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JACOB TENDING THE FLOCKS OF LABAN.
(GENESIS XXIX. AND Xxx.) The aged patriarch, Isaac, who had long been afflicted with blindness, finding that he drew near the end of his pilgrimage on earth, called for Esau, his eldest son, and desired him to procure for him some of his favourite venison, and dress it, that he might eat; promising, afterwards to give him his blessing. Rebekah, the wife of Isaac, heard this request; and her love being fixed upon Jacob, her youngest son, she resolved to counteract the design of Isaac, by causing her loved-one to personate Esau. In this she was successful. She hastily dressed Isaac's favourite meat, put the skins of the kids upon Jacob's hands, and clothed him with the garments of Esau; in which disguise Jacob so effectually imposed upon his father, that, after he had partaken of the meat, he kissed him, and, in the spirit of prophecy, gave him his solemn blessing.
Now, Jacob had before obtained the birthright of Esau, and, as might be expected, therefore, this transaction widened this breach in their brotherly affection still more.
They stood aloof; the scars remaining,
Esau, indeed, harboured revenge in his breast, and determined, when his father was dead, to put Jacob to death. His design was made known to Rebekah; and she persuaded Isaac to send Jacob to her brother Laban, at Padan-Aram, hoping that his absence, and time, would allay the fury of his brother Esau. Accordingly Jacob was sent away; and when he arrived at Padan-Aram he became shepherd to his uncle, serving him fourteen years for his two daughters, Leah and Rachel, and, afterwards, for the ringstraked, spotted, and speckled offspring of his numerous flocks of sheep and goats.
In such circumstånces Jacob is represented in the drawing. The plain in the distance may be supposed to exhibit one of the fertile and pleasant tracts by which the desolate region of Mesopotamia Proper is skirted in the north and north-eastern part, where it was that Jacob fed the flocks of Laban for so many years. This region