Summary of passage: Jacob asks Laban if he may return to his home country with his wife and children and flocks. But Laban asks him to stay for he knows he has prospered only because of Jacob so he offers Jacob to name his price to stay. Jacob says he will stay if Laban will give him as wages every speckled or spotted sheep and every dark-colored lamb and every spotted or speckled goat that is born. He will separate out the current speckled and spotted and dark-colored animals and those will be cared for by Laban’s sons, which will decrease the odds of these being born.
Laban divided the animals as agreed upon and separated the flocks. Jacob then placed tree branches in the water troughs so when the flocks came to drink they would mate. Jacob, caring for the solid-colored animals, kept his flocks separate from Laban’s and he only kept the strong ones. The weak ones went to Laban. Jacob grew exceedingly prosperous.
Laban’s sons were jealous of Jacob’s wealth. The Lord told Jacob it was time to return to his homeland. Jacob called Rachel and Leah to him and told them how he has worked for Laban despite the wages being constantly changed but God has been with him and has blessed him with their father’s livestock.
Jacob recounts a dream where God acknowledged Laban’s treachery and told Jacob to leave for home at once. Rachel and Leah agree and say all Jacob has gained from their father should be theirs anyways as an inheritance.
8a) He did his job. His employer’s flocks multiplied under his care and God’s blessing. He gave over 14 years of work for Laban in exchange for room and board and his daughters.
b) Jacob worked hard for Laban, never resenting it, always doing what he was told, and never grumbling. He increased his employer’s wealth FIRST and then worried about his own. Laban prospered. He obeyed Laban in everything he was asked to do. He worked at it with all his heart since he was truly working for the Lord. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for the wrong (as Laban will be). He respected Laban. Wealth was not Jacob’s goal.
Even though Laban tricked him repeatedly, Jacob repaid him with blessing by multiplying his flocks. He was humble. He depended on God for his well being. He did not worry. He trusted God to take care of him.
c) Personal Question. My answer: To be working for God, not others. I try to keep this in the forefront of my mind especially since my writings bring me no monetary rewards as of yet. I try to give my worries to Him as much as possible.
9a) Selfish, conceited, unfair, manipulative, greedy, taxing, unscrupulous, a cheat, downright conniving
b) Laban culled out the speckled, spotted, and dark-colored animals and removed them a three-days journey away, leaving Jacob with only the solid-colored animals. This meant less likelihood speckled, spotted, and dark-colored animals would be born with those genes removed from the gene pool. And less animals Jacob would receive as his compensation for his long years of work.
10a) Personal Question. My answer: Homeschool, write, and maybe someday do worship music. Taking care of family and home.
b) Personal Question. My answer: By trying my best, working for God, following His Word when a dodgy situation arises, and praying throughout it all. Give God the credit by merely saying so, acknowledging it’s all through His power (as everything we do is from getting up in the morning to going to bed at night).
Conclusions: Pleasantly surprised this lesson was on work. Thought it would be on trickery. Always a good reminder you are working for God. For if you work for man you are destined to be unfulfilled, unhappy, and unsatisfied with life.
Equally important is giving God the credit for all that you do. Saying so out loud to others is a powerful testimony that I’m sure puts a smile on God’s face when He hears it.
Note on Selective Breeding: Scholars are unsure exactly the methods Jacob used as described here in Genesis. Jacob thought the branches would somehow give him speckled offspring and he culled out the strong to breed with the strong. Point being is: God increased Jacob’s lot despite the methods used.