Children’s Study – Jacob, Part 9 – Jacob Starts to Work For His Wives

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Jacob – Part 9 – Jacob starts to work for his family

Last time, we saw the meanings of the names of Jacob’s children. They were born out of the struggle between two women who wanted Jacob’s affection. These two women, Leah and Rachel, are the spiritual symbols of Babylon and the true church of the living God.

Jacob first served his uncle Laban for seven years thinking he was working for Rachel. This is a symbol of our time in Babylon thinking we are going to get saved under those false churches. We work so hard and we give so much but in the end, we will be humbled by God to admit that everything we did and everything we valued are useless.

Php 3:7 (KJV) But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Php 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

Let’s read those verses again, but this time in the Contemporary English Version.

Php 3:7 (CEV) But Christ has shown me that what I once thought was valuable is worthless.
Php 3:8 Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ.

On the other hand, the seven years that Jacob served after Rachel was given to him as a wife also, are a symbol of our service under the body of Christ. We are told that when Jacob was serving the first seven years, it seemed like a few days for him.

Gen 29:20 (MKJV) And Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him a few days, for the love he had for her.

Now that he was sure that he will be getting Rachel this time, Jacob must have had the same zeal, if not more in his service.

Heb 6:11 (KJV) And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
Heb 6:12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Because the advice to be hardworking and not to be lazy is such an important lesson in the Bible, let’s read those verses again but this time in the Easy-to-Read Version:

Heb 6:11 (ERV) We want each of you to be willing and eager to show your love like that the rest of your life. Then you will be sure to get what you hope for.
Heb 6:12 We don’t want you to be lazy. We want you to be like those who, because of their faith and patience, will get what God has promised.

It is in this second seven years that Jacob was given 11 sons and 1 daughter through Rachel and Leah and their servants Bilhah and Zilpah.

Rth 4:11 (KJV) And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem:

It was after the birth of Joseph that Jacob wanted to move out of his uncle Laban’s house.

Gen 30:25 (ESV) As soon as Rachel had borne Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, that I may go to my own home and country.
Gen 30:26 Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, that I may go, for you know the service that I have given you.”

But Laban didn’t want Jacob to go yet.

Gen 30:27 (KJV) And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake.

At first glance, there is nothing wrong with what Laban said here. He seems to be telling Jacob: “Please stay, I have learned by experience that the Lord blessed me because of you”.

But if we dig deeper in the word of God, He will bless us with wisdom that can help us live a life that is pleasing to Him.

The word translated “experience” actually means “enchantment”.


A primitive root; properly to hiss, that is, whisper a (magic) spell; generally to prognosticate: – X certainly, divine, enchanter, (use) X enchantment, learn by experience, X indeed, diligently observe.

Here is how this word is used in other verses:

Deu 18:10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter [same word translated “experience” in Gen. 30:27], or a witch,

2Ki 17:17 And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments [same word translated “experience” in Gen. 30:27], and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.

So now we see that Laban did a very bad thing! This should tell any parent that stories like Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings, and any fairy tale where someone uses enchantments or magic spells are not harmless. They are evil in the eyes of God, and they provoke Him to anger!

Let’s go back to that verse:

Gen 30:27 (KJV) And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience [enchantments] that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake.

If we look closer to the word translated “hath blessed”, we also learn that it comes from a Hebrew verb with an imperfect tense:

A primitive root; to kneel; by implication to bless God (as an act of adoration), and (vice-versa) man (as a benefit); also (by euphemism) to curse (God or the king, as treason): – X abundantly, X altogether, X at all, blaspheme, bless, congratulate, curse, X greatly, X indeed, kneel (down), praise, salute, X still, thank.

A verb with an imperfect tense mean that we don’t know if the action has taken place already, is currently taking place or is yet to take place. We now know that Laban is an enchanter. An enchanter usually uses magic spells to tell or influence the future. Knowing these things, what Laban is telling Jacob in Gen. 30:27 is essentially:

“Please stay, I have used magic spells to tell me that the Lord will bless me because of you”

The seven years that Jacob has to work for Rachel has passed, so now Laban is trying to convince Jacob to stay.

Gen 30:28 (BBE) Say then what your payment is to be and I will give it.
Gen 30:29 Then Jacob said, You have seen what I have done for you, and how your cattle have done well under my care.
Gen 30:30 For before I came you had little, and it has been greatly increased; and the Lord has given you a blessing in everything I have done; but when am I to do something for my family?

Jacob knows that it is God who has blessed Laban through him.

Gen 30:31 (BBE) And Laban said, What am I to give you? And Jacob said, Do not give me anything; but I will again take up the care of your flock if you will only do this for me:
Gen 30:32 Let me go through all your flock today, taking out from among them all the sheep which are marked or coloured or black, and all the marked or coloured goats: these will be my payment.

The Lord wants hardworking servants. Jacob didn’t want to get anything from Laban that he didn’t work for. He agreed to work again for Laban. But this time, he wanted to get the goats with markings (spots or stripes) and the colored ones (brown or black) as payment for his work.

Stories of genies or fairy godmothers granting wishes promote laziness in children. We want you to work hard in your schooling and at home in helping out in household chores. When you work hard as young children, it is good training for you to work hard for an income to support your own family in the future.

Gen 30:33 (ERV) In the future you can easily see if I am honest. You can come to look at my flocks. If I have any goat that isn’t spotted or any sheep that isn’t black, you will know that I stole it.”
Gen 30:34 Laban answered, “I agree to that. We will do what you ask.”
Gen 30:35 But that day Laban hid all the male goats that had spots. And he hid all the female goats that had spots on them. He also hid all the black [or brown] sheep. Laban told his sons to watch these sheep.
Gen 30:36 So the sons took all the spotted animals and led them to another place. They traveled for three days. Jacob stayed and took care of all the animals that were left.

What a rotten person Laban is! He is even teaching his sons to help him cheat Jacob.

Kids, as you grow up, you will come across people who will cheat you and take advantage of you. The Lord doesn’t want us to get back at them or even sue them. Instead, this is what we are told by the Lord:

Mat 5:44 (MKJV) But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you,
Mat 5:45 so that you may become sons of your Father in Heaven. For He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

Here are those verses in the Easy-to-Read Version:

Mat 5:44 (ERV) But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly.
Mat 5:45 If you do this, you will be children who are truly like your Father in heaven. He lets the sun rise for all people, whether they are good or bad. He sends rain to those who do right and to those who do wrong.

But here we’ll see that Jacob wanted to get back at Laban.

Gen 30:37 (ERV) Then Jacob cut green branches from poplar and almond trees. He stripped off some of the bark so that the branches had white stripes on them.
Gen 30:38 He put the branches in front of the flocks at the watering places. When the animals came to drink, they also mated in that place.
Gen 30:39 Then when the goats mated in front of the branches, the young that were born were spotted, striped, or black.
Gen 30:40 Jacob separated the spotted and the black animals from the other animals in the flock. He kept his animals separate from Laban’s.
Gen 30:41 Any time the stronger animals in the flock were mating, Jacob put the branches before their eyes. The animals mated near those branches.
Gen 30:42 But when the weaker animals mated, Jacob did not put the branches there. So the young animals born from the weak animals were Laban’s. And the young animals born from the stronger animals were Jacob’s.
Gen 30:43 In this way Jacob became very rich. He had large flocks, many servants, camels, and donkeys.

As you can see, Jacob did not obey the Lord’s command to love our enemies and to not get back at those who treats us badly.

Some of you might be wondering why putting striped branches in front of mating animals produced spotted, striped or colored babies. As we will see later, it is not what Jacob did that made the animals produce those marked babies.

Gen 31:1 (ERV) One day Jacob heard Laban’s sons talking. They said, “Jacob has taken everything that our father owned. He has become rich–and he has taken all this wealth from our father.”
Gen 31:2 Then Jacob noticed that Laban was not as friendly as he had been in the past.
Gen 31:3 The LORD said to Jacob, “Go back to your own land where your ancestors lived. I will be with you.”
Gen 31:4 So Jacob told Rachel and Leah to meet him in the field where he kept his flocks of sheep and goats.
Gen 31:5 He said to them, “I have noticed that your father is not as friendly with me as he used to be. But the God of my father has been with me.
Gen 31:6 You both know that I have worked as hard as I could for your father.
Gen 31:7 But he cheated me. He has changed my pay ten times. But during all this time, God protected me from all of Laban’s tricks.
Gen 31:8 “At one time Laban said, ‘You can keep all the goats with spots. This will be your pay.’ After he said this, all the animals gave birth to spotted goats, so they were all mine. But then Laban said, ‘I will keep the spotted goats. You can have all the striped goats. That will be your pay.’ After he said this, all the animals gave birth to striped goats.
Gen 31:9 So God has taken the animals away from your father and has given them to me.
Gen 31:10 “I had a dream during the time when the animals were mating. I saw that the only male goats that were mating were the ones with stripes and spots.
Gen 31:11 The angel of God spoke to me in that dream. The angel said, ‘Jacob!’ “I answered, ‘Yes!’
Gen 31:12 “The angel said, ‘Look, only the striped and spotted goats are mating. I am causing this to happen. I have seen all the wrong things Laban has been doing to you. I am doing this so that you can have all the new baby goats.
Gen 31:13 I am the God who came to you at Bethel, and there you made an altar, poured olive oil on it, and made a promise to me. Now I want you to be ready to go back to the country where you were born.'”

Now we know Who was protecting Jacob from all the tricks of Laban. Now we know God was causing all those goats to produce spotted, striped, brown and black babies. Now we know who has been blessing Jacob all along.

God will not let His people to be abused in Babylon all their life. There will come a time that He will tell His people to come out of these false churches.

Num 23:23 (KJV) Surely there is no enchantment [same word translated experience in Gen 30:27] against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought!

Num 23:23 (ERV) There is no power that can defeat the people of Jacob. There is no magic that can stop the Israelites. People will say this about Jacob and the Israelites: ‘Look at the great things God did!’

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