(Gen 31:1 NASB) Now Jacob heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, “Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s, and from what belonged to our father he has made all this wealth.”
(Gen 31:2 NASB) And Jacob saw the attitude of Laban, and behold, it was not friendly toward him as formerly.
Gen 31:2: The signs of impending trouble are showing. Jacob knows it. He has the evidence by what he hears and what he sees. Tis time to go….
(Gen 31:3 NASB) Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”
(Gen 31:4 NASB) So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to his flock in the field,
(Gen 31:5 NASB) and said to them, “I see your father’s attitude, that it is not friendly toward me as formerly, but the God of my father has been with me.
Gen 31:5: Elohim told Jacob to leave and go back to the land of his fathers. This is where Elohim
wants him. Elohim probably used the jealousy and suspicion of Laban to work His plan.
He told his wives that they must leave because “Your dad has that look in his eye…”
He is now going to lay out his case to his wives as to why they should leave.
(Gen 31:6 NASB) “And you know that I have served your father with all my strength.
(Gen 31:7 NASB) “Yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times; however, God did not allow him to hurt me.
(Gen 31:8 NASB) “If he spoke thus, ‘The speckled shall be your wages,’ then all the flock brought forth speckled; and if he spoke thus, ‘The striped shall be your wages,’ then all the flock brought forth striped.
(Gen 31:9 NASB) “Thus God has taken away your father’s livestock and given them to me.
Gen 31:9: Laban kept changing the wages of Jacob in order to benefit Laban. But Elohim turned this around on Laban
Jacob tells us that he followed Elohim’s instructions in regard to the livestock. Through his obedience, he obtained the best of the flocks.
It did not matter if Laban had declared that Jacob only get the purple ones with pink polka dots. If Laban had declared that, then all the strong livestock would have been purple with pink polka dots.
(Gen 31:10 NASB) “And it came about at the time when the flock were mating that I lifted up my eyes and saw in a dream, and behold, the male goats which were mating were striped, speckled, and mottled.
(Gen 31:11 NASB) “Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob,’ and I said, ‘Here I am.’
(Gen 31:12 NASB) “And he said, ‘Lift up, now, your eyes and see that all the male goats which are mating are striped, speckled, and mottled; for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you.
Gen 31:12: Laban will not get away with cheating Jacob. He tried but he got caught. Elohim saw that Laban had to pay Jacob back with interest, which is according to Torah (Lev. 6:1-5).
(Gen 31:13 NASB) ‘I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar, where you made a vow to Me; now arise, leave this land, and return to the land of your birth.'”
Gen 31:13: Elohim is not trying to declare a new title for Himself. He is reminding Jacob that He is the same Elohim who came to him in a dream at Bethel.
(Gen 31:14 NASB) And Rachel and Leah answered and said to him, “Do we still have any portion or inheritance in our father’s house?
(Gen 31:15 NASB) “Are we not reckoned by him as foreigners? For he has sold us, and has also entirely consumed our purchase price.
(Gen 31:16 NASB) “Surely all the wealth which God has taken away from our father belongs to us and our children; now then, do whatever God has said to you.”
Gen 31:16: Rachel and Leah were in full agreement with Jacob. They knew that the price Jacob paid for them was seven years labor each and Laban kept all that profit to himself without sharing it with his daughters.
(Gen 31:17 NASB) Then Jacob arose and put his children and his wives upon camels;
(Gen 31:18 NASB) and he drove away all his livestock and all his property which he had gathered, his acquired livestock which he had gathered in Paddan-aram, to go to the land of Canaan to his father Isaac.
Gen 31:18: Jacob has paid his dues to Laban. It was time to go. So Jacob packed up all his family, livestock, and belongings and left to go to the land of his fathers.
(Gen 31:19 NASB) When Laban had gone to shear his flock, then Rachel stole the household idols that were her father’s.
(Gen 31:20 NASB) And Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean, by not telling him that he was fleeing.
(Gen 31:21 NASB) So he fled with all that he had; and he arose and crossed the Euphrates River, and set his face toward the hill country of Gilead.
Gen 31:21: Why did Rachel take her father’s idols? The book of Jasher tells us that she took them because her father used them to determine the whereabouts of Jacob. This makes complete sense because Laban earlier said that he used divination to determine that he was blessed because of Jacob (Gen. 30:27).
Divination comes through demons and demons often work through idolatry. Rachel was not wanting to worship these stupid caricatures. She was wanting to take away the power that she thought her father might have to follow them.
(Gen 31:22 NASB) When it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob had fled,
(Gen 31:23 NASB) then he took his kinsmen with him, and pursued him a distance of seven days’ journey; and he overtook him in the hill country of Gilead.
(Gen 31:24 NASB) And God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream of the night, and said to him, “Be careful that you do not speak to Jacob either good or bad.”
Gen 31:24: Laban was panicking and he was mad. However, Elohim gave him a warning in a dream.
(Gen 31:25 NASB) And Laban caught up with Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country, and Laban with his kinsmen camped in the hill country of Gilead.
(Gen 31:26 NASB) Then Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done by deceiving me and carrying away my daughters like captives of the sword?
(Gen 31:27 NASB) “Why did you flee secretly and deceive me, and did not tell me, so that I might have sent you away with joy and with songs, with timbrel and with lyre;
Gen 31:27: Yeah… Right… Laban thought there was still time for him to squeeze a few more pesos worth of work out of Jacob before he left.
(Gen 31:28 NASB) and did not allow me to kiss my sons and my daughters? Now you have done foolishly.
(Gen 31:29 NASB) “It is in my power to do you harm, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Be careful not to speak either good or bad to Jacob.’
Gen 31:29: I’m sure Laban was sad about not being able to kiss his daughters and grandsons. He was even sadder that he was kissing all those herds and flocks goodbye…
(Gen 31:30 NASB) “And now you have indeed gone away because you longed greatly for your father’s house; but why did you steal my gods?”
(Gen 31:31 NASB) Then Jacob answered and said to Laban, “Because I was afraid, for I said, ‘Lest you would take your daughters from me by force.’
(Gen 31:32 NASB) “The one with whom you find your gods shall not live; in the presence of our kinsmen point out what is yours among my belongings and take it for yourself.” For Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them.
Gen 31:32: Jacob did not know that Rachel stole her father’s idols. He said that Laban could kill anyone who has those idols in their possession.
(Gen 31:33 NASB) So Laban went into Jacob’s tent, and into Leah’s tent, and into the tent of the two maids, but he did not find them. Then he went out of Leah’s tent and entered Rachel’s tent.
(Gen 31:34 NASB) Now Rachel had taken the household idols and put them in the camel’s saddle, and she sat on them. And Laban felt through all the tent, but did not find them.
(Gen 31:35 NASB) And she said to her father, “Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise before you, for the manner of women is upon me.” So he searched, but did not find the household idols.
Gen 31:35: While it would appear that Laban is just avoiding a subject that all men have always tried to avoid throughout time, that is not really the case. Rachel was thinking quick on her feet, or on her camel, as it were. Laban was not to touch what Rachel was sitting on if she was menstruating (Lev. 15:19-23).
Keep in mind that Laban’s idols meant a lot to him. But Torah was the Law back then also.
(Gen 31:36 NASB) Then Jacob became angry and contended with Laban; and Jacob answered and said to Laban, “What is my transgression? What is my sin, that you have hotly pursued me?
(Gen 31:37 NASB) “Though you have felt through all my goods, what have you found of all your household goods? Set it here before my kinsmen and your kinsmen, that they may decide between us two.
(Gen 31:38 NASB) “These twenty years I have been with you; your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten the rams of your flocks.
Gen 31:38: Jacob now takes the offensive and rebukes Laban for distrusting him.
(Gen 31:39 NASB) “That which was torn of beasts I did not bring to you; I bore the loss of it myself. You required it of my hand whether stolen by day or stolen by night.
(Gen 31:40 NASB) “Thus I was: by day the heat consumed me, and the frost by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes.
(Gen 31:41 NASB) “These twenty years I have been in your house; I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you changed my wages ten times.
Gen 31:41: Jacob already paid his dues to Laban many times over, but that wasn’t enough for Laban.
(Gen 31:42 NASB) “If the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had not been for me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God has seen my affliction and the toil of my hands, so He rendered judgment last night.”
(Gen 31:43 NASB) Then Laban answered and said to Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters, and the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine. But what can I do this day to these my daughters or to their children whom they have borne?
Gen 31:43: Now Laban is suddenly the doting father. He would NEVER do anything to harm them or cheat them.
Notice that his daughters did not rise up to defend him…
(Gen 31:44 NASB) “So now come, let us make a covenant, you and I, and let it be a witness between you and me.”
(Gen 31:45 NASB) Then Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar.
(Gen 31:46 NASB) And Jacob said to his kinsmen, “Gather stones.” So they took stones and made a heap, and they ate there by the heap.
(Gen 31:47 NASB) Now Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha, but Jacob called it Galeed.
Gen 31:47: Both terms mean “the heap of witness.”
(Gen 31:48 NASB) And Laban said, “This heap is a witness between you and me this day.” Therefore it was named Galeed;
(Gen 31:49 NASB) and Mizpah, for he said, “May the LORD watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other.
(Gen 31:50 NASB) “If you mistreat my daughters, or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no man is with us, see, God is witness between you and me.”
Gen 31:50: Laban is essentially saying, “May you never treat me or my daughters the way I treated you.”
It has been my experience that if someone is trustworthy, they tend to trust others. If someone is a thief they tend to think everyone else is also.
(Gen 31:51 NASB) And Laban said to Jacob, “Behold this heap and behold the pillar which I have set between you and me.
(Gen 31:52 NASB) “This heap is a witness, and the pillar is a witness, that I will not pass by this heap to you for harm, and you will not pass by this heap and this pillar to me, for harm.
(Gen 31:53 NASB) “The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.” So Jacob swore by the fear of his father Isaac.
Gen 31:53: Laban is trying tell Jacob to stay on Jacob’s property and he will stay on his. This is an audacious display of false humility. Jacob was good at it.
(Gen 31:54 NASB) Then Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain, and called his kinsmen to the meal; and they ate the meal and spent the night on the mountain.
(Gen 31:55 NASB) And early in the morning Laban arose, and kissed his sons and his daughters and blessed them. Then Laban departed and returned to his place.
Gen 31:55: Once again we see that a feast has something to do with agreements in that day. Jacob heads toward the land of his fathers and Laban rides off into the sunset and we do not hear of him again in Scripture.
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas