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white appear which was in the by themselves, and put them not rods. unto Laban's cattle.

38. 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 they should conceive when they came to drink.

39. And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ring-streaked, speckled, and spotted.

40. And Jacob did separate the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the ring-streaked, and all the brown in the flock of Laban; and he put his own flocks

41. 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.

42. But when the cattle were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Labans, and the stronger Jacob's.

43. And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maid-servants, and men-servants, and camels, and asses.

572. That the mode adopted by Jacob to increase his flocks and herds, is possible, is, we believe, conceded. It is founded upon a principle in nature that is well known, however mysterious and inexplicable it may be. But here one suggestion, as to the credibility of this and similar wonders, may not be out of place. Suppose, then, we had never seen any such thing as is here described, is there any other marvel recorded in the Bible, that would have been more difficult to receive as true? We receive this record as credible, because it implies the action of a law with which we are acquainted. May not other wonders be as much the result of natural laws, though we may not be acquainted with them? We believe that all miracles are the result of law (if one prefers that term) as much as any other event.

573. The morality of the transaction is to be decided upon, as we would decide upon any other in similar cir

cumstances.

SECTION V.-JACOB LEAVES LABAN.

CHAP. XXXI.

1. And he heard the words of Laban's sons, saying Jacob hath taken away all that was our father's; and of that which was our father's hath he gotten all this glory.

2. And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and behold, it was not toward him as before.

3. And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.

4. And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock,

5. And said unto them, I see your father's countenance, that it is not toward me as before: but the God of my father hath been with me. 6. And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. 7. And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me.

8. If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ring streaked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ring-streaked.

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

10. And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstreaked, speckled and grizzled.

11. And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob; And I said here am I.

12. And he said, Lift up now thine eyes and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ring-streaked, speckled, and grizzled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee.

13. I am the God of Beth-el, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me; now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred.

14. And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house?

15. Are we not counted of him strangers? for he had sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money.

16. For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is ours and our children's: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee do.

17. Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels:

18. And he carried away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten in Padanaram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan.

19. And Laban went to shear his sheep and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father's.

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20. And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled.

21. So he fled with all that he had, and he rose up, and passed over the river, and set his face toward the mount Gilead.

574. There seem to have been some transactions, between Laban and Jacob, of which we have no account. There is a hint of this kind, in the remark of Jacob that Laban had changed his wages ten times; and also in that

of his wives "Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house? Are we not counted by him strangers; for he hath sold us and hath quite devoured also our money?" The conduct of Jacob may receive some mitigation, from the injustice that had been practiced upon him by Laban. So the taking of the images on the part of Rachel, may have been regarded only as seeking restitution for what her father had unjustly taken from her. And, though one wrong does never justify another, yet we cannot look upon a wrong act, when done in self-defence, as we do when it is done without any such reason. And, if in those days deception and fraud were not regarded in the same light they are now, the fact is one of many illustrations, of what Christianity has done for the world.

575. It is well for us to remark here, as very plainly shown in the book of Genesis, by many examples that might be cited, and especially by what Jacob says in verse 9th, and his wives in verse 16th, that God is said to do many things that can be ascribed to him only indirectly. God took from Laban his flocks and gave them to Jacob, only by allowing Jacob to do it, by an expedient that cannot be excused by any strictly just and righteous principle.

576. The country of Laban is called Padan-aram. His residence was Haran. It is a coincidence worthy of note, that one of the grand-sons of Nahor was called Aram; and as it was customary in those days to name places from persons, there can be little doubt that Aram was named after Aram, son of Remuel, son of Nahor, brother of Abraham. It was called Padan-aram or Plain of Aram, as that is the meaning_of Padan. It should be farther observed, that, in the Hebrew, what the translators call Syrian, is Aramean, (evidently from the same Aram) though it is believed that both terms are equally appropriate for the country referred to.

SECTION VI. THE PURSUIT.

CHAP.

22. And it was told Laban on the third day, that Jacob was fled. 23. And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days' journey; and they overtook him in the mount Gilead.

XXXI.

24. And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said unto him, Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.

577. The river, here referred to, is understood to be the river Euphrates, as that is often called by way of distinction the river. The passage of this river seems to have occurred more than once, before Jacob reached his destination, owing, we suppose, either to some bend in the river, or perhaps, to the meanderings of the accustomed route. Comp. xxxii. 16, 21; xxxiii. 3.

578. That Laban was an idolator, is obvious from the images that were stolen by Rachel, as these images are expressly called Laban's gods, in verse 30. See also XXXV. 2. The reason why Rachel stole them, may have been from an idolatrous veneration that she entertained for them, having been thus educated; or, what is more probable, from their value as composed of gold or silver. And if the last, the disposition made of them afterwards, and other valuables connected with them, may be regarded as an indication of Jacob's abhorence of idol worship, since he would not retain even the precious metal that composed them, but buried it under a tree.

SECTION VII. - THE INTERVIEW IN MOUNT GILEAD.

CHAP. XXXI.

25. T Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mount: and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mount of Gilead.

26. And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou done, that thou hast stolen away unawares to me, and carried away my daughters, as captives taken with the sword?

27. Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp?

28. And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? thou hast now done foolishly in so doing.

29. It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt; but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.

30. And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father's house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?

31. And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid: for I said, Peradventure thou wouldest take by force thy daughters from me.

32. With whomsoever thou find est thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them.

33. And Laban went into Jacob's tent, and into Leah's tent, and into the two maid-servants' tents; but he found them not. Then went he out of Leah's tent, and entered into Rachel's tent.

34. Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel's furniture, and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but found them not.

35. And she said to her father, Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the custom of women is upon me. And he searched, but found not the images.

36 T And Jacob was wroth, and chode with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What is my trespass? what is my sin, that thou hast so hotly pursued after me?

37. Whereas thou hast searched all my stuff, what hast thou found of all thy household stuff? set it here before my brethren, and thy brethren, that they may judge betwixt us both.

38. This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes, and thy shegoats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I

not eaten.

39. 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.

40. Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night, and my sleep departed from mine eyes.

41. Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times.

42. Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the Fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen my affliction, and the labor of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.

43. T And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and these cattle are my cattle, and all that thou seest is mine: and what can I do this day unto these my daughters, or unto their children which they have borne?

44. Now therefore come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee.

45. And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar.

46. And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones: and they took stones, and made an heap; and they did eat there upon the heap.

47. And Laban called it Jegarsahadutha: but Jacob called it Galeed.

48. And Laban said, This heap is a witness between me and thee this day. Therefore was the name of it called Galeed;

49. And Mizpah; for he said, The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.

50. If thou shalt afflict my daughters, or if thou shalt take other wives besides my daughters, no

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