(Calvin, Genesis 2. part 9)

her maid, she gave proof not only of impatience, but also of distrust; 
because with the remembrance of Divine mercy, faith also is extinguished 
in her heart. And we know that all who rely upon the Lord are so 
tranquil and sedate in their mind, that they patiently wait for what he 
is about to give. And it is the just punishment of unbelief when any one 
stumbles through excessive haste. So much the more ought we to beware of 
the assaults of the flesh, if we desire to maintain a right course. 
  As to the name "Gad", this passage is variously expounded by 
commentators. In this point they agree, that "bagad" means the same as 
if Leah had said "the time of bearing is come." But some suppose "Gad" 
to be the prosperous star of Jupiter; others, Mercury; others, good 
fortune. They adduce Isaiah 65: 11, where it is written, "they offer a 
libation to Gad." But the context of the Prophet shows that this ought 
rather to be understood of the host of heaven, or of the number of false 
gods; because it immediately follows that they offer sacrifices to the 
stars, and furnish tables for a multitude of gods: the punishment is 
then added, that as they had fabricated an immense number of deities, so 
God will "number" them "to the sword". As it respects the present 
passage, nothing is less probable than that Leah should extol the planet 
Jupiter instead of God, seeing that she, at least, maintained the 
principle that the propagation of the human race flows from God alone. I 
wonder also that interpreters understand this of prosperous fortune, 
when Moses afterwards, chap. 49: 19, leads us to an opposite meaning. 
For the allusion he there makes would be inappropriate, "Gad, a troop 
shall overcome him," &c., unless it had been the design of Leah to 
congratulate herself on the "troop" of her children. For since she had 
so far surpassed her sister, she declares that she has children in great 
abundance. When she proclaims herself "happy" in her sixth son, it again 

appears in what great esteem fecundity was then held. And certainly it 
is a great honour, when God confers on mortals the sacred title of 
parents, and through them propagates the human race formed after his own 
  14. "And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest." This narration of 
the fact that a boy brought home I know not what kind of fruit out of 
the fields, and presented it to his mother, by which she purchased of 
her sister one nigh with her husband, has the appearance of being light 
and puerile. Yet it contains a useful instruction. For we know how 
foolishly the Jews glory in extolling the origin of their own nation: 
for they scarcely deign to acknowledge that they leave sprung from Adam 
and Noah, with the rest of mankind. And certainly they do excel in the 
dignity of their ancestors, as Paul testifies, (Rom. 9: 5,) but they do 
not acknowledge this as coming from God. Wherefore the Spirit purposely 
aimed at beating down this arrogance, when he described their race as 
sprung from a beginning, so mean and abject. For he does not here erect 
a splendid stage on which they may exhibit themselves; but he humbles 
them and exalts the grace of God, seeing that he had brought forth his 
Church out of nothing. Respecting the kind of fruit mentioned, I leave 
nothing certain to adduce. That it was fragrant is gathered from 
Canticles 7: 13. And whereas all translate it "mandrakes", I do not 
contend on that point. 
  15. "Is it a small matter that thou hast takers my husband?" Moses 
leaves more for his readers to reflect upon than he expresses in words; 
namely, that Jacob's house had been filled with contentions and strifes. 
For Leah speaks haughtily, because her mind had been long so exasperated 
that she could not address herself mildly and courteously to her sister: 
Perhaps the sisters were not thus contentious by nature; but God 
suffered them to contend with each other, that the punishment of 
polygamy might be exhibited to posterity. And it is not to be doubted 
that this domestic private quarrel, yea, hostile dissension, brought 
great grief and torment to the holy man. But the reason why he found 
himself thus distracted by opposite parties was, that against all right, 
he had broken the unity of the conjugal bond. 
  17. "And God hearkened unto Leah." Moses expressly declares this, in 
order that we may know how indulgently God dealt with that family. For 
who would have thought, that, while Leah was hatefully denying to her 
sister the fruits gathered by her boy, and was purchasing, by the price 
of those fruits, a night with her husband, there would be any place for 
prayers? Moses, therefore, teaches us, that pardon was granted for these 
faults, to prove that the Lord would not fail to complete his work 
notwithstanding such great infirmity. But Leah ignorantly boasts that 
her son was given to her as a reward of her sin; for she had violated 
the fidelity of holy wedlock, when she introduced a fresh concubine to 
oppose her sister. Truly, she is so far from the confession of her 

fault, that she proclaims her own merit. I grant there was some excuse 
for her conduct; for she intimates that she was not so much excited by 
lust, as by modest love, because she desired to increase her family and 
to fulfill the duty of an honorable mother of a family. But though this 
pretext is specious in the eyes of men, yet the profanation of holy 
marriage cannot be pleasing to God. She errs, therefore, in taking what 
was no cause for the cause. And this is the more to be observed; because 
it is a fault which too much prevails in the world, for men to reckon 
the free gifts of God as their own reward; yea, even to boast of their 
deserts, when they are condemned by the word of God. In her sixth son, 
she more purely and rightly estimates the divine goodness, when she 
gives thanks to God, that, by his kindness, her husband would hereafter 
be more closely united to her, (ver. 20). For although he had lived with 
her before, yet, being too much attached to Rachel, he was almost 
entirely alienated from Leah. It has before been said, that children 
born in lawful wedlock are bonds to unite the minds of their parents. 
  21. "And afterward she bare a daughter." It is not known whether Jacob 
had any other daughter; for it is not uncommon in Scripture, when 
genealogies are recorded, to omit the women, since they do not bear 
their own name, but lie concealed under the shadow of their husbands. 
Meanwhile, if anything worthy of commemoration occurs to any women, 
especial mention is then made of them. This was the case with Dinah, on 
account of the violence done to her; of which more will be said 
hereafter. But whereas the sons of Jacob subsequently regarded it as an 
indignity that their sister should marry one of another nation; and as 
Moses records nothing of any other daughters, either as being settled in 
the land of Canaan, or married in Egypt, it is probable that Dinah was 
the only one born to him. 
  22. "And God remembered Rachel." Since with God nothing is either 
before or after, but all things are present, he is subject to no 
forgetfulness, so that, in the lapse of time, he should need to be 
reminded of what is past. But the Scripture describes the presence and 
memory of God from the effect produced upon ourselves, because we 
conceive him to be such as he appears to be by his acts. Moreover, 
whether Rachel's child was born the last of all, cannot with certainty 
be gathered from the words of Moses. They who, in this place, affirm 
that the figure hysteron proteron, which puts the last first, is used, 
are moved by the consideration, that if Joseph had been born after the 
last of his brethren, the age which Moses records in chapter 41: 46, 
would not accord with the fact. But they are deceived in this, that they 
reckon the nuptials of Rachel from the end of the second seven years; 
whereas it is certainly proved from the context, that although Jacob 
agreed to give his service for Rachel, yet he obtained her immediately; 
because from the beginning, the strife between the two sisters broke 
forth. Moses clearly intimates, in this place, that the blessing of God 
was bestowed late, when Rachel had despaired of issue, and had long been 
subject to reproach because of her barrenness. On account of this 
prosperous omen she gave the name Joseph to her son, deriving the hope 
of two sons from the prospect of one. 
  25. "Send me away, that I may go." Seeing that Jacob had been retained 
by a proposed reward for his services, it might appear that he was 
acting craftily in desiring his dismissal from his father-in-law. I 
cannot, however, doubt that the desire to return had already entered his 
mind, and that he ingenuously avowed his intention. First; having 
experienced, in many ways, how unjust, how perfidious, and even cruel, 
Laban had been, there is no wonder that he should wish to depart from 
him, as soon as ever the opportunity was afforded. Secondly; since, from 
the long space of time which had elapsed, he hoped that his brother's 
mind would be appeased, he could not but earnestly wish to return to his 
parents; especially as he had been oppressed by so many troubles, that 
he could scarcely fear a worse condition in any other place. But the 
promise of God was the most powerful stimulant of all to excite his 
desire to return. For he had not rejected the benediction which was 
dearer to him than his own life. To this point his declaration refers, 
"I will go to my own place and to my country;" for he does not use this 
language concerning Canaan, only because he was born there, but because 
he knew that it had been divinely granted to him. For if he had said 
that he desired to return, merely because it was his native soil, he 
might have been exposed to ridicule; since his father had passed a 
wandering and unsettled life, continually changing his abode. I 
therefore conclude, that although he might have dwelt commodiously 
elsewhere, the oracle of God, by which the land of Canaan had been 
destined for him, was ever fresh in his memory. And although, for a 
time, he submits to detention, this does not alter his purpose to 
depart: for necessity, in part, extorted it from him, since he was 
unable to extricate himself from the snares of his uncle; in part also, 
he voluntarily gave way, in order that he might acquire something for 
himself and his family, lest he should return poor and naked to his own 
country. But here the insane wickedness of Laban is discovered. After he 
had almost worn out his nephew and son-in-law, by hard and constant toil 
for fourteen years, he yet offers him no wages for the future. The 
equity, of which at first he had made such pretensions, had already 
vanished. For the greater had been the forbearance of Jacob, the more 
tyrannical license did he usurp over him. So the world abuses the 
gentleness of the pious; and the more meekly they conduct themselves, 
the more ferociously does the world assail them. But though, like sheep, 
we are exposed, in this world, to the violence and injuries of wolves; 
we must not fear lest they should hurt or devour us, since the Heavenly 
Shepherd keeps us under his protection. 
  27. "I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes." We perceive 
hence, that Jacob had not been a burdensome guest, seeing that Laban 
soothes him with bland address, in order to procure from him a longer 
continuance in his service. For, sordid and grasping as he was, he would 
not have suffered Jacob to remain a moment in his house, unless he had 
found his presence to be a certain source of gain. Inasmuch therefore, 
as he not only did not thrust him out, but anxiously sought to retain 
him, we hence infer that the holy man had undergone incredible labours, 
which had not only sufficed for the sustenance of a large family, but 
had also brought great profit to his father-in-law. Wherefore, he 
complains afterwards, not unjustly, that he had endured the heat of the 
day, and the cold of the night. Nevertheless, there is no doubt, that 
the blessing of God availed more than any labours whatever, so that 
Laban perceived Jacob to be a kind of horn of plenty, as he himself 
confesses. For he not only commends his fidelity and diligence, but 
expressly declares that he himself had I been blessed by the Lord, for 
Jacob's sake. It appears, then, that the wealth of Laban had so 
increased, from the time of Jacob's coming, that it was as if his gains 
had visibly distilled from heaven. Moreover, as the word "nachash", 
among the Hebrews, means to know by auguries or by divination, some 
interpreters imagine that Laban, having been instructed in magic arts, 

found that the presence of Jacob was useful and profitable to him. 
Others, however, expound the words more simply, as meaning that he had 
proved it to be so by experiment. To me the true interpretation seems to 
be, as if he had said, that the blessing of God was as perceptible to 
him, as if it had been attested by prophecy, or found out by augury. 
  29. "Thou knowest how I have served thee." This answer of Jacob is not 
intended to increase the amount of his wages; but he would expostulate 
with Laban, and would charge him with acting unjustly and unkindly in 
requiring a prolongation of the time of service. There is also no doubt 
that he is carried forth, with every desire of his mind, towards the 
land of Canaan. Therefore a return thither was, in his view, preferable 
to any kind of riches whatever. Yet, in the mealtime, he indirectly 
accuses his father-in-law, both of cunning and of inhumanity, in order 
that he may extort something from him, if be must remain longer. For he 
could not hope that the perfidious old fox would, of himself, perform an 
act of justice; neither does Jacob simply commend his own industry, but 
shows that he had to deal with an unjust and cruel man. Meanwhile, it is 
to be observed, that although he had laboured strenuously, he yet 
ascribes nothing to his own labour, but imputes it entirely to the 
blessing of God that Laban had been enriched. For though when men 
faithfully devote themselves to their duty, they do not lose their 
labour; yet their success depends entirely upon the favour of God. What 
Paul asserts concerning the efficacy of teaching, extends still further, 
"that he who plants and he who waters is nothing," (1 Cor. 3: 7,) for 
the similitude is taken from general experience. The use of this 
doctrine is twofold. First, whatever I attempt, or to whatever work I 
apply my hands, it is my duty to desire God to bless my labour, that it 
may not be vain and fruitless. Then, if I have obtained anything, my 
second duty is to ascribe the praise to God; without whose blessing, men 
in vain rise up early, fatigue themselves the whole day, late take rest, 
eat the bread of carefulness, and taste even a little water with sorrow. 
With respect to the meaning of the words, when Jacob says, "It was 
little that thou hadst in my sight," Jerome has well and skilfully 
translated them "before I came." For Moses puts the face of Jacob for 
his actual coming and dwelling with Laban. 
  30. "And now, when shall I provide for mine own house also? He 
reasons, that when he had so long expended his labours for another, it 
would be unjust that his own family should be neglected. For nature 
prescribes this order, that every one should take care of the family 
committed to him. To which point the saying of Solomon is applicable, 
"Drink water from thy own fountains, and let rivers flow to thy 
neighbours." Had Jacob been alone, he might have devoted himself more 
freely to the interests of another; but now, since he is the husband of 
four wives, and the father of a numerous offspring, he ought not to be 
forgetful of those whom he has received at the hand of God to bring up. 
  31. "Thou shalt not give me anything." The antithesis between this and 
the preceding clause is to be noticed. For Jacob does not demand for 
himself certain and definite wages; but he treats with Laban, on this 
condition, that he shall receive whatever offspring may be brought forth 
by the sheep and goats of a pure and uniform colour, which shall prove 
to be party-coloured and spotted. There is indeed some obscurity in the 
words. For, at first, Jacob seems to require for himself the spotted 
sheep as a present reward. But from the thirty-third verse another sense 
may be gathered: namely, that Jacob would suffer whatever was variegated 
in the flock to be separated and delivered to the sons of Laban to be 
fed; but that he himself would retain the unspotted sheep and goats. And 
certainly it would be absurd that Jacob should now claim part of the 
flock for himself, when he had just confessed, that hitherto he had made 
no gain. Moreover, the gain thus acquired would have been more than was 
just; and there was no hope that this could be obtained from Laban. A 
question however arises, by what hope, or by what counsel bad Jacob been 
induced to propose this condition? A little afterwards, Moses will 
relate that he had used cunning, in order that party-coloured and 
spotted lambs might be brought forth by the pure flock; but in the 
following chapter he more fully declares that Jacob had been divinely 
instructed thus to act. Therefore, although it was improbable in itself 
that this agreement should prove useful to the holy man, he yet obeys 
the celestial oracle, and wishes to be enriched in no other manner than 
according to the will of God. But Laban was dealt with according to his 
own disposition; for he eagerly caught at what seemed advantageous to 
himself, but God disappointed his shameful cupidity. 
  33. "So shall my righteousness answer for me." Literally it is, "My 
righteousness shall answer in me." But the particle "bi" signifies to me 
or for me. The sense, however, is clear, that Jacob does not expect 
success, except through his faith and integrity. Respecting the next 
clause, interpreters differ. For some read, "When thou shalt come to my 
reward." But others, translating in the third person, explain it of 
righteousness, which shall come to the reward, or to the remunerating of 
Jacob. Although either sense will suit the passage, I rather refer it to 
righteousness; because it is immediately added, "before thee." For it 
would be an improper form of expression, "Thou wilt come before thine 
own eyes to my reward." It now sufficiently appears what Jacob meant. 
For he declares that he hoped for a testimony of his faith and 
uprightness from the Lord, in the happy result of his labours, as if he 
had said, "The Lord who is the best judge and vindicator of my 
righteousness, will indeed show with what sincerity and faithfulness I 
have hitherto conducted myself." And though the Lord often permits 
sinners to be enriched by wicked arts, and suffers them to acquire 
abundant gain by seizing the goods of others as their own: this proves 
no exception to the rule, that his blessing is the ordinary attendant on 
good faith and equity. Wherefore, Jacob justly gave this token of his 
fidelity, that he committed the success of his labours to the Lord, in 
order that his integrity might hence be made manifest. The sense of the 
words is now clear, "My righteousness shall openly testify for me, 
because it will voluntarily come to remunerate me; and that so 
obviously, that it shall not he hidden even from thee." A tacit reproof 
is couched in this language, intimating that Laban should feel how 
unjustly he had withheld the wages of the holy man, and that God would 
shortly show, by the result, how wickedly he had dissembled respecting 
his own obligation to him. For there is an antithesis to be understood 
between the future and the past time, when he says, "tomorrow [or in 
time to come] it will answer for me," since indeed, yesterday and the 
day before, he could extort no justice from Laban. 
  "Every one that is not speckled and spotted." Jacob binds himself to 
the crime and punishment of theft, if he should take away any unspotted 
sheep from the flock: as if he would say, "Shouldst thou find with me 
anything unspotted, I am willing to be charged as a thief; because I 
require nothing to be given to me but the spotted lambs." Some expound 
the words otherwise, "Whatsoever thou shalt find deficient in thy flock, 
require of me, as if I had stolen it;" but this appears to me a forced 
  35. "And he removed that day." From this verse the form of the compact 
is more certainly known. Laban separates the sheep and goats marked with 
spots from the pure flock, that is, from the white or black, and commits 
these to his sons to be fed; interposing a three-days' journey between 
them and the rest; lest, by promiscuous intercourse, a particoloured 
offspring should be produced. It follows, therefore, that, in the flock 
which Jacob fed, nothing remained but cattle of one colour: thus but 
faint hope of gain remained to the holy man, while every provision was 
made for Laban's advantage. It also appears, from the distance of the 
places, in which Laban kept his flocks apart, that he was not less 
suspicious than covetous; for dishonest men are wont to measure others 
by their own standard; whence it happens that they are always 
distrustful and alarmed. 
  37. "And Jacob took him rods of green poplar." The narration of Moses, 
at first sight, may seem absurd: for he either intends to censure holy 
Jacob as guilty of fraud, or to praise his industry. But from the 
context it will appear that this adroitness was not culpable. Let us 
then see how it is to be excused. Should any one contend that he was 
impelled to act as he did, by the numerous injuries of his 
father-in-law, and that he sought nothing but the reparation of former 
losses; the defense would perhaps be plausible: yet in the sight of God 
it is neither firm nor probable; for although we may be unjustly 
treated, we must not enter the contest with equal injustice. And were it 
permitted to avenge our own injuries, or to repair our own wrongs, there 
would be no place for legal judgments, and thence would arise horrible 
confusion. Therefore Jacob ought not to have resorted to this stratagem, 
for the purpose of producing degenerate cattle, but rather to have 
followed the rule which the Lord delivers by the mouth of Paul, that the 
faithful should study to overcome evil with good, (Rom. 12: 21.) This 
simplicity, I confess, ought to have been cultivated by Jacob, unless 
the Lord from heaven had commanded otherwise. But in this narrative 
there is a hysteron proteron, (a putting of the last first,) for Moses 
first relates the fact, and then subjoins that Jacob had attempted 
nothing but by the command of God. Wherefore, it is not for those 
persons to claim him as their advocate, who oppose malignant and 
fraudulent men with fallacies like their own; because Jacob did not, of 
his own will, take license craftily to circumvent his father-in-law, by 
whom he had been unworthily deceived; but, pursuing the course 
prescribed to him by the Lord, kept himself within due bounds. In vain, 
also, according to my judgment, do some dispute whence Jacob learnt 
this; whether by long practice or by the teaching of his fathers; for it 
is possible, that he had been suddenly instructed respecting a matter 
previously unknown. If any one object, the absurdity of supposing, that 
this act of deceit was suggested by God; the answer is easy, that God is 
the author of no fraud, when he stretches out his hand to protect his 
servant. Nothing is more appropriate to him, and more in accordance with 
his justice, than that he should interpose as an avenger, when any 
injury is inflicted. But it is not our part to prescribe to him his 
method of acting. He suffered Laban to retain what he unjustly 
possessed; but in six years he withdrew his blessing from Laban, and 
transferred it to his servant Jacob. If an earthly judge condemns a 
thief to restore twofold or fourfold, no one complains: and why should 
we concede less to God, than to a mortal and perishing man? He had other 
methods in his power; but he purposed to connect his grace with the 
labour and diligence of Jacob, that he might openly repay to him those 
wages of which he had been long defrauded. For Laban was constrained to 
open his eyes, which being before shut, he had been accustomed to 
consume the sweat and even the blood of another. Moreover, as it 
respects physical causes, it is well known, that the sight of objects by 
the female has great effect on the form of the foetus. When this happens 
with women, takes it at least place with animals, where is no reason, 
but where reigns an enormous rush of carnal lusts. Now Jacob did three 
things. For first, he stripped the bark from twigs that he might make 
bare some white places by the incisions in the bark, and thus a varying 
and manifold colour was produced. Secondly, he chose the times when the 
males and females were assembled. Thirdly, he put the twigs in the 
waters, for like the drinking feeds the animal parts, it also urges on 
the sexual drive. By the stronger cattle Moses may be understood to 
speak of those who bore in spring--by the feeble, those who bore in 
  43. "And the man increased exceedingly." Moses added this for the 
purpose of showing that he was not made thus suddenly rich without a 
miracle. We shall see hereafter how great his wealth was. For being 
entirely destitute, he yet gathered out of nothing, greater riches than 
any man of moderate wealth could do in twenty or thirty years. And that 
no one may deem this fabulous, as not being in accordance with the usual 
method, Moses meets the objection by saying, that the holy man was 
enriched in an extraordinary manner. 
Chapter 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 ringstraked shall be thy hire; 
then bare all the cattle ringstraked. 
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] ringstraked, speckled, and grisled. 
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] ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have 
seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. 
13 I [am] the God of Bethel, 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 hath 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, 
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. 
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. 
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. 
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. 
25 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 
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 findest 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 maidservants' 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 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 she 
goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not 
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 mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked [thee] 
43 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 
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 beside my daughters, no man [is] with us; see, God [is] witness 
betwixt me and thee. 
51 And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold [this] pillar, 
which I have cast betwixt me and thee; 
52 This heap [be] witness, and [this] pillar [be] witness, that I will 
not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this 
heap and this pillar unto me, for harm. 
53 The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, 
judge betwixt us. And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac. 
54 Then Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount, and called his brethren 
to eat bread: and they did eat bread, and tarried all night in the 
55 And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his 
daughters, and blessed them: and Laban departed, and returned unto his 
  1. "And he heard the words." Although Jacob ardently desired his own 
country, and was continually thinking of his return to it; yet his 
admirable patience appears in this, that he suspends his purpose till a 
new occasion presents itself. I do not, however, deny, that some 
imperfection was mixed with this virtue, in that he did not make more 
haste to return; but that the promise of God was always retained its his 
mind will shortly appear. In this respect, however, he showed something 
of human nature, that for the sake of obtaining wealth he postponed his 
return for six years: for when Laban was perpetually changing his terms, 
he might justly have bidden him farewell. But that he was detained by 
force and fear together, we infer from his clandestine flight. Now, at 
least, he has a sufficient cause for asking his dismissal; because his 
riches had become grievous and hateful to the sons of Laban: 
nevertheless he does not dare openly to withdraw himself from their 
enmity, but is compelled to flee secretly. Yet though his tardiness is 
in some degree excusable, it was probably connected with indolence; even 
as the faithful, when they direct their course towards God, often do not 
pursue it with becoming fervour. Wherefore, whenever the indolence of 
the flesh retards us, let us learn to fan the ardour of our spirits into 
a flame. There is no doubt that the Lord corrected the infirmity of his 
servant, and gently spurred him on as he proceeded in his course. For if 
Laban had treated him kindly and pleasantly, his mind would have been 
lulled to sleep; but now he is driven away by adverse looks. So the Lord 
often better secures the salvation of his people, by subjecting them to 
the hatred, the envy, and the malevolence of the wicked, than by 
suffering them to be soothed with bland address. It was far more useful 
to holy Jacob to have his father-in-law and his sons opposed, than to 

(continued in part 10...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: cvgn2-09.txt