhab Rachel's maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a VOL. I.
8 second son. And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I
wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed; I and my sisa ter have striven for children, and I have gotten my wish at length beyond my sister's expectation : and she called his name
Naphtali, that is, my wrestling. 9 When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah 10 her maid, and gave her Jacob tó wife. And Zilpah Leah's Il maid bare Jacob a son. And Leah said, A troop cometh,
I shall have more children still : and she called his name Gad, 12 that is, a troop, or company. And Zilpah Leah's maid bare 13 Jacob a second son. And Leah said, Happy am I, for the
daughters will call me blessed and she called his name
Asher, that is, happy. 14 And Reuben, Leah's eldest son, went in the days of wheat
harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, probably lilies of a beautiful colour, and brought them unto his mother Leah.
Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son's 15 mandrakes. And she said unto her, (Is it] a small matter
that thoú hast taken my husband ? that is, drawn his affection from me, 80 that he estrangeth himself from my bed through thy means, and wouldst thou take away my son's mandrakes also ?
And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night 16 for thy son's mandrakes. And Jacob came out of the field
in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me ; for surely I have hired thee
with my son's mandrakes. And he lay with her that night.* 17 And God hearkened unto Leah, to her earnest prayers, and 18 she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son. And Leah said,
God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maid
en to my husband : and she called his name Issachar, that is, 19 an hire, or wages. And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob 20 the sixth son. And Leah said, God hath endued me (with)
a good dowry ; now will my husband dwell with me, because
I have borne him six sons : and she called his name Zebulun, 21 that is, dwelling. And afterward she bare a daughter, and
called her name Dinah, that is, judgment, as if she had now got
the better of Rachel. 22 And God would not suffer Leah to triumph, therefore re
membered Rachel, and God hearkened to her and opened her 23 womb. And she conceived, and bare a son ; and said, God 24 hath taken away my reproach, that is, my barrenness : And
she called his name Joseph, that is, adding ; and said, the
LORD shall add to me another son. 25 And it came to pass, when Rachel had borne Joseph, and
• The reason of this contention between Jacob's wives for his company, was the earnest desire they had to fulfil the promise made to Abraham, that his seed should be as the stars of heaven for multitude, and that in one seed of his, that is, the Messiah, all the nations of the earth should be blessed. It would have been below the dignity of such a sacred history as this to relate such things if there had not been something of great consideration in then i and that it was on a religious account, seems plain from w. 17.
the second seven years' service was fulfilled, that Jacob said
unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own 26 place, and to my country. Give [me] my wives and my chil
dren, for whom I have served thee, and let me go : for thou 27 knowest my service which I have done thee. And Laban
said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine
eyes, (tarry : for] I have learned by experience that the 28 LORD hath blessed me for thy sake. And he said, Appoint 29 me thy wages, and I will give [it.) And he said unto him,
Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy cattle 30 was with me. For (it was] little which thou hadst before I
[came,) and it is (now) increased unto a multitude ; and the
LORD hath blessed thee since my coming : and now when 31 shall I provide for mine own house also ? And he said,
What shall I give thee? And Jacob said, Thou shalt not give me any thing, no certain wages, or stinted hire, but only
what God's providence shall allot me ; if thou wilt do this thing 32 for me, I will again feed [and] keep thy flock : I will pass
through all thy flock today, removing from thence all the speckled and spotted cattle, and all the brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats; all these shall be removed and sent to a distance ; and from this
time all (of such] colours or marks as I have described, that shall 33 'be born of the white dame under my care, shall be my hire. So
shall my righteousness answer for me in time to come, my just dealing shall be made evident by the very colour of the cat. tle, and when it shall come for my hire before thy face : every one that [is] not speckled and spotted among the goats, and
brown among the sheep, that shall be accounted stolen with me, 34 And Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to
thy word ; knowing that cattle naturally bring forth young ones 35 like themselves. And he, that is, Laban, removed that day
the he goats that were ring streaked, had rings of different colours round their legs or bodies, and spotted, and all the she goats that were speckled and spotted, [and] every one that
had (some) white in it, and all the brown among the sheep, 36 and gave (them) into the hand of his sons. And he set three
days' journey betwixt himself and Jacob ; and Jacob fed
the rest of Laban's flocks. 37 And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hasel
and chesnut tree ; and pilled white streaks in them, and 38 made the white appear which (was] in the rods. And he set
the rods which he had pilled before the flocks in the gutters
in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that 39 they should conceive when they came to drink. And the
flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle 40 ring streaked, speckled, and spotted.* And Jacob did sepam
• Though the strength of imagination in time of conception may be very great, yet there was a special providence in this, as a recompense for his sore labour.
rate all the lambs, which were thus brought forth spottedy and set the faces of the flocks of Laban, which were white or brown, toward the ring streaked, and all the brown in the flock of Laban, that by looking on the party coloured at the time when they coupled, they might bring forth the like : and he put his own flocks by themselves, and put them not unto Laban's cat
tle, lest by looking on them they should bring forth single colour41 ed. And it came to pass, whensoever the stronger cattle did
conceive, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the cattle
in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods, and 42 be ring streaked. But when the cattle were feeble, as in the
autumn, (for the cattle bred twice a year he put (them) not
in : so the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's. 43 And by these three stratagems, or contrivances, and the bless
ing of God upon him, the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maid servants, and men servants, and cam-, els, and asses.
1. T ET us guard against envy. What a wretched figure
U does Rachel here make! She was grieved and vexed at the prosperity of her sister, till she almost fretted herself to dmth. Envy is the rottenness of the bones, destroys all health and self enjoyment; and often occasions great differences between near relations. It is also a sin against God, who makes men to differ. Let us check the first beginning of so baleful a passion. To envy the prosperity of others is foolish and wicked, and makes us our own tormentors. Envy not sinners, therefore, but be in the fear of the Lord all the day long.
2. Let us regard God as the author of all the pleasing and calamitous events of life. Children are an heritage of the Lord ; his hand is to be owned in all our mercies ; it is he also who withholds any mercy from us, and he has a right to do it, for we have forfeited all. He may do what he will with his own ; on his blessing we constantly depend for the most common enjoyments: Shall we receive good from the hand of the Lord, and shall we not receive evil and affliction also 2 When he withholds or takes away children, as well as when he gives them, it becomes us to say, The Lord gave, and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord.
3. See the fatal and natural consequence of polygamy. Into how many snares and vexations was Jacob led by the scandalous disputes of his wives, the debates of his father in law, and his own imprudent conduct ! and what a wretched life must that mani have, who is perpetually vexed with such competitors ! This is designed to show us what an evil thing polygamy is, and the wise com of that divine institution, which enjoins that one man and one, woman only should be joined together. And to prevent all those jealousies, vexations, and quarrels, things of such ill report, the apostle commands, 1 Cor. vii. 2. Let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
4. It is desirable to be such in our respective stations, as that God may bless others for our sakes. Laban owns he was blessed, not for his own sake, but for Jacob's. Good men are a blessing to families where their lot is cast. Such should all servants be, and such servants should be highly esteemed and prized : the wicked may sometimes be blessed, for the sake of their pious res Lations. In whatever stations of life Providence fixes us, let us behave well in them, and fill them up with honour and integrity; that we may, in this way, be a blessing to all who are related to us, and have the comfort of being serviceable to them as well as others. To obtain the blessing of God on others, is the best service we can do them; and to be instrumental in this will be a foundation for the greatest satisfaction. Jacob, for whose sake Laban was blessed, was remarkably blessed himself; he had been just and industrious in Laban's service, and God made his own affairs prosperous. It is the blessing of God alone that maketh rich, and addeth no sorrow with it.
Jacob having spent several years in Laban's service, begins to be
weary, and to think of returning home. We have in this chapter his intention to depart, and the reason of it. He begins his journey ; Laban pursues him, and expostulates with him on his fight; Jacob's wise and admirable reply ; and their happy agreement and friendly parting : in all of which we see much of the hand and providence of God.
1 A ND he, that is, Jacob, heard the words of Laban's
A sons, who began to quarrel with and represent him as a thief, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our fa
ther's : and of [that] which (was) our father's hath he gotten 2 all this glory, or wealth. And Jacob beheld the countenance
of Laban, and, behold, it (was not toward him as before ; he could not conceal his hatred. This made Jacob's situation very uneasy ; but he could not determine to leave it till God come
manded him. B And the LORD said unto Jacob, perhaps in a dream, Return
unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred ; and I will be 4 with thee, and deal well with thee. And Jacob sent and called 5 Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock, And said unto
them, I see your father's countenance, that it (is) not toward