Genesis 30* A further account of Jacob's family. (1-13) Rachel bearethJoseph. (14-24) Jacob's new agreement with Laban to serve himfor cattle. (25-43)1-13 Rachel envied her sister: envy is grieving at the good ofanother, than which no sin is more hateful to God, or morehurtful to our neighbours and ourselves. She considered not thatGod made the difference, and that in other things she had theadvantage. Let us carefully watch against all the risings andworkings of this passion in our minds. Let not our eye be eviltowards any of our fellow-servants, because our Master's isgood. Jacob loved Rachel, and therefore reproved her for whatshe said amiss. Faithful reproofs show true affection. God maybe to us instead of any creature; but it is sin and folly toplace any creature in God's stead, and to place that confidencein any creature, which should be placed in God only. At thepersuasion of Rachel, Jacob took Bilhah her handmaid to wife,that, according to the usage of those times, her children mightbe owned as her mistress's children. Had not Rachel's heart beeninfluenced by evil passions, she would have thought her sister'schildren nearer to her, and more entitled to her care thanBilhah's. But children whom she had a right to rule, were moredesirable to her than children she had more reason to love. Asan early instance of her power over these children, she takespleasure in giving them names that carry in them marks ofrivalry with her sister. See what roots of bitterness envy andstrife are, and what mischief they make among relations. At thepersuasion of Leah, Jacob took Zilpah her handmaid to wife also.See the power of jealousy and rivalship, and admire the wisdomof the Divine appointment, which joins together one man and onewoman only; for God hath called us to peace and purity. 14-24 The desire, good in itself, but often too great andirregular, of being the mother of the promised Seed, with thehonour of having many children, and the reproach of beingbarren, were causes of this unbecoming contest between thesisters. The truth appears to be, that they were influenced bythe promises of God to Abraham; whose posterity were promisedthe richest blessings, and from whom the Messiah was to descend. 25-43 The fourteen years being gone, Jacob was willing todepart without any provision, except God's promise. But he hadin many ways a just claim on Laban's substance, and it was thewill of God that he should be provided for from it. He referredhis cause to God, rather than agree for stated wages with Laban,whose selfishness was very great. And it would appear that heacted honestly, when none but those of the colours fixed uponshould be found among his cattle. Laban selfishly thought thathis cattle would produce few different in colour from their own.Jacob's course after this agreement has been considered aninstance of his policy and management. But it was done byintimation from God, and as a token of his power. The Lord willone way or another plead the cause of the oppressed, and honourthose who simply trust his providence. Neither could Labancomplain of Jacob, for he had nothing more than was freelyagreed that he should have; nor was he injured, but greatlybenefitted by Jacob's services. May all our mercies be receivedwith thanksgiving and prayer, that coming from his bounty, theymay lead to his praise.
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