By Mary Vee
Jacob paced. How can Laban do this to me? I've done everything he's asked and more. He honestly expects me to stay--here--on his land?
He whipped around and faced his uncle. "You know how I've served you and how your livestock has increased since I've worked for you. When I came you had very little, and now your cattle, sheep, everything has increased to a large amount. God has blessed you since my coming--when do you expect me to provide for my own house?
Laban sighed. His arms drooped next to his body. He lowered his head. A moment later he reached his arms out to Jacob. "What can I possibly give you to convince you to stay? Come on, Jacob. There must be something."
Jacob looked longingly past the pastures toward the horizon. "Nothing. There is nothing you can give. But--"
Laban picked up his head. His eyes went wide. "Yes? What do you want? Name it--anything!"
Jacob stroked his beard and looked out at the flock. "I will care for your flocks. In exchange, let me pass through all the animals today and take out all the speckled and spotted sheep and goats and all the brown lambs. These will be my wages."
Jacob folded his arms and thought for a moment. "Yes. This is what I ask for my wages to pay me to stay and care for your flocks. That way, in time, anyone could clearly see which animals belong to me and which belong to you."
Laban set his hand by his mouth.
Jacob watch him. He knows the spotted and speckled animals rarely produce strong animals. He's probably thinking I'm foolish. He will soon see I know exactly what I'm doing.
Laban nodded. "I agree. You may go today and do as you have said." A smile burst on his face and he gave Jacob a hug. "I'm glad you're staying."
Laban turned right away toward the flock. He examined each animal for spots or speckles in their fur.
Jacob watched. He shook his head. He agreed that I would separate the animals. What is he doing?
Laban separated the animals for Jacob into another pasture then instructed his sons to drive the animals three days journey away.
Laban walked over to Jacob. "There, I've sent my sons to drive you herds far enough away to prevent any misunderstandings."
Jacob saw Laban's smile was the same as the day he promised to let Jacob marry Rachel. He's trying to trick me again! He sighed. That's OK. He raised his head. My flock will still prosper.
Jacob offered a good plan, a fair for Laban, but Laban still planned to cheat Jacob. Jacob could have left right away, but he wouldn't have any flocks. He needed to stay long enough to build up his own herd. Once again, he worked for someone who wasn't fair.
Sometimes we do work for someone. We may expect a "thank you", a gift, or money. When the person doesn't give anything we may get upset or demand some kind of payment. What would be the right choice?