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30. Rachel and Bilhah

And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. 2And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb? 3And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees that I may also have children by her. 4And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her. 5And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son. 6And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan. 7And Bilhah Rachel’s maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son. 8And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali. 9When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife. 10And Zilpah Leah’s maid bare Jacob a son. 11And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad. 12And Zilpah Leah’s maid bare Jacob a second son. 13And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.

14And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son’s mandrakes. 15And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son’s mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son’s mandrakes. 16And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son’s mandrakes. And he lay with her that night. 17And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son. 18And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar. 19And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son. 20And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun. 21And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah.

22And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. 23And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach: 24And she called his name Joseph; and said, The Lord shall add to me another son.

25And 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. 26Give 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. 27And 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. 28And he said, Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it. 29And he said unto him, Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy cattle was with me. 30For it was little which thou hadst before I came, and it is now increased unto a multitude; and the Lord hath blessed thee since my coming: and now when shall I provide for mine own house also? 31And he said, What shall I give thee? And Jacob said, Thou shalt not give me any thing: if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep thy flock: 32I 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. 33So 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 counted stolen with me. 34And Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to thy word. 35And he removed that day the he goats that were ringstraked 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. 36And he set three days' journey betwixt himself and Jacob: and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks.

37And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods. 38And 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. 39And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted. 40And 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. 41And 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. 42But when the cattle were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Laban’s, and the stronger Jacob’s. 43And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.

33. So shall my righteousness answer for me. Literally it is, “My righteousness shall answer in me.” But the particle בי (bi) signifies to me or for me8686     In the Amsterdam edition the particle is כי, evidently the printer’s mistake. In Hengstenberg’s edition, it is לי, which looks as if the editor, instead of turning to the original, had, at a venture, translated Calvin’s Latin words mihi, or pro me, into Hebrew. — Ed The sense, however, is clear, that Jacob does not expect success, except through his faith and integrity.8787     Vide Vatablus in Poli Syn. Respecting the next clause, interpreters differ. For some read, “When thou shalt come to my reward.”8888     That is, to see that I receive my reward or wages, at the time when the flock is divided according to our compact. — Ed. 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.”8989     This seems to be the sense in which the English translators understood the passage. “So shall my righteousness answer for me in time to come, when it (my righteousness) shall come for my hire (or reward) before thy face.” Coramto. — Ed. 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 labors, 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 labors 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 interpretation.


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