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for his two wives, Leah and Rachel, he wished to go back to the land of Canaan, where his father dwelt. But Laban begged him not to go; and Laban said he would give him any wages he should choose, if he would stay with him.
Then Jacob said that he would stay with Laban, if he would give him all the cattle that were speckled and spotted, and the sheep that were brown. And Laban said that he would.
So Jacob took all the spotted and speckled cattle, and the brown sheep, and put them by themselves for his own. Also when any were born speckled or brown among Laban's flocks, these belonged to Jacob also. Thus Jacob's flocks and cattle increased very fast.
God blessed Jacob, and he grew very rich ; and he had many men-servants and maid-servants, and cattle, and camels, and asses.
To increase, is to become more in number, or greater in size.
THE MEETING OF ESAU AND JACOB.
Jacob lived many years with Laban, and served him as a shepherd, keeping his flocks.
A shepherd had a hard life in that country. He had to watch the sheep in the hot sun in the day time, and in the cold at night. There were many wild beasts in those countries, lions and tigers, bears and wolves, and if they came by night to carry away the sheep or hurt them, the shepherd had to defend them. When the sheep went from one place to another, the shepherd did not drive them in front of him, but he went before them, that he might see if there were any dangers in the way, and meet them first. The shepherd went before, and the sheep followed after him.
When Jacob had been with Laban twenty years, the Lord said to him, “Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.”
Then Jacob took his wives, and his eleven sons, and his flocks and herds, and camels, and went forth from Laban to return to the land where his father dwelt, the land of Canaan. And when Jacob came near to the land of Canaan, he sent messengers to his brother Esau, to tell him that he was coming, and to beg him to forgive him.
Then Esau said he would come and meet his brother And Esau had four hundred men with him.
When Jacob heard this, he was much afraid and distressed. He feared that Esau was coming to kill him. Jacob was afraid of Esau, for he knew that Esau had hated him, and had said, that he would kill him, because he had won the birthright and the blessing from him.
Then Jacob prayed to God. He said, “O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, I am not worthy of the least of thy mercies, and of all the truth which thou hast shewed unto thy servant:—deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother Esau.”
Then Jacob took a great many of his sheep and goats, and of his asses and camels, and sent them for a present to Esau. And Jacob hoped that Esau would forget his anger.
And the Angel of the Lord appeared unto Jacob that night. And God blessed Jacob, and said, that his name should now be called Israel, because he had power to prevail with God.
Israel means, “A prince of God.” Jacob was now to be called Israel. And on the morrow,
Jacob rose up
and went on to meet his brother Esau. And he lifted up his eyes, and looked, and he saw Esau coming, and with him the four hundred men. Then Jacob bowed himself to the ground before Esau. And Esau ran to meet him, and he fell on his neck and kissed him: and they wept.
Esau was glad to see Jacob, for his anger had passed away. And he would not take the cattle which Jacob had sent him; he said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what thou hast unto thyself.” Then Jacob' pressed Esau to take them; so he took them.
Then Esau returned to the place where he dwelt at Seir.
JACOB'S RETURN TO HIS FATHER ISAAC.
WHEN Esau, his brother, had departed, Jacob went on his journey, and came to a city in Shechem, in the land of Canaan. And Jacob pitched his tent near the city, and remained there some time: and he bought a piece of ground from the men of Shechem; and he built an altar there unto the Lord.
And after some time Jacob journeyed on from Shechem, and came again to Bethel, the place where God had before appeared to him, and promised to be with him, when he fled from his father's house for fear of Esau's anger. And Jacob built an altar there, and worshipped God, who had heard him in his distress, and had been with him in the way which he went. And God appeared unto Jacob again at Bethel, and blessed him, and said that He would make his seed a great nation, and give them that land.
And as Jacob journeyed on from Bethel towards the place where Isaac his father lived, Rachel his