Genesis Chapter 31
"Jacob Leaves Laban's House."
Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's
Genesis thirty one is a continuation from Genesis thirty.
Genesis 31:1 "And he heard the words of Laban's sons, saying, "Jacob hath taken away all that was our father's; and of that which was our father's hath he gotten all this glory."
The other sons of Laban are observing what is going on, and they can see the herds of Jacob increasing, and getting stronger, while their inheritance from Laban is getting smaller and more feeble. They overlooked the fact that Laban wealth was non-existent when Jacob first arrived, and what Laban had, was God's blessing given through Jacob to Laban.
Genesis 31:2 "And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before."
As Laban's sons grumbled to their father, Laban is starting to get a chill towards Jacob, and Jacob can sense the change in attitude toward him. It is time to be moving on.
Genesis 31:3 "And the Lord said unto Jacob, "Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee."
This is the Almighty Father giving the command to pack up and leave, and when He says, "I will be with thee", there is nothing to worry about. Because God has a host of angels at his command, that can solve any problem that might be in your path. So to worry at a time when you are following God will and command is blasphemy to God.
Genesis 31:4 "And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock, "
Jacob didn't even go back to Laban's house, but started immediately to gather his family and flocks.
Genesis 31:5 "And said unto them, "I see your father's countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me."
Jacob lets it be know to his wives that the welcome of Laban is gone, and God has given him orders to move on.
Genesis 31:6 "And ye know that with all my power I have served your father."
This "power" is "physical strength". Jacob is telling his wives, the daughters of Laban that with all of his physical strength he has served their father, and tried to do Laban a good job.
Genesis 31:7 "And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me."
Jacob is telling Leah and Rachel that you just can't depend upon the man. Laban had changed Jacob's wages ten times. During this time Laban used many tricks, and short cuts, and by God's will and protection, Laban was not able to hurt me.
Genesis 31:8 "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."
Everything that happened was at God's command, for it is God that giveth life, and it is God that protects His own. When Laban was deceiving Jacob into giving a full twenty one years, when the agreement was seven years of work for Rachel to be Jacob's wife. This was God's way of setting the record straight. Laban never intended to keep any of his word, and his entire life was full of deceit, and covenant breaking, and Jacob is pointing this out that what he did came to him from God.
Genesis 31:9 "Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me."
God does everything in a very natural way, and He used the birthing of the sheep and goats to transfer the herds from Laban, back to Jacob. When first presented to Laban, it appeared that he could cheat Jacob, and give him the undesirable part of the herd for his wages, and Laban loved the plan. As the speckled and ringstraked herd increased, the purebreds decreased, and Jacob became wealthy.
Genesis 31:10 "And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled."
This is a vision or dream that God gave to Jacob as to how Jacob was to obtain God's blessing. God is giving the command as to what Jacob is to be doing, and of course the strong rams of Laban will sire the ringstraked, speckled, and grisled of Jacob's herd. God is showing Jacob exactly what to do, and Jacob follow that instruction and received the blessings of God in a natural way.
Genesis 31:11 "And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, "Jacob:" and I said, Here am I."
Genesis 31:12 "And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee."
My friend, those were Divine instructions how to use good farm management, and to get back that which God intended him to have. When we follow God's Divine instructions, the blessings will come with it. God's Divine instructions are given in His word, and His entire will and hope for your and my lives are spelled out there for each of us. The only way that you can receive those instructions is to read His word, and those words are contained in the entire Bible. We must not only read but listen and hear the word, and see those words with our minds, and spiritual eyes wide open. It is personal, and it is written to you.
Genesis 31:13 "I am the God of Beth-el, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowest a vow unto Me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred."
Jacob is still talking to his wives, and telling them about the dream he had while using a rock as a pillar. In that dream he saw a ladder ascending into heaven, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the stairway ladder. After that dream Jacob anointed the rock as a pillar, and called the name of the place "Beth-el", or "God's house".
Jacob is telling his wives that he has now had another dream, and that it is time to gather up his household, his flocks and belongings, and head back home to his fathers house, and the place of his people.
Genesis 31:14 "And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, "Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house?"
After Rachel and Leah finished hearing what Jacob had to say, they begin to think about the cost of packing up and leaving. Sometimes there is a cost in doing things God's way, and just leaving the worldly things in the hands of the Lord.
Genesis 31:15 "Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money."
It did not take long to figure out their position in the the eyes of their father. From their early ages Laban had treated both Leah and Rachel as strangers in their own household. When Jacob wanted to marry Rachel, Laban dumped Leah off on Jacob, and then wasted the money. Each of them knew that Laban looked upon them as property, and something to be sold. Laban could promise the wealth of the world, but would deliver nothing; he even kept their dowry.
Genesis 31:16 "For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is ours, and our children's: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do."
Rachel and Leah are fully committed to Jacob, and are behind him in all that he can take from their father Laban. Whatever God has said to do, do it, and we will stick by you all the way.
Genesis 31:17 "Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels;"
Genesis 31:18 "And he carried away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten in Padan-aram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan."
With everyone agreeing with one accord, and they packed up and left for the land of Canaan. This was an easy process, for Laban had sent Jacob and his herd three days away, to make sure that Jacob didn't mix the two herds.
Genesis 31:19 "And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father's."
Rachel was a sharp woman, and she wasn't going to leave without something of value from her family that she felt that they owed her. These images are the "Teraphim" in the Hebrew, which is to say his "household gods". Though many years prior the family left Babylon to get away from the heathen worship, and idolatry of Babylonians, the religious forms still clung to Laban's family. These were images of idolatry, which would relate to the idols and religious object which even today many people calling themselves prostrate themselves before, and call it of God; when in fact we are told to have no man made image before us.
So why would Rachel take them? They were of gold, and considered of great value. Rachel took them for their physical value, and not for any form of worship.
Genesis 31:20 "And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled."
Laban was not an Syrian, because we have read of his parentage through Nahor and Terah, but it is in the same order that a Kenite would consider himself a Jew, when there is not one drop of Jacob's blood in them, for they are of their father Satan, through Cain. Their identity is because of their current location to the geographic location, and not to their race or blood lineage.
Genesis 31:21 "So he fled with all that he had; and he rose up, and passed over the river, and set his face toward the mount Gilead."
Jacob took his entire household and crossed over the river Euphrates, and set his course to Mount Gilead, which was a rocky region that he had to pass through on his way back.
Genesis 31:22 "And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob was fled."
Jacob's cattle are three days away, and three days later Laban found out about Jacob's leaving.
Genesis 31:23 "And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days' journey; and they overtook him in the Mount Gilead."
Where Jacob is moving at the speed of his sheep and goats, and Laban is not; thus it takes seven days to catch up to Jacob.
Genesis 31:24 "And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said unto him; "Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad."
Remember what God told Jacob back in verse three? "I will be with thee." So we see that our loving Father has already conditioned Jacob's adversary mentally to let him know that he is chasing after God's anointed, and he better watch his step. Laban knew he had a dream, but he did not worship Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and that dream will cause him to step lightly. Laban still worshipped the gods of Babylon.
Genesis 31:25 "Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mount: and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mount of Gilead."
Genesis 31:26 "And Laban said to Jacob, "What hast thou done, that thou hast stolen away unawares to me, and carried away my daughters, as captives taken with the sword?"
God has set the limits that Laban can go, and not be in trouble with Him. Laban is pouring on a sad story to Jacob, but poor Laban is lying through his Babylonian teeth. Laban sold those daughters, and Jacob put in many years of hard labor for everything that he had obtained from Laban. Laban sold those girls like a side of beef, and received fourteen years of labor from Jacob from the sale.
Genesis 31:27 "Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away form me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp?"
If Jacob would have told Laban he was going, Laban would have ripped off Jacob for everything he had. Laban would have seen to it that Jacob would have left as he came, with very little.
Genesis 31:28 "And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters: thou hast now done foolishly in so doing."
Laban is twisting the truth, for Jacob did not take anything from him that wasn't rightlyfully his. Laban had all of his deceitfulness come back upon himself, and as we saw it was God that directed how and by what means Jacob's departure would be.
Genesis 31:29 "It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt: but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, saying, "Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad."
We see here that Laban listen to God, and took the warning.
Genesis 31:30 "And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father's house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?"
Laban is telling Jacob that I can understand how you have been gone a long time, and that you would want to go back to you father's house, but why did you take my gods. Notice the small "g" in gods. Jacob doesn't know anything about this, and had Jacob known, Rachel would have had a talking to.
Genesis 31:31 "And Jacob answered and said to Laban, "Because was afraid: for I said, Peradventure thou wouldest take by force thy daughters from me."
Jacob is telling Laban, I love my wives, and if I had told you about my leaving you could have prevented my taking them with me.
Genesis 31:32 "With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee." For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them."
"Let him not live:" in not in reference to killing them, but in accordance with the code of Khammurabi, where they would be separated from them. This term as stated in the Mosaic law would have a different meaning.
Jacob is setting the punishment for the one that took those heathen images, however Rachel is a very intelligent person.
Genesis 31:33 "And Laban went into Jacob's tent, and into Leah's tent, and into the two maidservants' tents; but he found them not. Then went he out of Leah's tent, and entered into Rachel's tent."
The time of the showdown has come.
Genesis 31:34 "Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel's furniture, and sat upon them, and Laban searched all the tent, but found them not."
The "camel's furniture" is a chair, or saddle apparatus to sit in while riding the camels.
Genesis 31:35 "And she said to her father, "Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the custom of women is upon me. And he searched, but found not the images."
The "custom of women" that is upon Rachel, is in reference to that time of the month, and her father honored her discomfort.
Genesis 31:36 "And Jacob was wroth, and chode with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, "What is my trespass? what is my sin, that thou hast so hotly pursued after me?"
Jacob was angry because he had been called a thief. Jacob stood his ground and in turn asked Laban to explain what why he had so hotly came charging after him and made such accusations. Jacob is charging Laban of treating him as a criminal.
Genesis 31:37 "Whereas thou hast searched all my stuff, what hast thou found of all thy household stuff? set it here before my brethren and thy brethren, that they may judge betwixt us both."
Jacob said, now I have allowed you to go through all my household stuff, and that of my entire household, now set what you have found to be yours between us; then you can make your charges. Let all the brethren of both our households see it, and make their charges.
Genesis 31:38 "This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten."
Now it is Jacob's time to speak his mind. Jacob called Laban's attention to the fact that for the past twenty years he has lived on Laban's property, and not once has Jacob taken even on sheep or goat for his own personal use, that was not rightfully his. What Jacob has eaten, has been earned by him, and belonged to him.
Genesis 31:39 "That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night."
When I was in charge of your animals and one was lost, either by thievery by wild animals by day, or man by night, I took the loss, and not you. Jacob is saying that he did this because it was his responsibility for the care and safe keeping of the animals.
Genesis 31:40 "Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes."
I never complained about the long hours and hard work that I had to spend, where there wasn't time to sleep.
Genesis 31:41 "Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times."
Jacob is spelling out for Laban exactly what has happened over the past twenty years, how he had bought and earned the right to his wives, his cattle and all that he has. He also called attention to Laban of his own deceptive ways of constantly changing his wages during that period of time.
Genesis 31:42 "Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight."
Laban was hurt and upset over the events of the past week, and Jacob is calling attention to the fact that it is God that has governed what has happened over the past twenty years, and it is also God that has given Laban his warning last night.
Genesis 31:43 "And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and these cattle are my cattle, and all that thou seest is mine: and what can I do this day unto these my daughters, or unto their children which they have born?"
Laban has gone to far now, because they were not Laban's in that he had sold them to Jacob. Laban sold his daughters for seven years of Jacobs work, for each wife, and seven years of labor for all that Jacob had. Laban is saying "what could I do to harm them, for they are my children and grandchildren. Laban couldn't anyway, because God had already warned Laban that he had better not touch them.
Genesis 31:44 "Now therefore come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee."
Laban is now coming around to Jacob's side, and seeing that he is about to lose it all. Laban now understands that while Jacob was working for him, Jacob made him rich. Laban didn't mind growing rich, but he did not like Jacob growing rich also.
Genesis 31:45 "And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar."
Genesis 31:46 "And Jacob said unto his brethren, "Gather stones;" and thy took stones, and made an heap: and they did eat there upon the heap."
This is telling us something about both men.
Genesis 31:47 "And Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha: but Jacob called it Galeed."
The term, "Jegar-sahadutha" is Chaldean for the same word in Hebrew, "Galeed" and both mean the same thing; "witness-heap".
Genesis 31:48 "And Laban said, "This heap is a witness between me and thee this day." Therefore was the name of it called Galeed;"
The place was named "Galeed" to remind Jacob's generations of the agreement between the two families.
Genesis 31:49 "And Mizpah; for he said, "The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another."
The word "Mizpah" means "watchtower" in the Hebrew, and it doesn't mean the mushy type love, in the Hebrew it means that God will rigidly keep apart Laban and his family from Jacob and his. The watchtower is to guard against attack an enemy, and this witness-heap is a reminder to Jacob of the attack of Laban, and the false charges that he made, so that it would not happen again.
Genesis 31:50 "If thou shalt afflict my daughters, or if thou shalt take other wives beside my daughters, no man is with us; see, God is witness betwixt me and thee."
Laban knew that he could get Jacob to swear by his daughters.
Genesis 31:51 "And Laban said to Jacob, "Behold this heap, and behold this pillar, which I have cast betwixt me and thee;"
The "heap" is the pile of stone, and the "pillar" is the Mispah, or meaning behind the pile of stone, which was to represent a watchtower for both of them.
Genesis 31:52 "This heap be witness, and this pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm."
For the past twenty years Laban has watched the blessings that God has given to Jacob, and he knows that they will continue. From the start it was told Nahor's family how that God had blessed and made wealthy Abraham, then Isaac, and now Laban has witnessed this continuance of blessing showered upon Jacob. Laban also knows that he has dealt deceitfully in all matters with Jacob, and he knows that Jacob is now aware of the past dealings. Laban is now going to try and get Jacob to swear by his God, Jehovah, before all the people that he or his family will not bring harm to Laban's family for the past events. This watchtower of rocks is the reminder to each of them that the families are now at peace.
Genesis 31:53 "The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us." And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac."
Notice that Laban didn't swear by his little "teraphims", or idols, but by the Living God that lead his grandfather Nahor, and Abraham. Jacob swore by the God that he respected, and from her on they have a sworn covenant between.
A sworn covenant is a good thing even within a family, for it spells out in detail the limits of actions and ownership for each member of the family, Today we call it the "Will and Testament", and this can even become a living will, that will be carried out while the person is still alive. When there is a will and covenant, notice how the binding of that covenant must be in the presence of witnesses, given with a sane mind, and the party must be aware that the "Living God" is watching them, and what they are saying.
As long as you have an understanding, and a working relationship, the possibilities of problems become quite remote. When there is a breach of contract, then there is a time of correction that sets in. When it is between two individuals, it ends in court; however when the breach is between nations, the correction ends in tariffs, sanctions or the extreme limit is war between the two nations. A clear understanding is the key to a healthy relationship, and avoiding future problems.
Genesis 31:54 "Then Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount, and called his brethren to eat bread: and they did eat bread, and tarried all night in the mount."
Before the parting of the ways, the entire family ate and fellowshipped together. They talked over the good times and mended any bad feelings between them. These good times went on until the break of day.
Genesis 31:55 "And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them: and Laban departed, and returned unto his place."
The departing of Laban is a complete reversal from the day prior when he rode in with his four hundred men, and accused and searched Jacob's camp. The bad feelings are gone, and all hard feelings have come to the surface and dealt with. Laban has had to deal with Jacob in the terms of honesty before the Almighty God, which he has not done before.
Now in the time of departing, Laban the old grandfather is about to leave his children and grandchildren for the last time, and he knows he has lost his son-in-law, Jacob. In this tenderheartedness, Laban kissed each of his daughters, and all of his grandchildren, then saddled up his camels and headed back north.
When Laban became a rich man he forgot where the blessings came from, and he thought he could do it all on his own. Then when Jacob left he realized that it was God doing the blessing, and all those blessings came through Jacob. Laban and Jacob parted in friendship, and with a clear understanding between each of them.
Plough .~ Seeds .~ Vine .~ Potter .~ Seasons .~ Sonshine .~ Rain .~ Field