Genesis 31 – Laban confronts Jacob
We begin with Jacob calling Rachel and Leah to himself in the field with his flocks. He has noticed and tells them that their father doesn’t look at him as he used to; I wonder why. Couldn’t be that he used fraud to take Laban’s herds.
v.12, Jacob says in a dream he is told to leave and return to his homeland. v.11 says an angel of god while v.13 says it is god who spoke to him. This is a contradiction and there is only a single verse between the two.
While telling Jacob to leave there is no word that Jacob did something less than okay and its not like he didn’t know what Jacob did because the angel or god actually explain what happened when they tell him to then leave, plus he is supposed to be all knowing.
Rachel and Leah’s point in v.14 can be taken two ways I think; 1-they wonder if there is anything they should expect from their father before they leave, and 2-they wonder if there is anything they could take that would be considered theirs.
For a second you can try to interpret this as them being saddened for their father but in v.15 they say ‘he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money.’
v.17 Jacob, his two wives, their servants, and all of the herds and goods they had acquired set off to return to Isaac. v.20, apparently they left without telling Laban. v.19, Rachel steals the ‘images’ that were her fathers, no doubt speaking of some idols.
Laban was unaware of their leaving for three days, left to catch them and caught up 7 days later.
v.24, god tells Laban that he is to not talk to Jacob ‘good or bad.’ A questionable statement as in just the next verse Laban confronts Jacob.
Laban asks why they left so suddenly without him being able to send them off with a feast and goodbyes.
Laban tells him that he knows he yearns for his father’s house but asks why they stole his gods.
Jacob responds that they left because he was afraid that Laban could take back his daughters and that if he finds the stolen gods that person could be killed. He was unaware that it was actually Rachel who had stolen them.
v.33, Laban searches the tents of Jacob, Leah, the servants, and then Rachel’s tent, but he didn’t find them.
Sneaky Rachel had hidden them under her on the camel she was riding. She used the excuse that ‘the custom of women is upon’ her; she was on her period. Strangely the rule that says men weren’t to be around a woman during that time hadn’t been handed down yet (all of the rules come out in Exodus and Leviticus), probably an anachronism here.
Jacob gets angry with Laban after he can’t find the stolen idols. He asks why Laban pursued him so hotly. Jacob tells Laban to lay out everything that he found from his search.
He explains that he has worked tirelessly for Laban for 20 years. He says if it weren’t for god and the fear of Isaac that Laban would have sent him away empty handed.
Laban responds that Leah and Rachel are his daughters, their kids are his, and the herds are his as well. He asks for them to make a covenant that they would not pass that spot against each other meaning to do harm, and also that Jacob would not hurt Rachel and Leah and he wouldn’t take anymore wives.
v.55 after a feast, a sacrifice, and basically an airing of grievances they all leave in peace each their own way.