Genesis 31 (ESV)
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.” 2 And Jacob saw that Laban did not regard him with favor as before. 3 Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you.”
4 So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah into the field where his flock was 5 and said to them, “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. 6 You know that I have served your father with all my strength, 7 yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times. But God did not permit him to harm me. 8 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. 9 Thus God has taken away the livestock of your father and given them to me. 10 In the breeding season of the flock I lifted up my eyes and saw in a dream that the goats that mated with the flock were striped, spotted, and mottled. 11 Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob,’ and I said, ‘Here I am!’ 12 And he said, ‘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. 13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me. Now arise, go out from this land and return to the land of your kindred’”. . . Continue Reading
More Questions Than Answers
While God commands Jacob to “return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you” in Genesis 31:3, I can’t help but wonder why Jacob felt the need to justify leaving to his wives in the context of how Laban was treating him?
Rachel and Leah’s response to Jacob shows that Laban’s wealth was now Jacob’s wealth. Why did they ask if there is “any portion or inheritance left to us in our father’s house” (Genesis 31:14) when their husband and the father of their children had what once belonged to their father Laban? Wouldn’t they in turn inherit or at least be blessed by Laban’s wealth through Jacob?
I also wonder why Rachel felt the need to steal what her father Laban considered gods? In Genesis 31:15, they say their father “sold them” so maybe stealing his gods was Rachel’s way of letting her father know how she felt about him and that she felt her inheritance was stolen from them? And why would they say he has “indeed devoured our money” when it was his money?
When Laban confronted Jacob after seven days of following after them, he speaks of Jacob tricking him by leaving secretly and not allowing him the privilege to send them off with “mirth and songs, with tambourine and lyre” and taking way his opportunity to say goodbye. But then, he mentioned the stolen “gods” and searches for them.
I can’t help but wonder if Laban would have searched for them if not for Rachel stealing these gods? Perhaps this is why Laban thinks Jacob left secretly in and such a hurry and why he pursued them?
I have to think based on how Laban time after time changed the terms of their agreements, and Jacob complying with these changes, that Jacob wanted to leave without giving Laban another opportunity.
It was nice to read that Laban, in all his flaws, got to kiss his grandchildren and his daughters and bless them before returning home.
After reading Genesis 31, I have more questions than answers!
Thank you for reading my daily online journal today. Far from commentaries these are just my initial thoughts after reflecting on what I’ve read from a chapter in God’s Word each morning. This not only helps me apply what I’ve read because I’m reflecting and sharing instead of only reading but it also allows me to encourage others to prayerfully consider doing the same.
In His Care,