Genesis 31 Jacob heads Home CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Jacob Decides to Leave (1-3)
Jacob decided to leave for three reasons.
- First, his brothers-in-law were mad because he had ripped off their father.
- Second, Laban was mad because Jacob had outsmarted him.
- Third, the Lord told him it was time to go.
Jacob Convinces Rachel and Leah to Leave (4-16)
Jacob explained to Rachel and Leah why they needed to leave.
- First, their father was mad.
- Second, their father was a deceitful business man who kept changing Jacob’s wages. Third, God caused the flocks to produce multi-colored kids and lambs. Of course, Jacob lied about that. Jacob was the one responsible for breeding the color into the lambs and kids, not God.
- Fourth, God said that it was time to leave.
Rachel and Leah agreed to go because all their inheritance was now Jacob’s; they were estranged from the rest of their family; they had been sold by their father (literally, they were the payment for Jacob’s first 14 years of service to Laban); and they already had all they were going to get from their father, anyway.
Jacob and His Family Leave (17-21)
Jacob waited until Laban was gone to leave. He crossed the Euphrates River heading south toward Canaan with all of his cattle, goods, wives and children. Unbeknownst to him, he was also traveling with Laban’s images, which Rachel had stolen.
Images of gold, silver or wood ranged in size from something small that could be worn around the neck all the way to huge statues (Dan. 3:2).
- They were worshipped (Acts 19:24-27).
- They were forbidden by God (Ex. 20:4).
- They are connected to devil worship, although the idolaters say they are worshipping God (1 Cor. 10:20).
- They are a sin (Ex. 32:31).
- They provoke the wrath of God (Jer. 44:8).
- Many people have worshipped them in ignorance (Acts 17:29-30).
- But now they must stop (1 Jn. 5:21).
- In the end, the idolaters will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 21:8).
Laban Pursues Jacob (22-24)
Jacob got a three-day head start but Laban caught him in seven days. The night before he met Jacob, God warned Laban not to hurt him.
Laban Rebukes Jacob (25-30)
Laban was furious and so he exaggerated the accusations against Jacob.
- Jacob didn’t force his daughters to leave at “sword point.”
- Laban wouldn’t have thrown them a going away party; he would have worked out a scheme to keep them around.
- Laban didn’t have the power to hurt Jacob.
- And Jacob didn’t steal the gods.
Laban Searches Jacob’s Stuff (31-35)
Laban searched everyone’s tents looking for his images. When he finally searched Rachel’s tent he didn’t find them because she was sitting on them. They were in the saddle. She didn’t get up because either it was her time of the month or she was pregnant with Benjamin.
Jacob Scolds Laban (36-42)
After the unsuccessful search, Jacob blew up. He challenged Laban to produce any evidence of wrongdoing before the witnesses. When no evidence was brought forth, he reminded Laban of his diligent service that he rendered the last twenty years:
- He hadn’t allowed any disease to affect the fertility of the ewes and she goats,
- He hadn’t eaten any of the flock,
- He paid for any sheep or goat that was attacked by wild animals (Ex. 22:13),
- He bore the heat and cold to protect the flocks,
- He put up with a constantly changing salary, and
- He would have gone away penniless if Laban had his way.
Jacob and Laban Make a Covenant (43-55)
Laban couldn’t do anything to get Jacob back. So, he essentially made a “peace treaty” with him.
- They set up a stone for a witness, they named it and they offered a sacrifice.
- They held a feast.
- They put the Lord in charge of assuring that each one kept his end of the deal.
- Jacob agreed not to afflict his wives or take other wives.
- They both agreed not to cross over Mount Gilead to harm each other.