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 you.
Read Chapter 30
Nothing is really more efficacious than meekness and nothing more powerful than it. See at any rate how, by a disarming use of meekness, Jacob also brought Laban to reply to him with great deference. “Laban replied to him,” the text goes on, remember, “If I have found favor in your sight, and the omens do not deceive me, God has blessed me in your coming. Name your wage to me, and I will pay.” “I am not unaware,” he is saying, that in the wake of your coming I enjoyed favor from God more richly. So, since I recognize the kindness done me in your coming, “name any wage you care to mention, and I will readily pay it.” Consider what a great thing meekness is, and don’t pass idly by these words. Instead, keep in mind that the good man had made no mention of this nor looked for any payment for his trouble. [He] had said only this: “Let me have my wives and children, for whom I was in your service, so that I may depart.” And yet the other man, out of respect for the good man’s great meekness, replied, “Tell me what wage you want to be paid by me, and I will cheerfully pay it.” After all, were not “Jacob’s wives and children in his company”? So why did he say, “Let me have my wives and children”? Jacob was giving him due respect and displaying in every circumstance his typical behavior, and wishing as well to take his leave without hindrance. Notice, at any rate, from these words how he won Laban over to the extent of promising to pay a wage and to leave the decision to him.