(1) that the particle זֶה, twice repeated (in ver. 38 and in ver. 41), may be legitimately rendered, "This (one) twenty years I was with thee" (ver. 38), i.e. taking care of thy flocks; and "this for myself (another) twenty years in thy house," i.e. serving for thy daughters and thy cattle (cf. Exodus 14:20; Job 21:23, 25; Ecclesiastes 6:5);
(2) that on this hypothesis more time is afforded for the birth of Jacob's family, viz. twenty-seven years instead of seven; and
(3) that it relieves the narrative of certain grave chronological difficulties in connection with Judah and his family, which, on the supposition of the shorter period, subsequently emerge, such as that Judah and his sons must have been quite children when they married (vide Genesis 38:1-11). But, on the other hand, in favor of the accepted chronology it may be urged -
(1) that the interposition of a second twenty years in the middle of the first is unnatural;
(2) that, though legitimate, the proposed rendering of זֶה does not at first sight suggest itself as that which Jacob intended;
(3) that it is not impossible for Jacob's family to have been born in the short space of seven years (vide Genesis 27:1; Genesis 30:35);
(4) that in reality the difficulties connected with Judah and his sons are not removed by the hypothesis of a forty years' sojourn in Padan-aram any more than by a sojourn of only twenty years, since Judah must have married either after the sale of Joseph, in which case only twenty-two years remain for the birth and marriage of Er and Onan, for Pharez and Zarah, Judah's children by Tamar, to grow to manhood, and for Pharez to have two sons, Hezron and Hamul, before descending to Egypt, unless indeed, as Kurtz supposes, Judah's grandchildren were born in Egypt; or before the sale of Joseph - indeed, if Hezron and Hamul were born in Canaan, before the birth of Joseph, i.e. while Judah was yet in Padan-aram, which is contrary to the narrative (vide Genesis 38:1, 2). For these reasons, though adopted by some excellent authorities (Bishop Horsley, Adam Clarke, 'Speaker's Commentary,' Inglis), the computation of Dr. Kennicott does not appear of sufficient weight to set aside the ordinary reckoning, which is followed by interpreters of equal credit (Keil, Kalisch, Kurtz, Lange, Murphy, Wordsworth). And thou hast changed my wages ten times (vide ver. 7). Except (לוּלֵי, if not, i.e. unless, introducing the protasis of the sentence) the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, - i.e. the object of Isaac's fear, not "terror" (Oort and Kuenen, vide 'The Bible for Young People,' vol. 1. p. 243), viz. God; פַּחַד being used metonymically of that which inspires reverence or fear, like σέβας and σέβασμα. The entire clause is a periphrasis for Jehovah of ver. 3, which is usually ascribed to the Jehovist, while the present verse belongs, it is alleged, to the fundamental document - had been with - or, for (cf. Psalm 124:1, 2) - me (during the whole period of my sojurn in Padan-aram, but especially during the last six years), surely (כִּי, then, commencing the apodosis) thou hadst sent me away now empty (as by thy stratagem in changing my wages thou didst design; but) God hath seen mine affliction (cf. Genesis 29:32; Exodus 3:7) and the labor - especially that which is wearisome, from a root signifying to toil with effort so as to become fatiguing (cf. Job 39:11) - of my hands, and rebuked - i.e. reproved, sc. thee, as in Genesis 21:25 (LXX., Vulgate, A.V., Calvin, Ainsworth, Lange, Kalisch, and others); or judged, sc. it, i.e. mine affliction, in the sense of pronouncing an opinion or verdict on it, as in 1 Chronicles 12:17 (Keil, Murphy); or proved, sc. it, viz. that he had seen my affliction (Dathius, Peele); or decided, sc. betwixt us, as in ver. 37 (Furst, Gesenius) thee yester-night.