Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 31:10-13

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 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. 

I mentioned earlier how I used to think Jacob had made the cattle be born striped and speckled by having them look at striped and speckled sticks, but that this is not what the biblical record actually states, and today’s verses further reaffirm that.

Here it is made abundantly clear that the increase of striped and speckled goats was the result of divine intervention. God had seen the unfair things that Laban was doing, and He had curtailed them by taking Laban’s wealth and giving it to Jacob anyway.

Which is a wonderfully encouraging thought. The unjust and the dishonest may seem to prevail for a time, but none of it goes unnoticed by God, and in time He will redistribute everything according to His own purposes. If in my life I am never wealthy, it will not be because cheaters took what God had intended for me to have. So long as I surrender myself to His will, then I can be comfortably sure I am receiving exactly the wealth or poverty that He knows is right for me.

Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 31:1-3

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.

Unsurprisingly, Jacob’s increase had the side-effect of upsetting others. The sons of Laban were growing angry, and even Laban’s attitude towards Jacob had shifted. Yes, it was true that Jacob’s flocks had grown at the expense of Laban’s, but as we will see in the coming verses, this was due more to the divine intervention of God than his own cunning.

Jacob had fled his original home to escape the wrath of his brother, and it might have been that harmful thoughts were being cultivated against him in this new home as well. Fortunately, before things could ever get to violence, God commanded Jacob to leave this land for his original residence. God did not specify how things would go down when Jacob met Esau again, but he did provide the comforting promise “I will be with thee.”

Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 30:37-38, 40-43

37 And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chestnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods.

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.

40 And Jacob did separate the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the ringstraked, and all the brown in the flock of Laban; and he put his own flocks by themselves, and put them not unto Laban’s cattle.

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 Laban’s, and the stronger Jacob’s.

43 And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.

I had always read these verses as saying that goats who conceived while looking at striped sticks would give birth to striped children, which sounded superstitious and unscientific. Reading this again, though, I noticed it said that Jacob put the poplar, hazel, and chestnut sticks in the watering trough, which seems to suggest that they were being used for medicinal qualities to strengthen the goats as they conceived.

But he did not place them before all the cattle, only the ones that belonged to him. Furthermore, verse 40 shows that Jacob did not let his livestock mate with Laban’s, most likely to preserve the recessive gene that caused mottles or stripes in their coats. Thus, Jacob was able to artificially increase the number of speckled goats above the others, and he made them stronger and healthier at the same time.

I was wrong in my past readings of these verses. Jacob was employing shrewd tactics that were based upon a logical procedure, and as a result he came to exceed his own father-in-law.

Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 30:25-28

25 And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country.

26 Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served thee, and let me go: for thou knowest my service which I have done thee.

27 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 sake.

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

Jacob came to this land alone, but now he had become head of a great household. He came here without occupation, but now he had become the master of the cattle. All of his work in the field, though, had gone to the dominion of his uncle Laban. Jacob had become powerful, but Laban was the one that had been made rich.

Thus, Jacob had reached the pinnacle of what he could be while still under Laban’s trappings. This role had grown too small for him, and the time for living underneath another man’s shadow had passed. After many years, he was finally ready to leave this chapter for a new one.

But where Laban graciously extended his protection over Jacob when he arrived in want, he proved clingy when Jacob wanted to leave. Only now, when his nephew was on the cusp of leaving did he suggest paying Jacob for his work. To me that seems incredibly insulting, but as we will see, the situation turns to Jacob’s favor in the end.

Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 26:12-14

12 Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the Lord blessed him.

13 And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great:

14 For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him.

I didn’t understand before I became a working man and had investments how significant a yearly increase a hundredfold is. In today’s terms, we would say that Isaac was making a 10,000% return on his investment! It’s frankly ridiculous, and of such a magnitude that one could not take the credit for it, but would have to admit they had been blessed by the hand of providence.

Thus, while Abraham had become rich and powerful, Isaac became even more so. Of course, all this wealth was for a purpose. If God intended to maintain a pattern of one covenant child per generation, then there would be no need to increase Isaac past his father. But the lineage was supposed to expand rapidly, and so the foundation to support it needed to as well.