Genesis 31:10
And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up my eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped on the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and spotted.
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(10) Rams.—Heb., he-goats. The Authorised Version has made the alteration, because the word rendered “cattle” is really sheep (and so in Genesis 31:8; Genesis 31:12, &c.); but, like our word flock, it also included goats.

31:1-21 The affairs of these families are related very minutely, while (what are called) the great events of states and kingdoms at that period, are not mentioned. The Bible teaches people the common duties of life, how to serve God, how to enjoy the blessings he bestows, and to do good in the various stations and duties of life. Selfish men consider themselves robbed of all that goes past them, and covetousness will even swallow up natural affection. Men's overvaluing worldly wealth is that error which is the root of covetousness, envy, and all evil. The men of the world stand in each other's way, and every one seems to be taking away from the rest; hence discontent, envy, and discord. But there are possessions that will suffice for all; happy they who seek them in the first place. In all our removals we should have respect to the command and promise of God. If He be with us, we need not fear. The perils which surround us are so many, that nothing else can really encourage our hearts. To remember favoured seasons of communion with God, is very refreshing when in difficulties; and we should often recollect our vows, that we fail not to fulfil them.Circumstances at length induce Jacob to propose flight to his wives. His prosperity provokes the envy and slander of Laban's sons, and Laban himself becomes estranged. The Lord now commands Jacob to return, and promises him his presence to protect him. Jacob now opens his mind fully to Rachel and Leah. Rachel, we observe, is put first. Several new facts come out in his discourse to them. Ye know - Jacob appeals to his wives on this point - "that with all my might I served your father." He means, of course, to the extent of his engagement. During the last six years he was to provide for his own house, as the Lord permitted him, with the full knowledge and concurrence of Laban. Beyond this, which is a fair and acknowledged exception, he has been faithful in keeping the cattle of Laban. "Your father deceived me, and changed my wages ten times;" that is, as often as he could.

If, at the end of the first year, he found that Jacob had gained considerably, though he began with nothing, he might change his wages every following half-year, and so actually change them ten times in five years. In this case, the preceding chapter only records his original expedients, and then states the final result. "God suffered him not to hurt me." Jacob, we are to remember, left his hire to the providence of God. He thought himself bound at the same time to use all legitimate means for the attainment of the desired end. His expedients may have been perfectly legitimate in the circumstances, but they were evidently of no avail without the divine blessing. And they would become wholly ineffectual when his wages were changed. Hence, he says, God took the cattle and gave them to me. Jacob seems here to record two dreams, the former of which is dated at the rutting season. The dream indicates the result by a symbolic representation, which ascribes it rather to the God of nature than to the man of art. The second dream makes allusion to the former as a process still going on up to the present time. This appears to be an encouragement to Jacob now to commit himself to the Lord on his way home. The angel of the Lord, we observe, announces himself as the God of Bethel, and recalls to Jacob the pillar and the vow. The angel, then, is Yahweh manifesting himself to human apprehension.

6. ye know that … I have served your father—Having stated his strong grounds of dissatisfaction with their father's conduct and the ill requital he had got for all his faithful services, he informed them of the blessing of God that had made him rich notwithstanding Laban's design to ruin him; and finally, of the command from God he had received to return to his own country, that they might not accuse him of caprice, or disaffection to their family; but be convinced, that in resolving to depart, he acted from a principle of religious obedience. i.e. Were marked with spots, like hail in colour and proportion, as the word signifieth. And it came to pass, at the time that the cattle conceived,.... Whether in spring or in autumn cannot be said, for it seems this was twice a year; this probably was at the beginning of the six years' servitude, or just before the agreement was made between Laban and Jacob, and was an instruction to the latter how to make his bargain with the former:

that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream; in a vision of the night, so things were represented to his fancy and imagination:

and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstraked,

speckled, and grisled; from whence he might conclude, that the cattle they leaped upon would bring forth the like, and so be a direction to him to make his agreement with Laban to have such for his hire; not that the rams in the flock were really of those colours, for they were all white, but so they were represented to Jacob in the vision, to suggest to him, that such would be produced by them; and it is not improbable by the artifice Jacob was directed to, and took, that the ewes, when they came to the watering troughs to drink, upon seeing the party coloured rods in the water, these made such an impression upon their imaginations, that they fancied the rams that leaped upon them were of those colours, and so conceived and brought forth the like. Here is another colour mentioned, not taken notice of before, at least by this name, "grisled"; it stands in the place of "spotted", and seems to be the same with that, and signified such as had spots on them like hailstones, and distinguishes them from the speckled: the speckled were such as were white with black spots, these such as were black, and had white spots like hail.

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 ring-streaked, speckled, and grizzled.
10. in a dream] Cf. Genesis 20:3. It is thus revealed to Jacob (Genesis 31:10-12) that the birth, in such numbers, of spotted and parti-coloured young is due to God’s goodness towards him, and in order to requite Laban (Genesis 31:12).

grisled] i.e. “gray” (Fr. gris). This Old English word, now generally spelt “grizzled,” occurs also in Zechariah 6:3; Zechariah 6:6. Compare, in Bacon’s Essays, “pusled” for “puzzled.”Verse 10. - And it came to pus at the time that the cattle conceived (this obviously goes back to the commencement of the six years' service), that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams - עַתֻּדים, he-goats, from an unused root, to be ready, perhaps because ready and prompt for fighting (Gesenius, sub voce) - which leaped (literally, Heir up) upon the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled. The grisled (beruddim, from barad, to scatter hail) were spotted animals, as if they had been sprinkled with hail, not a fifth sort in addition to the four already mentioned (Rosenmüller), but the same as the teluim of Genesis 30:35 (Kalisch). Wordsworth observes that the English term grisled, from the French word grele, hail, is a literal translation of the Hebrew. Gesenius connects with the Hebrew root the words πάρδος, pardus, leopard (so called from its spots), and the French broder, to embroider. The LXX. understand the עַתֻּדים to include both sheep and goats, and translate οἱ τράγοι καὶ οἱ κριοὶ ἀναβαίντες ἐπὶ τὰ πρόβατα καὶ τὰς αἰγας. The Flight. - Through some angry remarks of Laban's sons with reference to his growing wealth, and the evident change in the feelings of Laban himself towards him (Genesis 31:1, Genesis 31:2), Jacob was inwardly prepared for the termination of his present connection with Laban; and at the same time he received instructions from Jehovah, to return to his home, together with a promise of divine protection. In consequence of this, he sent for Rachel and Leah to come to him in the field, and explained to them (Genesis 31:4-13), how their father's disposition had changed towards him, and how he had deceived him in spite of the service he had forced out of him, and had altered his wages ten times; but that the God of his father had stood by him, and had transferred to him their father's cattle, and now at length had directed him to return to his home.
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