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Speckles, Streaks, and Spots

by Linda Sue Pochodzay Edwards

Text Version | Afrikaans | Italian

           “But, Mom,” Chara whined. “She always gets more than I do.” And it was true. When Jewel poured chocolate milk into the glasses, she always poured more into her own glass and less into Chara's. When they had pizza for dinner, Jewel always took the largest slice.

chocolate cake

           This time there was only one piece of cake and Jewel picked up a knife to divide it. Their mother came into the room when she heard Chara complain.

           “I have an idea,” their mother said with a grin. “Jewel can divide the cake, but Chara gets to choose first.”

           Jewel was very careful to cut the cake into two pieces that were exactly even. When Chara tried to choose which piece she wanted, she laughed because both pieces were the same. The two girls giggled, then happily ate their cake.

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Jacobs twelve children            After Joseph, the twelfth child, was born into Jacob's family, Jacob decided it was much too crowded to stay with Uncle Laban. Now that he had such a large family to support, Jacob felt he needed his own land and his own herds of cattle and flocks of sheep and goats.

           Jacob met with Laban to discuss the situation. “Uncle Laban, I have worked for you fourteen years. I have twelve children and I need a place of my own. I want to take my wives and my children back to my old home in Canaan where I can live on my own land.”

Tell me what I can do to
change your mind so that you will stay with me            “OH NO, my boy,” Laban heartily responded. “Don't be so quick to rush off! The Lord has blessed me because of you. Stay a little longer. Tell me what I can do to change your mind so that you will stay with me. What kind of deal can I make with you?”

           Jacob thought about it for a moment. It would be rather difficult to move that large family of his, and if he could get Laban to agree to a good deal, it just might be worth it to stay. “I don't want your money or anything that belongs to you,” Jacob explained. “I will stay with you on one condition.”

           "All right, my boy. Tell me what it is you have in mind," Laban urged.

           “You know that you had very few cattle before I came, and now you have a huge herd,” Jacob reminded him. “I will stay and continue taking care of your animals if you will allow me to separate them. I will give you all the solid color cattle and goats, and I will take all the speckled and spotted ones. I will also take all the brown sheep and give you the rest. The animals I take will be my pay in exchange for staying here and helping you become prosperous.”

           Uncle Laban was a shrewd businessman and couldn't let a deal of any kind pass him by. But he wasn't such a good farmer. In those days, they thought animals with spots, or speckles or stripes, were not as good as solid-colored animals. Laban thought he was getting a good deal and quickly agreed with Jacob's plan.

Jacob and Laban separated all the animals and took the two groups to different
pastures three whole days journey apart            Jacob and Laban separated all the animals and took the two groups to different pastures, three whole days journey apart. The streaked, spotted and speckled animals now belonged to Jacob and the solid-colored animals belonged to Laban. Jacob took very good care of all the animals, both his and Laban's. Jacob cut branches from poplar trees and chestnut trees and put them near the water that the animals drank. He believed it was a magic trick that would cause baby animals to be born with streaks, speckles and spots.

           Later, when the animals had babies, the babies were born with streaks, speckles and spots! However, we believe that it was God that caused the animals to be born with streaks, speckles and spots so that Jacob would prosper. It was not the magic trick that caused it. Since more speckled, streaked and spotted animals were being born than solid ones, Jacob's herds and flocks became larger and larger. After several years, he had many more animals than Laban had.

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           Laban's sons didn't like it that Jacob was having such good success in raising and breeding the animals. They were getting angry at Jacob and complained to their father. “He's taking all your animals! You'd better do something to stop him before he steals everything we own!”

           Jacob had heard the complaints and accusations against him, and it appeared that he prayed about the situation. The Lord told Jacob to leave Laban and take his family to Canaan.

           Jacob had a talk with Leah and Rachel. “Your brothers and your father are angry with me. You know I have worked for your father all these years and have done nothing wrong, even though your father keeps changing his deals and has been deceitful with me. God told me to leave here and take all of you back to Canaan. What do you think we should do?”

           Rachel and Leah didn't have to think very hard to give Jacob an answer. “Our father has dealt badly with us, too. Even though we are his daughters, he treated us like slaves selling us to you as if we are no better than cattle. He doesn't care about us, and since we have brothers, we won't even receive an inheritance from him. He will give everything to his sons. If God told you to leave, then we are willing to leave with you.”

While Laban was out in the field shearing sheep Jacob set his wives and children
on camels and they formed a large caravan heading toward Jacobs old home in Canaan            While Laban was out in the field shearing sheep, Jacob set his wives and children on camels, and, rounding up all his herds and flocks, they formed a large caravan heading toward Jacob's old home in Canaan.

           Three days later, Laban hadn't even noticed that Jacob and all of his family were gone. Someone told Laban that Jacob left taking his family and animals with him. Laban was not a bit happy to hear that news. He gathered a group of men to go with him to help find Jacob. They traveled seven days and finally came within sight of Jacob's caravan.

           Since it was growing dark, they decided to make camp and catch up with Jacob in the morning, knowing he would also have to stop and make camp. During the night, in his dream, Laban heard the voice of God speaking to him saying, “Laban, don't speak to Jacob. Don't hurt him.”

Why did you leave without telling me            Now Laban was well known for tricking people and making deals, but he knew better than to try to make a deal with God. When he finally caught up with Jacob, he was as kind as he could be. “Why did you leave without telling me?” he asked gently. “I would have liked to at least said goodbye and given the children a hug.” Then he added, “I could have caught up with you and done you harm during the night, but God told me not to hurt you.”

           Laban continued speaking to Jacob: “I know you miss your old home and want to go back there. I can understand that, but why did you steal my idols?”

           Jacob answered Laban, “I left quickly because I was afraid you would try to stop me by taking your daughters away from me, but I don't know anything about your idols. I have no need for them and didn't take them. If you don't believe me, go ahead and search all of our stuff. If you find your idols, then you can severely punish the person that took them.”

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Laban and his men searched through all of Jacobs sacks and packs            Laban and his men searched through all of Jacob's sacks and packs. After that, they searched everything belonging to everyone else in the family. Laban was sure the idols had been stolen, but Jacob, not knowing that Rachel had taken them, continued to deny it.

           Rachel knew she would be in big trouble if her father found the idols. While the men were searching through the bags and sacks, she secretly removed the idols from her belongings, put them on her little seat on the camel, and sat on them. When Laban searched through her things, he didn't find the idols.

Jacob was becoming more and more angry with Laban            Jacob was becoming more and more angry with Laban. “What have I done to you?” he asked. “Why did you come here? Why are you searching through all of our stuff? Have you found anything that doesn't belong to me? I have worked for you for twenty years and have always been honest, even though you kept changing our agreements.

           “I only took the ugly animals that were speckled, streaked and spotted. I left all the pretty solid-colored animals for you. If something bad happened to one of your animals, I replaced it for you. It is God that has blessed me. If God hadn't blessed me, you wouldn't have anything, and I would be leaving you with nothing to call my own.”

           Laban wouldn't agree with what Jacob was saying, but he knew Jacob was right. Even so, he was insistent that Jacob was trying to steal from him. “;Everything you have here belongs to me,” Laban argued. “These are my daughters, and these are my grandchildren. All the flocks and herds you have came from my flocks and herds. But because God spoke to me, I will make a promise to you that I won't follow you any further and I won't cause you any harm.”

Jacob took a large stone and set it up as a pillar            Jacob took a large stone and set it up as a pillar. Jacob told Laban's men to gather stones to add to the one he had set up. Each man added a rock.

           “This heap of rocks will remind us of our agreement,” Laban said. Jacob named the rocks Galeed and Laban named them Mizpah, which means “The Lord watch over me and you when we are separate from each other.” Then they made another promise to each other that neither one would journey past the rocks, into the other person's territory.

Laban got up and hugged and kissed his daughters and
his grandchildren            After all the promises had been made, Jacob offered a sacrifice to God, and all the people from both groups ate together and spent the night together.

           Early the next morning, Laban got up and hugged and kissed his daughters and his grandchildren. Then both groups went their separate ways. Laban and his men went back to their home in Padan-aram, and Jacob and his family continued their journey to Canaan.

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1. How many years had Jacob worked for Laban the first time he wanted to leave?
2. How many years had Jacob worked for Laban the second time he decided to leave?
3. Had Jacob been honest with Laban?
4. Had Laban been honest with Jacob?
5. Who took the idols?
6. Why did Jacob and Laban pile up rocks?


Hard work and God's blessing caused Jacob to prosper,
not deceitfulness, dishonesty, or magic.


“The Lord watch between me and thee,
when we are absent one from another” (Genesis 31:49).


“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and
what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do
justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with
thy God?” (Micah 6:8).

“But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye
take it patiently, this is acceptable with God”
(1 Peter 2:20b).


Have you ever felt mistreated when you believed
you certainly didn't deserve it? How did you
react? Did you do anything about it? Did you stand
up and speak out for yourself? Have you ever
shouted, “That's not fair!”?

What's the best way to respond when you find
yourself in a situation like that?

[After discussion:] When Jacob was treated
unfairly and unjustly, he could have tried to get
even with Laban but, instead, he walked away when
he couldn't stand it anymore. Did you notice what
God did when He saw how Jacob reacted? He caused
those who didn't treat Jacob right to come, bless
him. We, too, can feel God smile on us when we do
our best to be fair and just, showing mercy and
living in peace with others.


Dog and boy praying

Dear God, thank You for all the good things
You have provided for us. Help us remember
that You love us, and You will take care
of us. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.


           Genesis 30:25 - 31:55

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Genesis 31:49 Coloring Page (online)
Jacob Separated The Goats (online)
Jacob separates the flocks - coloring page
Laban Confronts Jacob (online)
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My Bible Stories Coloring Book 2

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The Game of Solids and Stripes (read online)
Jacob Lives In Haran (online)
Growing with God Student Manual (3rd Grade)
Jacob Runs from Laban (read online)
Kingstone Bible Volume 1
Jacob's Dream : The Story of Jacob's Ladder Arch Book
The Birth of a Nation - Abraham to Joseph (online)

365 Read-Aloud Bedtime Bible Stories

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Greatest Heroes of the Bible, Volume 3
Jacob and Esau: The Stolen Birthright (SuperBook DVD)
Jacob and His Family (online)
Jacob Escapes from Laban (online)
Jacob Leaves Haran (online)
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Alleged Discrepancies
(read online about Jacob ‘hating’ Leah)

Did Jacob placing branches in front of his flock really
result in the offspring being speckled and spotted?

Discover 4 Yourself, Children's Bible Study Series:
Extreme Adventures with God (Isaac, Esau and Jacob)

Genesis 30 (online)
Genesis 31 (online)
Growing with God Teacher's Manual (3rd Grade)
Jacob (online)
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