Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God’s Plan? Part 14

This entry is part 14 of 45 in the series Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God's Plan?

Recap Part 13: Jacob is tricked into marrying Laban’s 2 daughters arranging for Rachel only and 7 years of service. Jacob reluctantly agrees to stay because of the love he has for Rachel.

Part 14 Now the babies begin! Rachel and Leah get into a battle for Jacob’s love and both want babies by their husband. Leah at first is easily able to reproduce, but Rachel has some difficulty. Rachel gives Jacob her handmaid, Bilhah, to have babies by her and later Leah does the same; Zilpah – Leah’s handmaid. In the end Reuben (1), Simeon (2), Levi (3), Judah (4), Issachar (9), and Issachar (10) are birthed by Leah. Dan (5), and Naphtali (6) are born of Rachel’s handmaid Bilhah. Gad (7) and Asher (8) are born of Leah’s handmaid Zilpah. After these 10 children, Rachel is finally able to bear Jacob children and has Joseph (11) and Benjamin (12) before she dies.

After having Joseph, Jacob asks Laban to leave and be joined to his only family. “Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country” (Genesis 30:25). Laban is hesitant because Jacob has blessed his finances through the livestock. Laban asks Jacob what his hire will be, meaning what shall I pay you for your service. Jacob and Laban set up an arrangement: “And 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. 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. 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 counted stolen with me” (Vs. 31-33).

Laban saw that Jacob prospered and changed his wages several times to meet his own benefits, but after some time God called Jacob and told him to leave. “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 ringstraked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstraked. Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me” (Genesis 31:3-9).

What can we learn this weak from the story presented us in Genesis? What did Jacob do when treated ill? What did the Lord do to assist his kin when he met adversity? We as christians often feel heavy burdened and wonder why we do not receive relief from God. Does he reach out to help all? Does he save physically as he did in the old testament?

Jacob was obviously being taken advantage of and the Lord decided it best to intervene by communicating with Jacob and instructing him. Jacob takes his family and all his possessions and leaves. Laban finding out this unfortunate news goes and pursues him. When the finally face each other and discuss the reasons, Jacob explains: “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 eaten. 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. Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes. 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. 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 yesternight” (Vs. 38-42). Jacob and Laban make peace with each other and Laban blesses his family as they depart.

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