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Genesis Thirty One

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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.

Genesis 31:2 And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before.

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.

Genesis 31:4 And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock,

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.

Genesis 31:6 And ye know that with all my power I have served your father.

Genesis 31:7 And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not 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 ringstreaked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstreaked.

Genesis 31:9 Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me.

Genesis 31:10 And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstreaked, speckled, and grisled.

saw in a dream. God revealed to Jacob in this dream that, even though the cattle all seemed to be of the dominantly solid colors, those which actually were mating were genetically heterozygous, thus producing an abnormal proportion of spotted offspring to augment Jacob's flock. God thus providentially honored Jacob's faith and punished Laban's cupidity.

Genesis 31:11 And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I.

the angel of God. This “angel of God” claimed to be “the God of Beth-el” (Genesis 31:13). This clearly indicates a theophany, with God the Son appearing in pre-incarnate form.

Genesis 31:12 And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstreaked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee.

Genesis 31:13 I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred.

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?

Genesis 31:15 Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money.

he hath sold us. Leah and Rachel revealed here that they had long resented the way their father had “sold” them to Jacob. The exorbitant price extracted from Jacob—fourteen years' free labor—made them love Jacob but resent Laban. Furthermore, instead of using this payment like a dowry, to provide a base for his daughters' future financial security, he had given nothing to them personally.

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.

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 Padanaram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan.

Genesis 31:19 And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father's.

Genesis 31:20 And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled.

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.

Genesis 31:22 And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob was fled.

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.

pursued after him. Laban not only had repeatedly tried to defraud Jacob, but fully intended to take Jacob's flocks and herds back by force, probably slaying Jacob in the process. However, God intervened to prevent it.

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.

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?

Genesis 31:27 Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp?

Genesis 31:28 And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? thou hast now done foolishly in so doing.

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.

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?

Genesis 31:31 And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid: for I said, Peradventure thou wouldest take by force thy daughters from 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.

thy gods. These “gods” were small household images (or teraphim), used both in religious observances (evidently Laban, though he knew about the true God, had been influenced to a degree by the paganism around him) and also as tokens of ownership of the real estate where their possessor lived. As such, it was considered a capital crime to steal them. Rachel, however, took this risk presumably because Laban had not given either her or Leah “any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house” (Genesis 31:14). Laban did not find them in Jacob's possessions (Rachel had hidden them well), but we do not know whether this loss ever caused any commercial problem for him. In any case, because of their idolatrous associations, Jacob later buried all these pagan mementos at Bethel (Genesis 35:4).

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

pilled white strakes. That is, “pealed white streaks.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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 they took stones, and made an heap: and they did eat there upon the heap.

Genesis 31:47 And Laban called it Jegarsahadutha: but Jacob called it Galeed.

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;

Genesis 31:49 And Mizpah; for he said, The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.

Mizpah. “Mizpah” means “watchtower.” This has been called the “Mizpah Benediction,” but Laban obviously did not mean it as any kind of blessing!

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.

Genesis 31:51 And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold this pillar, which I have cast betwixt me and thee;

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.

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.

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.

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.