Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for April 7

Here’s the Explore the Bible Sunday School lesson commentary for April 7, written by Mark Rathel, professor at the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, Florida.

Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for April 7


Genesis 30:25–34, 41–43

In the Genesis narrative, God blesses Jacob despite Jacob’s character. Jacob’s name means “heel” or “cheater.” At several points in the narrative, Jacob focuses on what is best for Jacob, and yet God blesses and shapes Jacob into a more faithful man.

Jacob becomes the father of the 12 men who would become the ancestors of the 12 tribes of Israel.

Past (25–30)

Even though he was a cheater, Jacob had an important role in God’s plan to fulfill the Abrahamic covenant. The deceiver met his match in the deceiver Laban who tricked Jacob into marrying both his daughters. Jacob commanded Laban to release him and allow him to take his wives and children (Laban’s grandchildren) with him.

Jacob had faithfully served Laban for 14 years per the agreement between the two men. Laban responded by claiming he learned through divination that the Lord blessed him because of Jacob.

Believers are to be a source of blessing to unbelievers in terms of our lifestyle as well as how we relate to people. Jacob faithfully served Laban, but now he wanted to take care of his own family. Moreover, Jacob wanted to return to his homeland after 14 years of being away.

God had blessed him with a family. Perhaps he wanted his family of origin to know his new family and finally live in the land of promise.

Present (31–34)

Jacob, freed from his obligation to stay with Laban, decided to stay because Laban agreed to let Jacob profit from the herd. Shepherds often were hired hands rather than owners of the herd. Shepherds profited from the wool and milk produced by the herds. Jacob proposed a plan through which he would receive the rare black goats.

Laban agreed because he thought he would profit more by owning the preferred light-colored or white goats. Each man sought to make a profit for himself.

The trickster Jacob appeared to be a changed man who desired to live a life of integrity and accountability by offering to take as wages the less-valued black flock. Christians today should seek to be upright in all business dealings and beware of unbelievers like Laban, who attempted to take advantage of Jacob financially.

Future (41–43)

Jacob used an unusual breeding technique. According to Allen Ross in “Creation and Blessing: A Guide to the Study and Exposition of Genesis,” many in ancient times believed that sight of the mother could leave a mark on an embryo. Jacob placed branches in the troughs.

Jacob received the stronger sheep, and Laban received the weaker sheep. Jacob was still the cheater and became wealthy.

The servant or slave of Laban became rich, possessing many flocks, female and male slaves as well as camels and donkeys. The fact that Jacob owned camels points to his great wealth due to the rarity and costliness of camels.

The description of Jacob’s wealth fulfills the vow he made to God in Genesis 28:20–21: “If God will be with me and watch over me during this journey I’m making, if He provides me with food to eat and clothing to wear and if I return safely to my father’s family, then the Lord will be my God.” The conditional nature of his vow suggests that Jacob still needed to grow in his relationship to God.

By Mark Rathel
Professor at the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, Florida

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