12. And Jacob fled into the country of Syria, and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep.
12. Et fugit Jacob in agrum Syriae, et servivit Israel in uxore (hoc est, pro uxore,) et pro uxore custodivit (id est, custos fuit gregis.)
13. And by a prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved.
13. Et per Prophetam eduxit (ascendere fecit) Jehova Israelem ex Aegypto, et per Prophetam servatus est.
The Prophet now employs another kind of reproof, -- that the Israelites did not consider from what source they had proceeded, and were forgetful of their origin. And the Prophet designedly touches on this point; for we know how boldly and proudly the people boasted of their own eminence. For as a heathen gloried that he was an Athenian, so also the Jews think that all we are brute animals, and imagine that they have a different origin from the rest of mankind, because they are the posterity of Abraham. Since then they were blinded by such a pride as this God meant to undeceive them, as he does here: "Jacob your father, who was he? What was his condition? What was his nobility? What was his power? What was his dignity and eminence according to the flesh? Yea, truly, he was a fugitive from his own country: had he always lived at home, his father was but a sojourner; but he was constrained to flee into Syria. And how splendidly did he live there? He was indeed with his uncle; but he was treated no better than if he had been some worthless slave: He
And God, he says,
And it very frequently occurs in the Prophets, that God reminds the Israelites whence or from what source they had arisen, "Look to your origin, to the stone from which ye were cut off; for Abraham was alone and childless, and his wife also was barren;" and yet God multiplied their race, (Isaiah 51:2.) This was said, because the Israelites did not look to God, but in their adversity despaired, when no way appeared by which they could be restored; but in their prosperity they became proud, and regarded as nothing the favour of God. We then see what the Prophet had in view. The Lord says, "Acknowledge what you owe to me; for I have chosen Jacob your father, and have not chosen him because he was eminent for his great dignity in the world; for he was a fugitive and a keeper of sheep, and served for his wife. I afterwards redeemed you from the land of Egypt; and in that coming forth there was nothing that you did; there is no reason why you should boast that liberation was obtained by your velour; for Moses alone was my servant in that deliverance. I did then beget you the second time, when I redeemed you. How great is your ingratitude, when you do not own and worship me as your Redeemer?" We now then see that the Prophet thus treated the people of Israel, that it might in every way appear that they were unworthy of so many and so great benefits bestowed on them by God; for they had perverted all the works of God, and so perverted them, that they did not think that any thing, belonged to him, and they returned no thanks to God; nay, they extolled themselves, as if God had never conferred on them any kindness.
But I will not dwell on the history of Jacob, for it is not necessary for elucidating the meaning of the Prophet, and it is well known: it is enough to refer only to what is suitable to this place.