A Daily Genesis

Genesis 30:28-39

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 30:28 . . And he said: Specify your wage to me and I will give it.[/B]

The wage Laban had in mind wasn't an hourly rate or monthly salary like we typically think of wages. Pay was a separate matter to be negotiated later. The deal they would make concerned what it would cost Laban to keep Jacob working for him. In other words; a signing incentive.
[/COLOR][B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 30:29-30a . . But he said: You know well how I have served you and how your livestock has fared with me. For the little you had before I came has grown to much, since the Lord has blessed you wherever I turned.[/B]

Yes, Laban knew very well how fortunate he was to have Jacob working on his ranch. But Jacob just wanted to be sure his uncle Laban didn't think Jacob was too stupid to know it. Jacob rarely stood up for himself. But this time the circumstances required him to be firm.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 30:30b . . And now, when shall I make provision for my own household?[/B]

Jacob spent fourteen years of his life making another man rich. Well, it was high time he did himself some good for a change.

†. Gen 30:31-34 . . He said: What shall I pay you? And Jacob said: Pay me nothing! If you will do this thing for me, I will again pasture and keep your flocks: let me pass through your whole flock today, removing from there every speckled and spotted animal-- every dark-colored sheep and every spotted and speckled goat. Such shall be my wages.

[B]. . . [/B]In the future when you go over my wages, let my honesty toward you testify for me: if there are among my goats any that are not speckled or spotted or any sheep that are not dark-colored, they got there by theft. And Laban said: Very well, let it be as you say.

Jacob was supposed to do the culling. But Laban apparently didn't trust him so took it upon himself to cull out all the mixed breeds and then hide them three days distance in who knows what direction. So if Jacob was going to acquire any sheep and cattle, he was going to have to get them from the flocks of pure breeds; making it even more difficult for him to build a herd of his own. I'm sure Laban figured that he would be able to hang on to Jacob many, many years while the poor slob languished away waiting for the blue ribbon flocks to produce mixed breed animals.

Laban really did have a criminal mind. He was incredibly unscrupulous, greedy, selfish, and dishonest; and a very heartless man to boot. It's difficult to digest he was really related to Abraham.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 30:35-36 . . But that same day he removed the streaked and spotted he-goats and all the speckled and spotted she-goats-- every one that had white on it --and all the dark-colored sheep, and left them in the charge of his sons. And he put a distance of three days' journey between himself and Jacob, while Jacob was pasturing the rest of Laban's flock.[/B]

By keeping the mixed breeds so far away from the blue ribbon flocks, there was no chance Jacob might sneak around and put them together for mating when Laban wasn't looking. Although there is no record of Jacob ever cheating Laban, the old man surely remembered that Jacob wasn't totally honest. He stole his brother's blessing, and tricked his dad. If Jacob would scam his own close family, then he could sure do the same thing to outsiders. You can hardly blame Laban for not trusting Jacob when the chips were down.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 30:37-39 . .Then Jacob took fresh rods of poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white stripes in them, exposing the white which was in the rods. And he set the rods which he had peeled in front of the flocks in the gutters, even in the watering troughs, where the flocks came to drink; and they became hot when they came to drink. So the flocks mated by the rods, and the flocks brought forth striped, speckled, and spotted.[/B]

To the modern mind, what Jacob did was purely superstition; but in that day, it wasn't. Jacob was experienced at animal husbandry. He had tended flocks for several decades; beginning with his dad Isaac's, and then with his uncle Laban's. Jacob wouldn't have tried the striped-rods trick if he hadn't seen it work already before.

Who really knows what goes on in the minds of goats and sheep? There's a patch of color down in the throats of young Great Blue Herons that when the parents see it, the color makes them gag and vomit up the contents of their stomachs into the craws of the growing youngsters. Even human beings are stimulated by sight. Food we are about to eat stimulates the saliva glands, plus there's the phenomenon of blushing, and nauseous reactions produced by gruesome sights, and the effects of pornographic pictures stimulating the reproductive apparatus are cases in point.

Jacob didn't use the striped-rods trick to produce multicolored animals, but rather as a visual aphrodisiac to stimulate the parents to mate more often than usual; thus increasing his chances of producing the kind of animals he wanted for himself. When Laban's flocks saw the stripes on the sticks, they went into what animal husbandry calls heat. From thence, Jacob counted on recessive genes to do their work. Even though he never studied Mendelian genetics, Jacob knew from experience that even blue-blooded animals produce "black sheep" once in a while.

Leaving nature to its course, it could have been many years before Laban's flock of blue-bloods produced enough hybrids for Jacob to move away anytime soon. But up ahead we'll see that he had the advantage of a higher power.

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