Wednesday, April 22, 2009

QQC—Jacob meets Esau

Quirks, Queries and Commentary—Genesis 32

Jacob had run away from home, presumably with very little. When he leaves Laban and begins the trek home, he not only has large flocks and herds, he has servants:
“He spent the night there, and from what he had with him he selected a gift for his brother Esau: two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twent rams, thirty female camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. He put them in the care OF HIS SERVANTS, each herd by itself, and said to his servants, ‘Go ahead of me and keep some space between the herds.’” 32:13-15 NIV
How did he acquire so many servants in the process of working for Laban?


Mikael said...

Didn't Jacob have the inheritance from Isaac, and the birthright of Esau? Did he somehow come upon it between his time of running away and working for Laban? Otherwise, what would have happened to that birthright inheritance, which Esau sold to Jacob?

Debbie Haughland Chan said...

Yeah, that's part of the curiosity. I don't think Jacob received any of the inheritance while he was with Laban. For one, it was too far away (look at the maps at the back of your Bible for the city of Haran) and assets in those days weren't like today when you can transfer money from a bank in one place to a bank half the world away. The assets would have been things like land, animals, slaves/servants and gold. Secondly, his dad didn't die till after his return (Gen. 35:27-29). Inheritances weren't normally dished out before the father's demise.

That Jacob's wealth came initially from his work for Laban can be shown by the complaint of Laban's sons: "Jacob has taken everything our father owned and has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father." (Gen. 31:1-16) Also: "So God has taken away your father's livestock and has given them to me." (Gen. 31:9) Laban himself said to Jacob after Jacob ran away, ""The women are my daughters, the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks. All you see is mine." (Gen. 31:43)

Presumably his inheritance from Isaac was added to the wealth he had gained on his own.