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14 January 2017 Bible Reading

Is the division of the flocks a miracle of God in order to bless Jacob? What is the significance of the spotted or blemished stock which Jacob receives? Would these have been acceptable as a sacrifice to God?

Genesis 30-31:16
30 When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I will die.”
2 Jacob’s anger burned against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in God’s place, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?”
3 She said, “Behold, my maid Bilhah. Go in to her, that she may bear on my knees, and I also may obtain children by her.” 4 She gave him Bilhah her servant as wife, and Jacob went in to her. 5 Bilhah conceived, and bore Jacob a son. 6 Rachel said, “God has judged me, and has also heard my voice, and has given me a son.” Therefore called she his name Dan. 7 Bilhah, Rachel’s servant, conceived again, and bore Jacob a second son. 8 Rachel said, “With mighty wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and have prevailed.” She named him Naphtali.
9 When Leah saw that she had finished bearing, she took Zilpah, her servant, and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10 Zilpah, Leah’s servant, bore Jacob a son. 11 Leah said, “How fortunate!” She named him Gad. 12 Zilpah, Leah’s servant, bore Jacob a second son. 13 Leah said, “Happy am I, for the daughters will call me happy.” She named him Asher.
14 Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother, Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”
15 She said to her, “Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes, also?”
Rachel said, “Therefore he will lie with you tonight for your son’s mandrakes.”
16 Jacob came from the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, “You must come in to me; for I have surely hired you with my son’s mandrakes.”
He lay with her that night. 17 God listened to Leah, and she conceived, and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18 Leah said, “God has given me my hire, because I gave my servant to my husband.” She named him Issachar. 19 Leah conceived again, and bore a sixth son to Jacob. 20 Leah said, “God has endowed me with a good dowry. Now my husband will live with me, because I have borne him six sons.” She named him Zebulun. 21 Afterwards, she bore a daughter, and named her Dinah.
22 God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her, and opened her womb. 23 She conceived, bore a son, and said, “God has taken away my reproach.” 24 She named him Joseph, saying, “May Yahweh add another son to me.”
25 When Rachel had borne Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, that I may go to my own place, and to my country. 26 Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me go; for you know my service with which I have served you.”
27 Laban said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, stay here, for I have divined that Yahweh has blessed me for your sake.” 28 He said, “Appoint me your wages, and I will give it.”
29 He said to him, “You know how I have served you, and how your livestock have fared with me. 30 For it was little which you had before I came, and it has increased to a multitude. Yahweh has blessed you wherever I turned. Now when will I provide for my own house also?”
31 He said, “What shall I give you?”
Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything. If you will do this thing for me, I will again feed your flock and keep it. 32 I will pass through all your flock today, removing from there every speckled and spotted one, and every black one among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats. This will be my hire. 33 So my righteousness will answer for me hereafter, when you come concerning my hire that is before you. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and black among the sheep, that might be with me, will be counted stolen.”
34 Laban said, “Behold, let it be according to your word.”
35 That day, he removed the male goats that were streaked and spotted, and all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white in it, and all the black ones among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons. 36 He set three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks.
37 Jacob took to himself rods of fresh poplar, almond, plane tree, peeled white streaks in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods. 38 He set the rods which he had peeled opposite the flocks in the gutters in the watering-troughs where the flocks came to drink. They conceived when they came to drink. 39 The flocks conceived before the rods, and the flocks produced streaked, speckled, and spotted. 40 Jacob separated the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the streaked and all the black in the flock of Laban: and he put his own droves apart, and didn’t put them into Laban’s flock. 41 Whenever the stronger of the flock conceived, Jacob laid the rods in front of the eyes of the flock in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods; 42 but when the flock were feeble, he didn’t put them in. So the feebler were Laban’s, and the stronger Jacob’s. 43 The man increased exceedingly, and had large flocks, female servants and male servants, and camels and donkeys.
31 He heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, “Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s. From that which was our father’s, has he gotten all this wealth.” 2 Jacob saw the expression on Laban’s face, and, behold, it was not toward him as before. 3 Yahweh said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers, and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”
4 Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field to his flock, 5 and said to them, “I see the expression on your father’s face, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father has been with me. 6 You know that I have served your father with all of my strength. 7 Your father has deceived me, and changed my wages ten times, but God didn’t allow him to hurt me. 8 If he said this, ‘The speckled will be your wages,’ then all the flock bore speckled. If he said this, ‘The streaked will be your wages,’ then all the flock bore streaked. 9 Thus God has taken away your father’s livestock, and given them to me. 10 During mating season, I lifted up my eyes, and saw in a dream, and behold, the male goats which leaped on the flock were streaked, speckled, and grizzled. 11 The angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob,’ and I said, ‘Here I am.’ 12 He said, ‘Now lift up your eyes, and behold, all the male goats which leap on the flock are streaked, speckled, and grizzled, for I have seen all that Laban does to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar, where you vowed a vow to me. Now arise, get out from this land, and return to the land of your birth.’”
14 Rachel and Leah answered him, “Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father’s house? 15 Aren’t we accounted by him as foreigners? For he has sold us, and has also quite devoured our money. 16 For all the riches which God has taken away from our father, that is ours and our children’s. Now then, whatever God has said to you, do.”

Matthew 10:1-25
10 He called to himself his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every sickness. 2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these. The first, Simon, who is called Peter; Andrew, his brother; James the son of Zebedee; John, his brother; 3 Philip; Bartholomew; Thomas; Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus; Lebbaeus, who was also called Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Canaanite; and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
5 Jesus sent these twelve out, and commanded them, saying, “Don’t go among the Gentiles, and don’t enter into any city of the Samaritans. 6 Rather, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 As you go, preach, saying, ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!’ 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons. Freely you received, so freely give. 9 Don’t take any gold, silver, or brass in your money belts. 10 Take no bag for your journey, neither two coats, nor shoes, nor staff: for the laborer is worthy of his food. 11 Into whatever city or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy; and stay there until you go on. 12 As you enter into the household, greet it. 13 If the household is worthy, let your peace come on it, but if it isn’t worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 Whoever doesn’t receive you, nor hear your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake off the dust from your feet. 15 Most certainly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.
16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep among wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to councils, and in their synagogues they will scourge you. 18 Yes, and you will be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the nations. 19 But when they deliver you up, don’t be anxious how or what you will say, for it will be given you in that hour what you will say. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
21 “Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child. Children will rise up against parents, and cause them to be put to death. 22 You will be hated by all men for my name’s sake, but he who endures to the end will be saved. 23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee into the next, for most certainly I tell you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man has come.
24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his lord. 25 It is enough for the disciple that he be like his teacher, and the servant like his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household!

Psalm 12:1-8
For the Chief Musician; upon an eight-stringed lyre. A Psalm of David.
12 Help, Yahweh; for the godly man ceases.
For the faithful fail from among the children of men.
2 Everyone lies to his neighbor.
They speak with flattering lips, and with a double heart.
3 May Yahweh cut off all flattering lips,
and the tongue that boasts,
4 who have said, “With our tongue we will prevail.
Our lips are our own.
Who is lord over us?”
5 “Because of the oppression of the weak and because of the groaning of the needy,
I will now arise,” says Yahweh;
“I will set him in safety from those who malign him.”
6 Yahweh’s words are flawless words,
as silver refined in a clay furnace, purified seven times.
7 You will keep them, Yahweh.
You will preserve them from this generation forever.
8 The wicked walk on every side,
when what is vile is exalted among the sons of men.

Proverbs 3:13-15
13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
the man who gets understanding.
14 For her good profit is better than getting silver,
and her return is better than fine gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies.
None of the things you can desire are to be compared to her.

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