"And he heard the words of Laban's sons, sayng, Jacob hath taken away all that was our
father's; and of that which was our father's hath he gotten all this glory. And Jacob beheld
the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before."
When chapter 31 begins, Jacob had been in Haran for twenty years: a total of
fourteen years spent serving for his two wives and six more for wages. During this time, he
had accumulated herds of multicolored livestock and a large family. Laban's attitude toward
him had changed. Jacob overheard Leah and Rachel's brothers complaining about his abundant
growth. They felt he had taken their inheritance.
"And the Lord said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I
will be with thee."
GOD'S TIMING IS ALWAYS PERFECT
Right at this time in Jacob's life, God told him to move back to his homeland.
Isn't it wonderful to know that He is watching our lives this closely? Next time you feel
like you are facing a problem that cannot be resolved, remember Jacob.
(Especially if your in-laws turn against you! *S* )
God is always right on time. If we will let Him, he will
guide our lives. Jacob listened to God and called his wives to him and told them to pack. He
explained to them that their father had deceived him, changed his wages ten times and that now
his countenance had changed toward him because God had still caused him to prosper. He told
his wives an angel had told him to return home. Rachel and Leah agreed that they should leave,
saying that their father had sold them and used all their money and they were now as strangers
They left when Laban had gone to shear his sheep. Thus, waiting until he was away from home
and avoiding a direct confrontation. Three days later, when Laban returned home and learned
of their departure, he was angry and gave chase. Sometime before he caught up to Jacob, God
spoke to him and told him not to harm Jacob in any way. Jacob had nearly reached Canaan by
the time Laban caught up to him seven days later. Laban first expressed hurt that
Jacob had fled secretly away and he was not able to give them a send off and kiss his
daughters and grandchildren. He then accused them of stealing his "gods". A search was made
from tent to tent looking for the statues. When they came to Rachel's tent, she excused
herself for not rising to greet her father, and the reason was that she had hidden the false
gods in the camel's furniture, totally unaware to Jacob. When the gods were not found, Jacob
reprimanded Laban for accusing him of stealing his gods and for pursuing after them. He then
reminded Laban of how long he had worked for him and how badly Laban had treated him. He also
reminded him that the only way Laban had prospered at all was because God had been with him, Jacob.
Laban then proposed that they make a covenant never to bother each other again. I suspect
Laban's intention here was to assure that Jacob would never return to lay claim to more of his
property as inheritance for his wives and sons! As a symbol of the covenant, they set up a
pillar where they were. Laban called it Jegar-sabadutha (meaning "heap of witness" in Aramaic)
and Jacob called it Galeed (meaning the same thing in Hebrew). Still another name, Mizpah
(meaning watchpost) was given to it, for it signified a place of watching to see that neither
one passed over it to hurt the other. That evening, Jacob offered a sacrifice where they all
ate together. The next morning Laban left, leaving a blessing on Jacob's family.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Do you think Laban's sons were justified in
their feelings toward Jacob? Do you think Jacob took their inheritance?
Do you think Jacob was wrong to flee secretly away without telling Laban he was going?
Why do you think Rachel took her father's "gods"?
Thank you so much for doing the Bible Study with us this week. I hope you enjoyed your visit.
I am looking forward to hearing your answers to the questions this week. Please feel free to
e-mail me, post on the message board or write your comments in my guestbook so everyone can
see what you think!
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