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Considering Jacob's circumstances, we cannot wonder that he felt such extraordinary emotions of joy as drew tears from his eyes when he found in his mother's family a woman so agreeable to his wishes.

It appears that Jacob did not remain an idle guest in his uncle's house, he endeavoured to make himself useful: but justice required, that as he was destitute of a provision, and earned more than his maintenance cost, he should have wages.

It was at that time a custom in contracting marriages, that as the wife brought a portion to her husband, he should make some present to her friends in return. Jacob therefore being destitute of money, offered to his uncle seven years service, which was equivalent to a large sum. Why he did not rather send to his father for a supply the Scripture does not mention; but it is likely that Jacob having received such gracious promises from Cod, thought it incumbent on him to depend upon the blessing of Providence, on his own labours, rather than to ask assistance from his. friends: and Isaac might be restrained from providing for him (as Abraham was in the case of Ishmael) by a Divine command.

The custom of having a plurality of wives prevailed generally in that part of the world, and Jacob did not know it was wrong to comply with it. From Jacob's example in working for Laban, we are instructed, that the best way for persons in necessity to ensure a welcome among relations, is to endeavour to be useful to them. The treachery of Laban needs no comment.

SECTION XXXVII.

HISTORY OF JACOB CONTINUED.

From Genesis, Chap. XXX. .> And when the Lord saw that Jacob hated Leah, he I 4 . gave gave her six sons, and they were named Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun; and "she had a daughter called Dinah; but Rachel had no childdren, and Rachel envied her sister, and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.

And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel, and he.said, Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld chilli mi from thee? And Gon remembered Rachel, and Go D hearkened to her, and she bare a eon, and she called his name Joseph. '. .". . ''. :i ' .

..; And Jacob had two other wives, Bilhah the handmaid of Rachel, and Zilpha the handmaid of Leah: and Bilhah bare two sons named Dan and Napthali, and Zilpah bare Gad and Assur. ,. '. i»,

And it came to pass, when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country. . . A. , Qive;memv wives and my children, for whom I have served thee,-and let me go: for thouknowest my service which I have done thee. . >ii •>•-(•• > ' .i.

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 Lord hath blessed me for thy Rjke*' . . .

And he said, Appoint me thy wages, and I will give

it.

And he said unto him, Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy cattle was with me.

Tor it was little which thou hadst before I came, and it is now increased into a multitude; and the Lord hath blessed thee since my coming: and now when thall I provide for mine own house also?

And he said, What shall I give thee? and Jacob said, Thou ehalt not give me any thing: if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep thy flock : > .

I -will pass through all thy flock to-day, 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: and of such shall be my hire. .1 .•>'•• i .>

So shall my righteousness answer for me in time to come, 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.

And Laban said., Behold, I would it might be according to thy word. .-.;. ;' • »

And he removed that day the he-goats that were ring-straked 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, and gave them into the hand of his sons.

And he set three days journey betwixt himself andJacob: and Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks.

And it came to pass, that the flocks brought forth cattle, ring-straked, speckled, and spotted.

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

ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS. We here find, that soon after Jacob's settlement in Mesopotamia, the Divine promises began to operate. An increase of family gave him a prospect of the accomplishment of that part of .the covenant by which lie was taught to expect, that a great nation would proceed from him; and without doubt he placed his dependance on the promised seed arising from it.

It was a very heavy disappointment to Rachel, that she was not likely to share the.honour which such a ...' , 15 numerous numerous progeny would bring on her husband { yet he justly reproved her impatience under it, because children are an heritage and gift that cometh of the Lord; and to murmur at his withholding them is sinful *.

Jacob having, as we may conclude, fully completed his last seven years, was naturally desirous of returning into his own country; and having, besides, a large family to support, we cannot wonder that he should wish' to have something of his own, rather than continue to live in a state of dependance with a mercenary relation.

Jacob had. a right to expect; that Laban would now give him some portion with his daughters, as he had found such advantages from his connexion with him.

The terms which Jacob made with Laban appear very reasonable; and we must consider the great increase of the particular kinds of cattle, goats, and sheep, which he fixed upon, entirely as an act of Providence; for Jacob could not foresee that there would be so great a proportion of ring-straked, &c. neither was it in his power by any human art to make one hair of them white or black f

The extraordinary blessing which followed Jacob's services, might be intended partly to encourage his faith in the Divine promises ; and partly to point him out to the world as a man peculiarly favoured of the Lord.

We learn fromjhis section, that it is good policy to

* Psalm cxxvii. 3. f Matt. v. 36.

J As Jacob's conduct in respect to peeling the rods (Which I have omitted) has the appearance of artifice, it may be proper to remark, that it is most likely he was required to do this, in order to express his faith in God, by whose suggestion he had fixed upoa the cattle that were speckled, &c. By this sign then he may be understood to have testified bis firm belief, that the Lord was able to make cattle produce young ones of any colours, and that he certainly would'make Laban's have speckled ones, since He had directed Jacob to name such, for his wages. . . employ employ in our domestic concerns persons of piety and integrity. Such people acting from flrintifl/e, will be anxious to make their righteousness or fidelity appear, and perhaps it is the ordinary course of Divine Providence to send a blessing on their labours.

We also learn, that faithful servants may expect a reward from God, when their services are not properly recompensed by their employers. ^

SECTION XXXVIII.

JACOB DEPARTETH FROM MESOPOTAMIA.

From Genesis, Chap. xxxi.

An D Jacob 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.

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

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

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

And ye know that with all my power I have served your father: and your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times: but God suffered him not to hurt me.

If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages: then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ring-straked shall be thy hire; then bare all the I 6 cattle

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