ImmerseBeginnings NLT - Page 58


today and remove all the sheep and goats that are speckled or spotted,
along with all the black sheep. Give these to me as my wages. In the future,
when you check on the animals you have given me as my wages, you’ll see
that I have been honest. If you find in my flock any goats without speckles
or spots, or any sheep that are not black, you will know that I have stolen
them from you.”
“All right,” Laban replied. “It will be as you say.” But that very day Laban
went out and removed the male goats that were streaked and spotted, all
the female goats that were speckled and spotted or had white patches,
and all the black sheep. He placed them in the care of his own sons, who
took them a ­three-­days’ journey from where Jacob was. Meanwhile, Jacob
stayed and cared for the rest of Laban’s flock.
Then Jacob took some fresh branches from poplar, almond, and plane
trees and peeled off strips of bark, making white streaks on them. Then
he placed these peeled branches in the watering troughs where the flocks
came to drink, for that was where they mated. And when they mated in
front of the ­white-­streaked branches, they gave birth to young that were
streaked, speckled, and spotted. Jacob separated those lambs from Laban’s
flock. And at mating time he turned the flock to face Laban’s animals that
were streaked or black. This is how he built his own flock instead of increasing Laban’s.
Whenever the stronger females were ready to mate, Jacob would place
the peeled branches in the watering troughs in front of them. Then they
would mate in front of the branches. But he didn’t do this with the weaker
ones, so the weaker lambs belonged to Laban, and the stronger ones were
Jacob’s. As a result, Jacob became very wealthy, with large flocks of sheep
and goats, female and male servants, and many camels and donkeys.
But Jacob soon learned that Laban’s sons were grumbling about him.
“Jacob has robbed our father of everything!” they said. “He has gained all
his wealth at our father’s expense.” And Jacob began to notice a change in
Laban’s attitude toward him.
Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your father and
grandfather and to your relatives there, and I will be with you.”
So Jacob called Rachel and Leah out to the field where he was watching his flock. He said to them, “I have noticed that your father’s attitude
toward me has changed. But the God of my father has been with me. You
know how hard I have worked for your father, but he has cheated me,
changing my wages ten times. But God has not allowed him to do me any
harm. For if he said, ‘The speckled animals will be your wages,’ the whole

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