On spot-like or "spotted reasoning."
It takes a broad mind to recognize "spotted reasoning." (Dec 99)
Genesis 30:25-43 (NKJ)
And it came to pass, when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, "Send me away, that I may go to my own place and to my country. Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me go; for you know my service which I have done for you." And Laban said to him, "Please stay, if I have found favor in your eyes, for I have learned by experience that the LORD has blessed me for your sake." Then he said, "Name me your wages, and I will give it."
So Jacob said to him, "You know how I have served you and how your livestock has been with me. For what you had before I came was little, and it is now increased to a great amount; the LORD has blessed you since my coming. And now, when shall I also provide for my own house?" So he said, "What shall I give you?" And Jacob said, "You shall not give me anything. If you will do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep your flocks: Let me pass through all your flock today, removing from there all the speckled and spotted sheep, and all the brown ones among the lambs, and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and these shall be my wages. So my righteousness will answer for me in time to come, when the subject of my wages comes before you: every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and brown among the lambs, will be considered stolen, if it is with me."
[So Jacob proposed to separate all of the spotted livestock from Laban's herd and give them to Laban's other sons, so at that Laban's herd would have only "pure-colored" animals to start with. From that point on, Jacob would get to keep any spotted animals that were born in Laban's herd.]
And Laban said, "Oh, that it were according to your word!" [i.e. "That sounds like a good deal to me."]
So that day the male goats that were speckled and spotted, all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had some white in it, and all the brown ones among the lambs, and gave them into the hand of his sons. Then he put three days' journey [about 12 miles] between himself and Jacob, and Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks.
Now Jacob took for himself rods of green poplar and of the almond and chestnut trees, peeled white strips in them, and exposed the white which was in the rods. And the rods which he had peeled, he set before the flocks in the gutters, in the watering troughs where the flocks came to drink, so that they should conceive when they came to drink. So the flocks conceived before the rods, and the flocks brought forth streaked, speckled, and spotted.
[According to this theory the color pattern being observed by the females at the time of conception would affect the color pattern of the coats of the resulting offspring.]
Then Jacob separated the lambs, and made the flocks face toward the streaked and all the brown in the flock of Laban; but he put his own flocks by themselves and did not put them with Laban's flock.
[This time he had the females view the multi-colored livestock to inspire the speckled pattern in their offspring.]
And it came to pass, whenever the stronger livestock conceived, that Jacob placed the rods before the eyes of the livestock in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods. But when the flocks were feeble, he did not put them in; so the feebler were Laban's and the stronger Jacob's.
[So Jacob also employed the evolutionary tactic of selective breeding to ensure that his herd would get only the strongest offspring.]
Thus the man became exceedingly prosperous, and had large flocks, female and male servants, and camels and donkeys.
[Obviously, these tactics worked so well that Jacob as able to trade some of his own livestock for female and male servants, camels, and donkeys and was therefore considered to be quite prosperous according to the worldly standards of his day.]
Genesis 31:10-13 (NKJ)
And it happened, at the time when the flocks conceived, that I lifted my eyes and saw in a dream, and behold, the rams which leaped upon the flocks were streaked, speckled, and gray-spotted. Then the Angel of God spoke to me in a dream, saying, "Jacob." And I said, "Here I am." And He said, "Lift your eyes now and see, all the rams which leap on the flocks are streaked, speckled, and gray-spotted; for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar and where you made a vow to Me. Now arise, get out of this land, and return to the land of your family."
[Jacob viewed his success in these endeavors as being an "act of God", and they were, but not necessarily in a "supernatural" sense, as is commonly taught these days.]
[1-hvn. All of the biblical commentators that I have reviewed so far (Matthew Henry, Adam Clarke, Jemieson, Fausett, Brown, Barns, Wycliffe, Keil, and Delitzsch) have used the first-heaven ("literal") approach for interpreting the above story, ascribing the results that Jacob achieved to a "supernatural" intervention by God. Delitzsch however, also claimed that he knew of experiments that showed that the color of a sheep's offspring could in fact be influenced by the patern of colors that their mothers were viewing at the time of conception. None of these traditional biblical commentators came even close to recognizing the third-heaven (allegorical) interpretation that the authors of Genesis carefully crafted into this story which, ironically, illustrates one of the major points or lessons that this story was intended to convey.]
[3-hvn. As we have seen in numerous other parts of the Old Testament, the ancient Levites viewed their fellow Israelites as being like flocks of sheep (as did many of their non-Israelite religious predecessors). Since they relied on these "flocks" for their income (sacrificial offerings, etc.), they encouraged their human "flocks" or procreate as rapidly as possible. They even created laws to prohibit homosexual or self-gratification acts which they perceived as being threatening to the expected growth rate of their financially supporting "flocks." In the story above, Jacob represents the "true believers" (i.e. believers in God's two most fundamental commandments as summarized by Jesus in Matthew 22:37-40). Laban represents the worldly idol-worshipping secular leaders of that time. The sheep, of course, represent the people (Caananites as well as relatives of Abraham--this was before Jacob "fought with God" and became known as "Israel."). Rachel and Leah represented "churches."
As I showed in the earlier articles on this web site, the book of Genesis is filled with stories that were deliberately designed to ridicule ungodly concepts like racism (the idea of a "pure breed" of people) and the special privileges that were traditionally awarded in those days to the "firstborn" (i.e. concepts that placed restrictions on one's definition of "neighbor.") This is one of those stories. Livestock that were "pure" in color were considered to be more desirable, perhaps because the self-serving (idol-promoting) religious leaders in those days taught that only "pure-colored" animals could be used for animal sacrifices (an ungodly criterion that was subsequently adopted and codified by the Levites as well).
So Jacob demonstrated that even from people who considered themselves religiously "pure" according to one man-made criterion or another, simply by telling the truth according to God's two most fundamental commandments, he could inspire them to "conceive" ideological offspring who had a broader, more realistic view of what was going on in the world around them. By pointing out that "pure white" principles didn't reveal the whole truth and "pure brown" principles were didn't reveal the whole truth, but rather that the whole truth encompassed a "speckled pattern" of such principles, he could teach people in his "flock" to be SIGNIFICANTLYmore effective than their contemporaries in human relations matters and thereby more prosperous in virtually all of their endeavors. Not only would their offspring become more effective accordingly, those who observed and followed the examples established by their offspring would likewise become "stronger" or more effective. But he also "stacked the deck" a bit by selectively recruiting those who had already demonstrated that they were intellectually stronger to begin with. In other words, Jacob didn't merely create a whole new "flock", he created a whole new "church" or religion based not so much on inherited "bloodlines" (as the Levites eventually taught), but based more essentially on following the principles embodied in God's two most fundamental commandments.
By choosing to use only the so-called 'literal" and "supernatural" criteria for interpreting these stories (rather than using God's two most fundamental commandments as their criteria), the traditional biblical commentators mentioned above have themselves demonstrated the short-comings of Laban-like "ideologically pure" modes of reasoning--and thereby overlooked (or ignored) at least 30 percent of what the Old and New Testament authors were attempting to teach.
So, as we enter a new mellenium, the false prophesies of many of our religious leaders who have been teaching spot-like or "spotted" resoning will soon become obvious to nearly everyone. Hopefully, when they recognize that they have lost most of their followers, they will finally begin to take God's two most fundamental commandments SERIOUSLY--and start teaching accordingly.]
one grain of salt
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Last modified on Friday, May 03, 2002