Covenant Between Jacob and Laban

Day 30 of Reading the Bible in 365 Days (Part 2 of 2)

Genesis 31 – Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were saying, “Jacob has taken everything our father owned and has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father.” Jacob also noticed Laban’s attitude toward him had changed.  Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.” So Jacob sent word to Rachel and Leah to come out to the fields where his flocks were.  He told them of the change in Laban’s attitude toward him and how he’s cheated him by changing his wages 10 times.  God did not allow Laban to harm Jacob.  I must not be completely understanding the last chapter and this one, because I feel a little lost.  Jacob sounds as if he’s saying Laban is judged by God as the dishonest one when I thought it was Jacob that cheated Laban out of his best goats.  Very confusing.  I will have to study these chapters a bit more.

Jacob says God told him to leave this land at once and go back to your native land.   Rachel and Leah replied, “Do we still have any share in the inheritance of our father’s estate?  Does he not regard us as foreigners? Not only has he sold us, but he has used up what was paid for us.  Surely all the wealth that God took away from our father belongs to us and our children. So do whatever God has told you.”  Then Jacob put his children and his wives on camels, and he drove all his livestock ahead of him, along with all the goods he had accumulated in Paddan Aram, to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.  When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father’s household gods. Moreover, Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean by not telling him he was running away. 

On the third day Laban was told that Jacob had fled.  Taking his relatives with him, he pursued Jacob for seven days and caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead.  Then God came to Laban in a dream at night and said to him, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.” Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country of Gilead when Laban overtook him, and Laban and his relatives camped there too. Then Laban questioned Jacob, asking why he ran away secretly with his daughters and grandchildren without even letting him say goodbye.  He wanted to harm Jacob but told him of what God had told him in a dream.  He asked Jacob why he stole his gods? Jacob answered explaining he thought Laban would take his daughters by force but he denied stealing his gods, to look for them and if any of his gods are found, he shall not live.

Laban checked everywhere Now Rachel had taken the household gods and put them inside her camel’s saddle and was sitting on them. Laban searched through everything in the tent but found nothing.  Rachel said to her father, “Don’t be angry, my lord, that I cannot stand up in your presence; I’m having my period.” So he searched but could not find the household gods.  Jacob confronted Laban asking what his crime was.  Laban could find no gods, so could not blame Jacob.  They agreed to make a covenant to not harm each other and go their separate ways.  Early the next morning Laban kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then he left and returned home.


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