Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. After that six years were expired, and calumnies and ill-will attended Jacob in Laban’s family, God ordered him to retire, ver. 3. (Haydock)
Ver. 7. Ten times. Very often, or perhaps this exact number of times, ver. 41.
Ver. 8. All, or the far greatest part, so that I was exceedingly enriched. (Menochius) — The Septuagint here agrees with the Vulgate. But the Hebrew and other versions, instead of white ones, read of divers colours, or ring-streaked, which takes away the intended opposition. (Calmet)
Ver. 12. Are of divers colours. Their fancy was strongly impressed with these various colours, in consequence of the pilled rods, which they beheld: and which Jacob was directed by the angel to place in the troughs. — I have seen with displeasure, the injustice of Laban; (Haydock) and therefore, I, the Lord of all things, authorise thee to act in this manner. By this vision, the justice of Jacob would appear; and the authority for removing, given in a second vision, would suffice to induce the two principal wives of Jacob to give their consent to leave their father’s house, and to begin a long journey. During the last six years, Providence had given no increase of family, that the little children might be no impediment to the removal. (Haydock)
Ver. 15. Eaten up. Laban kept for himself the dowry paid by Jacob for his wives, though he ought to have allotted it to them, with the addition of something more, in proportion to his immense wealth. (Menochius)
Ver. 18. Gotten. Hebrew expresses over again, the cattle of his getting, &c., which is omitted in one manuscript, as well as in the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, though yet used in the Samaritan copy. (Kennicott) — To Isaac, who was still living, though he had apprehended death was at hand 20 years before. He continued to live other 20 years after. (Salien) — Jacob spent about 10 years at Sichem and at Bethel, before he went to dwell with Isaac. (Menochius)
Ver. 19. Her father’s idols. By this it appears, that Laban was an idolater: and some of the fathers are of opinion, that Rachel stole away these idols, to withdraw him from idolatry, by removing the occasion of his sin. (Challoner) — Others think she was herself infected with this superstition, till Jacob entirely banished it from his family in Chanaan, chap. xxxv. 2. (Tirinus) — The Hebrew Teraphim, is translated images by the Protestants in this place, though it certainly denotes idols. But Osee iii. 4, they leave it untranslated, lest they should be forced to allow that images pertain to religious service, as well as sacrifice, &c., which are mentioned together, (Worthington) though they now indeed leave images in the same verse of Osee for what the Vulgate renders altar. These teraphims are consequently taken in a good as well as in a bad sense. They were, perhaps, made of rich metal, and taken by Rachel and Lia to indemnify them for the want of a dowry. This, however, was wrong, and done without the participation of their husband. (Haydock)
Ver. 20. Away. Hebrew, “Jacob stole the heart of Laban,” concealing his flight from him. (Menochius)
Ver. 21. The river Euphrates. — Galaad, as it was called afterwards, ver. 48. (Menochius)
Ver. 22. Third day. He was gone to shear his sheep, distant three days’ journey.
Ver. 24. Speak not. Laban did not comply exactly, but he used no violence. (Haydock)
Ver. 32. Slain. Homer says, “the father judges his children and wives;” and thus Jacob pronounces sentence. The Rabbins pretend it had its effect soon after in the death of Rachel, chap. xxxv. 18. (Calmet)
Ver. 35. Vain. For who would imagine, that a woman should treat in this manner the objects of her father’s adoration? (Calmet) — It would hence appear, that she did not herself adore them, unless fear overcame her religion. (Haydock)
Ver. 36. Angry. He was extremely quiet. But patience abused, turns to fury. (Menochius)
Ver. 39. Exact it. Laban acted in opposition both to custom and to justice, (Calmet) while Jacob forebore to claim what he might have done, agreeably to both. (Haydock)
Ver. 42. The fear of Isaac; or of that God, whom Isaac fears, on account of the danger to which he is exposed of losing his friendship; a thing which, Abraham being now departed in peace, has not to dread. (Calmet)
Ver. 43. Are mine, or proceed from me originally; so that if I were to injure them, I should disregard the dictates of nature. (Menochius)
Ver. 47. Testimony. Hebrew makes Laban give this etymology, Jegar-saha-dutha; while Galaad means the hill or the witness. The Syrian language had now begun to deviate some little from the Hebrew of Jacob. — Each, &c. This is added by the Vulgate. (Calmet)
Ver. 49. Behold. Hebrew, “and Mitspah,” or “Hammitspah,” the watch-tower, whence God will see us. (Calmet)
Ver. 50. Over them. A wise precaution, which the rich Turks still observe when they give their daughters in marriage. (Busbeque, ep. 3.)
Ver. 51. I have, &c. One Samaritan copy reads very properly, “thou hast set up,” (yarithi), ver. 45. (Kennicott).
Ver. 53. God of Nachor. Hebrew uses Elohim, which is often applied to idols, such as Nachor worshipped along with the true God. (Calmet) — Jacob swears by the one only God, whom his father revered. (Menochius) — The God of their father, is omitted in the Septuagint and is deemed an interpolation by Kennicott. The Samaritan reads again the God of Abraham. (Haydock)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Jacob’s departure: he is pursued and overtaken by Laban. They make a covenant.
1 But after that he had heard the words of the sons of Laban, saying: Jacob hath taken away all that was our father’s, and being enriched by his substance is become great.
2 And perceiving also, that Laban’s countenance was not towards him as yesterday and the other day.
3 Especially the Lord saying to him: Return into the land of thy fathers and to thy kindred, and I will be with thee.
4 He sent, *and called Rachel and Lia into the field, where he fed the flocks,
5 And said to them: I see your father’s countenance is not towards me as yesterday and the other day: but the God of my father hath been with me.
6 And you know that I have served your father to the uttermost of my power.
7 Yea your father hath also over-reached me, and hath changed my wages ten times: and yet God hath not suffered him to hurt me.
8 If at any time, he said: The speckled shall be thy wages: all the sheep brought forth speckled: but when he said on the contrary: Thou shalt take all the white ones for thy wages: all the flocks brought forth white ones.
9 And God hath taken your father’s substance, and given it to me.
10 For after the time came of the ewes conceiving, I lifted up my eyes, and saw in my sleep, that the males which leaped upon the females were of diverse colours, and spotted, and speckled.
11 And the angel of God said to me in my sleep: Jacob. And I answered: Here I am.
12 And he said: Lift up thy eyes, and see that all the males leaping upon the females, are of divers colours, spotted and speckled. For I have seen all that Laban hath done to thee.
13 I am the God of Bethel, *where thou didst anoint the stone, and make a vow to me. Now therefore arise, and go out of this land, and return into thy native country.
14 And Rachel and Lia answered: Have we any thing left among the goods and inheritance of our father’s house?
15 Hath he not counted us as strangers, and sold us, and eaten up the price of us?
16 But God hath taken our father’s riches, and delivered them to us, and to our children: wherefore, do all that God hath commanded thee.
17 Then Jacob rose up, and having set his children and wives upon camels, went his way.
18 And he took all his substance, and flocks, and whatsoever he had gotten in Mesopotamia, and went forward to Isaac, his father, to the land of Chanaan.
19 At that time Laban was gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel stole away her father’s idols.
20 And Jacob would not confess to his father-in-law that he was flying away.
21 And when he was gone, together with all that belonged to him, and having passed the river, was going on towards mount Galaad,
22 It was told Laban on the third day, that Jacob fled.
23 And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days; and overtook him in the mount of Galaad.
24 And he saw in a dream God saying to him: Take heed thou speak not any thing harshly against Jacob.
25 Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mountain: and when he, with his brethren, had overtaken him, he pitched his tent in the same mount of Galaad.
26 And he said to Jacob: Why hast thou done thus, to carry away, without my knowledge, my daughters, as captives taken with the sword?
27 Why wouldst thou run away privately, and not acquaint me, that I might have brought thee on the way with joy, and with songs, and with timbrels, and with harps?
28 Thou hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and daughters; thou hast done foolishly; and now indeed,
29 It is in my power to return thee evil; but the God of your father said to me yesterday: *Take heed thou speak not any thing harshly against Jacob.
30 Suppose thou didst desire to go to thy friends, and hadst a longing after thy father’s house: why hast thou stolen away my gods?
31 Jacob answered: That I departed unknown to thee, it was for fear lest thou wouldst take away thy daughters by force.
32 But, whereas, thou chargest me with theft: with whomsoever thou shalt find thy gods, let him be slain before our brethren. Search, and if thou find any of thy things with me, take them away. Now when he said this, he knew not that Rachel had stolen the idols.
33 So Laban went into the tent of Jacob, and of Lia, and of both the handmaids, and found them not. And when he was entered into Rachel’s tent,
34 She, in haste, hid the idols under the camel’s furniture, and sat upon them: and when he had searched all the tent, and found nothing,
35 She said: Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise up before thee, because it has now happened to me according to the custom of women. So his careful search was in vain.
36 And Jacob being angry, said in a chiding manner: For what fault of mine, and for what offense on my part hast thou so hotly pursued me,
37 And searched all my household stuff? What hast thou found of all the substance of thy house? lay it here before my brethren, and thy brethren, and let them judge between me and thee.
38 Have I, therefore, been with thee twenty years? thy ewes and goats were not barren, the rams of thy flocks I did not eat:
39 Neither did I shew thee that which the beast had torn; I made good all the damage: whatsoever was lost by theft, thou didst exact it of me:
40 Day and night was I parched with heat, and with frost, and sleep departed from my eyes.
41 And in this manner have I served thee in thy house twenty years, fourteen for thy daughters, and six for thy flocks: thou hast changed also my wages ten times.
42 Unless the God of my father, Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had stood by me, peradventure now thou hadst sent me away naked: God beheld my affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesterday.
43 Laban answered him: The daughters are mine, and the children, and thy flocks, and all things that thou seest are mine: what can I do to my children, and grandchildren?
44 Come, therefore, let us enter into a league; that it may be for a testimony between me and thee.
45 And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a title.
46 And he said to his brethren: Bring hither stones. And they, gathering stones together, made a heap, and they ate upon it.
47 And Laban called it, The witness heap; and Jacob, The hillock of testimony: each of them according to the propriety of his language.
48 And Laban said: This heap shall be a witness between me and thee this day, and therefore the name thereof was called Galaad, that is, The witness heap.
49 The Lord behold and judge between us, when we shall be gone one from the other.
50 If thou afflict my daughters, and if thou bring in other wives over them: none is witness of our speech but God, who is present and beholdeth.
51 And he said again to Jacob: Behold this heap, and the stone which I have set up between me and thee,
52 Shall be a witness: this heap, I say, and the stone, be they for a testimony, if either I shall pass beyond it going towards thee, or thou shalt pass beyond it thinking harm to me.
53 The God of Abraham, and the God of Nachor, the God of their father, judge between us. And Jacob swore by the fear of his father Isaac:
54 And after he had offered sacrifices in the mountain, he called his brethren to eat bread. And when they had eaten, they lodged there:
55 But Laban arose in the night, and kissed his sons, and daughters, and blessed them: and returned to his place.
4: Year of the World 2265, Year before Christ 1739.
13: Genesis xxviii. 18.
29: Genesis xlviii. 16.