Jacob Flees Laban (Genesis 31) Commentary



Now Jacob heard that the sons of Laban were saying, “Jacob has taken all that was our father’s, and from what was our father’s he has gained all this wealth.”
Laban’s sons saw Laban as being swindled by Jacob; They also saw a lesser inheritance for themselves, compared to what Jacob was blessed with; Christians are hated and despised for the blessings and inheritance bestowed upon them by the hardened hearts of worldly men  And Jacob saw that Laban did not regard him with favor as before. Laban thought he could have cheated Jacob; when his efforts turned against him, he became bitter; The Pharisees thought they could end faith in Jesus with his death, but our Lord defeated them, and the power of Christ only grew;  Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you.” It was time for Jacob to return, to claim the Lord’s promise; Jesus will call home his Flock at the appointed time, and be with us forever.

“I see that your father does not regard me with favor as he did before. But the God of my father has been with me. Men of this world cannot compare to the love of God  You know that I have served your father with all my strength,  yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times. Laban was selfish, he had attempted to manipulate Jacob’s bargain But God did not permit him to harm me. No device of men is a match for the protection of Christ  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. The manner in which Laban tried to underhand Jacob was thwarted  Thus God has taken away the livestock of your father and given them to me. This was God’s Will.     

Jacob reveals the intervention of God, and the revelation of the angel of God,  ‘Lift up your eyes and see, all the goats that mate with the flock are striped, spotted, and mottled, for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you.  God was righteous in this; He rewarded Jacob and punished Laban for his dishonesty   I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me. The God of your fathers, and The God who has given you all you have Now arise, go out from this land and return to the land of your kindred.’” It is time for you to return to to the land promised.  Then Rachel and Leah answered and said to him, “Is there any portion or inheritance left to us in our father’s house? Whatever was left of the inheritance of Laban would have gone to his sons,  Are we not regarded by him as foreigners? There is a lack of fatherly affection; believers in Christ become foreigners to the world  For he has sold us, and he has indeed devoured our money. Was not Laban only interested in the “sale” of his daughters? He was so intent on doing so, he pushed Leah unto Jacob in deception, and recieved seven years of labor for it, during which his possessions increased! He recieved another seven years of labor for Rachel, unhesitantly;   All the wealth that God has taken away from our father belongs to us and to our children. It is a judgment of God upon Laban Now then, whatever God has said to you, do.”  Therefore they put their faith in God.

He [Jacob] drove away all his livestock, all his property that he had gained, Jacob took only what was his.  Laban had gone to shear his sheep, so he was not aware  and Rachel stole her father’s household gods. No motive is given. It could have been intended as a personal insult to Laban.   And Jacob tricked Laban the Aramean, by not telling him that he intended to flee. Fearing that Laban would hinder him; that the confrontation could be dangerous,  he did so in secret and hastily.   [Laban] took his kinsmen with him and pursued him for seven days and followed close after him into the hill country of Gilead.  As on a bounty hunt, to seize him and take all he had But God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream by night and said to him, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.” Jacob was under God’s protection; He was God’s servant; All who pursue God’s people to harm them will do well to heed this warning  And Laban overtook Jacob. Caught up with him, surrounded him.

And Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done, that you have tricked me and driven away my daughters like captives of the sword? Laban is assuming his daughters did not leave willingly Why did you flee secretly and trick me, and did not tell me, so that I might have sent you away with mirth and songs, with tambourine and lyre?  This would not have been the case, the only reason Laban acts kindly is for the warning from the Lord; It is hypocrisy for Laban to speak against trickery  It is in my power to do you harm. Laban has the capability of harming Jacob But the God of your father spoke to me last night, Laban fears God but why did you steal my gods?” Foolish of Laban to hear the voice of the true God and yet still search for his worthless idols. Our God can never be taken, He is with us, always.  Jacob answered and said to Laban, “Because I was afraid, for I thought that you would take your daughters from me by force. And rightfully so.  Anyone with whom you find your gods shall not live. Jacob had no knowledge of the theft; All sins lead to death, unless we accept Christ, who carried that burden for us. Laban searched but could not find them;  Now Rachel had taken the household gods and put them in the camel’s saddle and sat on them.  And claimed she could not rise, for the way of women was upon her, an excuse that Laban would not dispute.  

Then Jacob became angry and berated Laban. Having no knowledge of the theft, and feeling vindicated, Jacob unleashes his anger toward Laban:  Twenty years worth of frustration. From my hand you required it, whether stolen by day or stolen by night. Laban had cheated him publicly and in secret.  There I was: by day the heat consumed me, and the cold by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes. Jacob labored tirelessly.  I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times. Despite his constant service in honor of the bargain, Laban has always sought the upper hand. If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been on my side, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. Glory to God! All of our blessings are from Him, and not men, who would hold it all if were not for Him. Then Laban answered and said to Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine. Came by Laban; was once his, but the Lord gave it to Jacob But what can I do this day for these my daughters or for their children whom they have borne? Laban,  in answer to this question, offered peace, a covenant.   So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar. As a symbol of the agreement  The Lord watch between you and me, when we are out of one another’s sight. May God judge us, for the actions between us; May God keep us safe .

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