Genesis 31:8 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 31:8, NIV: "If he said, 'The speckled ones will be your wages,' then all the flocks gave birth to speckled young; and if he said, 'The streaked ones will be your wages,' then all the flocks bore streaked young."

Genesis 31:8, ESV: "If he said, ‘The spotted shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore spotted; and if he said, ‘The striped shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore striped."

Genesis 31:8, KJV: "If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstraked."

Genesis 31:8, NASB: "If he said this: ‘The speckled shall be your wages,’ then all the flock delivered speckled; and if he said this: ‘The striped shall be your wages,’ then all the flock delivered striped."

Genesis 31:8, NLT: "For if he said, 'The speckled animals will be your wages,' the whole flock began to produce speckled young. And when he changed his mind and said, 'The striped animals will be your wages,' then the whole flock produced striped young."

Genesis 31:8, CSB: "If he said, 'The spotted sheep will be your wages,' then all the sheep were born spotted. If he said, 'The streaked sheep will be your wages,' then all the sheep were born streaked."

What does Genesis 31:8 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jacob is making the case to his wives for why they should leave, and return to Jacob's family lands. He is describing how their father has cheated him, in spite of his own faithfulness. All of this is preparation for Jacob to ask for their support in leaving Paddan-aram and traveling to live permanently in his homeland of Canaan (Genesis 28:1–5; 31:3).

Jacob has just stated that Laban attempted to change his wages ten times. Here, he explains. Their original agreement was that Jacob would be entitled to all of the striped, speckled, and spotted goats, in addition to all of the black sheep. Now we learn that Laban attempted multiple times to change that agreement. Instead of all of the non-black goats, only the spotted ones would belong to Jacob. Then only the striped ones.

The Lord, however, intervened repeatedly to protect Jacob's interests, supernaturally causing only spotted or only striped goats to be born to keep up with Laban's changing rules. Details about this arrangement will arise in verse 11, showing that Jacob's acceptance of the deal (Genesis 30:25–34) and the end results (Genesis 30:37–43) had already been guaranteed by God. So, no matter what Laban did to try and cheat Jacob, Jacob just kept prospering at his expense.