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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



GENESIS 31

 

CHAPTER XXXI.

 

Ver. 1.  After that six years were expired, and calumnies and ill-will attended Jacob in Laban's family, God ordered him to retire, v. 3.  H.

 

Ver. 7.  Ten times.  Very often, or perhaps this exact number of times, v. 41.

 

Ver. 8.  All, or the far greatest part, so that I was exceedingly enriched.  M. --- The Sept. here agrees with the Vulg.  But the Heb. and other versions, instead of white ones, read of divers colours, or ring-streaked, which takes away th intended opposition.  C.

 

Ver. 12.  Are of divers colours.  Their fancy was strongly impressed with thee 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; (H.) and therefore, I, the Lord of all things, authorize 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.  H.

 

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.  M.

 

Ver. 18.  Gotten.  Heb. expresses over again, the cattle of his getting, &c. which is  omitted in one MS. as well as in the Sept. Syr. and Arab. versions, though yet used in the Samarit. 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.  M.

 

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.  Ch. --- Others think she was herself infected with this superstition, until Jacob entirely banished it from his family in Chanaan.  C. xxxv. 2.  T. --- The Heb. Teraphim, is translated images by the Protestants in this place, though it certainly denotes idols.  But Ose. 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, (W.) though they now indeed have 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.  H.

 

Ver. 20.  Away.  Heb. "Jacob stole the heart of Laban," concealing his flight from him.  M.

 

Ver. 21.  The river Euphrates. --- Galaad, as it was called afterwards, v. 48.  M.

 

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.  H.

 

Ver. 32.  Slain.  Homer says, "the father judges his children and wives;" and thus Jacob pronounces sentence.  The Rabbins pretend it and its effect soon after in the death of Rachel.  C. xxxv. 18.  C.

 

Ver. 35.  Vain.  For who would imagine, that a woman should treat in this manner the objects of her father's adoration?  C. --- It would hence appear, that she did not herself adore them, unless fear overcame her religion.  H.

 

Ver. 36.  Angry.  He was extremely quiet.  But patience abused, turns to fury.  M.

 

Ver. 39.  Exact it.  Laban acted in opposition both to custom and to justice, (C.) while Jacob forebore to claim what he might have done, agreeably to both.  H.

 

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.  C.

 

Ver. 43.  Are mine, or proceed from me originally; so that if I were to injure them, I should disregard the dictates of nature.  M.

 

Ver. 47.  Testimony.  Heb. 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.  C.

 

Ver. 49.  Behold.  Heb. "and Mitspah," or "Hammitspah," the watch-tower, whence God will see us.  C.

 

Ver. 50.  Over them.  A wise precaution, which the rich Turks still observe when they give their daughters in marriage.  Busbeq. ep. 3.

 

Ver. 51.  I have, &c.  One Sam. copy reads very properly, "thou hast set up," (yarithi), v. 45.  Kennicott.

 

Ver. 53.  God of Nachor.  Heb. uses Elohim, which is often applied to idols, such as Nachor worshipped along with the true God.  C. --- Jacob swears by the one only God, whom his father revered.  M. --- The God of their father, is omitted in the Sept. and is deemed an interpolation by Kennicott.  The Sam. reads again the God of Abraham.  H.

 

Ver. 55.  Night (de nocte) when it was just at an end, and day-light appeared. --- His daughters, with Dina, &c.  Thus all ended well and in peace, by the divine interposition, after the most serious alarms.  H.

 

 








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