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Jacob & Laban
They Agree To A Friendship Covenant
"This heap is a witness, and this pillar is a witness, that I will not go past this heap to your side to harm you and that you will not go past this heap and pillar to my side to harm me. May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us."
(Bible Study Online Article Covers : Genesis 31:43-55)
In the last article we'd learned, that after Laban had discovered, that Jacob had taken his family, and departed from his household unannounced. Laban would quickly set out in pursuit of Jacob, but first, he would gather up a group of relatives, in order for them to join him in his quest.
Remember that Jacob had worked for Laban, for the past 20 years, before he unexpectedly, up and left with his family.
And because of Jacob's three day head start, it would take Laban seven days, before he was able to catch up with his son-in-law.
But before Laban was actually able to approach Jacob, the Lord had visited him from within a dream.
And from within this dream, the Lord had warned Laban, about approaching Jacob:
"Then God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and said to him, 'Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.'" -- Genesis 31:24
But Laban wouldn't listen to the Lord's warning, for he'd decided to go ahead and approach Jacob, in spite of of what the Lord had told him. And it would be at this time, that Laban would try to spin what Jacob had done into his favor? For we find him, now trying to place all the blame on Jacob? And to make matters worse, before they had left, Rachel had stolen (without Jacob's knowledge) her father's "household gods."
Nonetheless, Laban would begin the search, when it came to trying to find his "pagan idols." But he would be unsuccessful in locating them, when it came to his efforts. And after this had happened, Jacob was found to be very angry with Laban. For he couldn't believe, that Laban had blamed him, and his family, for the all the trouble that the two camps were experiencing between each other.
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Now personally, I find it refreshing, that Jacob had finally showed some outward emotion, when it came to Laban's past treatment of him. For it would be at this time, that Jacob would set the record straight -- by reminding Laban about his successful track record, when it came to him managing Laban's flocks for the past twenty years. Also know, that Jacob had informed Laban, about the extreme hardships that he had to endure, during this twenty year time period as well.
And on top of this, the Sacred Record reveals -- that Laban did not argue, or try to debate against Jacob's talking points. But in actuality... it's quite possible, that Laban might have had a brief moment of conviction, after Jacob had told him about himself? And you know what, if one were to be honest -- there was no way, that Laban could have argued against the things that Jacob had to say, when it came to their past together. For if he had, he would have looked hopelessly foolish.
The mere fact, that Jacob had left from Laban's household unannounced, was the only small window of hope that Laban had, when it came to trying to turn and falsely blaming this whole ordeal on Jacob? But as we will soon learn, Laban's attempts at shifting the blame away from himself, would indeed fail.
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So instead of Laban continuing to debate Jacob, we find him doing what he does best? He puts before Jacob, another proposal: "The women are my daughters, the children are my children and the flocks are my flocks. All you see is mine. Yet what can I do today about these daughters of mine, or about the children they have borne? Come now, let's make a covenant, you and I, and let it serve as a witness between us." - Genesis 31:43,44
Now keep in mind, that Laban did the right thing by finally laying claim to what was rightfully his? Being that Rachel and Leah were his daughters, and their kids, are his grandchildren. Now keep in mind, that before they had left from his household, Laban had treated all of them, as if they were strangers. And this is why Rachel and Leah ended up siding with Jacob, being that they were upset with their father's treatment of them, to begin with:
"Then 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.' [They had told Jacob.]" -- Genesis 31:14-16
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Jacob the Humble Servant?
But of course, leave it to Laban to speak something that was not true: "...the flocks are my flocks. All you see is mine." And of course this is simply not true. Being that the flocks that Jacob had, and everything else that had accompanied him, all belonged to him. Understand, that Jacob sacrificed greatly, and worked hard for all that he had acquired in his life up to this point.
And with Jacob being the mild and calm tempered person that he was, he decided not to put up a fuss, or murmur, and complain about the things Laban had said. As a matter of fact, Jacob took a stone, and set it up as a pillar, and it would also be at this time, that he'd instructed his family to gather some more stones? So Jacob's family, would do as he instructed them, for they would gather up the stones, and pile them up in a heap. And soon after -- we find Jacob and his brethren, uniting in agreement, by breaking bread together.
Know that the pillar and the heap of rocks, were Jacob and Laban's way of recording, and documenting their proposed "friendship covenant" with each other. And it would also be at this time, that Laban would call this place "Jegar-sahadutha" (which was a word in the Syrian Language) and Jacob called the place "Galeed" (which was a word in the Hebrew Language). Know that both names (although two different languages) means the same? For both of the words signifies -- (a heap of witness)
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Laban's oath to this friendship covenant:
"This heap is a witness between you and me today. May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other, if you mistreat my daughters or if you take any wives besides my daughters, even tough no one is with us, remember that God is a witness between you and me. Here is this heap, and here is this pillar I have set up between you and me. This heap is a witness, and this pillar is a witness, that I will not go past this heap to your side to harm you and that you will not go past this heap and pillar to my side to harm me. May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us." - Genesis 31:48-53
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Jacob Makes it Official?
Now Jacob would confirm Laban's part of the oath, by saying: "This heap is a witness, and this pillar is a witness, that I will not go past this heap to your side to harm you and that you will not go past this heap and pillar to my side to harm me. May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.' So Jacob took an oath in the name of the Fear [God] of his father Isaac." -- Genesis 31:52,53
Nonetheless, we find that Jacob would then offer up a sacrifice, which was basically, a peace-offering. And afterwards, the two stayed there from within the hill country, and Jacob invited all his relatives to a feast. Now when it comes to the feast? Know that it was a way of paying tribute, and again, confirming the reconciliation of their new friendship.
However, afterwards, everyone would spend the night after they had eaten. And early the next morning, Laban would awake, and right before he'd left to return home, he would kiss his grandchildren, along with his daughters, while speaking blessings unto them.
In the next Bible Study Online Article:
Now that Jacob has placed his ordeal with Laban behind him, and even though the Lord is still with him -- he still must continue forward, when it comes to his path of uncertainty? For when it comes to the near future, danger is still before him. And because of this danger -- Jacob will soon realize, that he'll need to continue to increase his faith and trust, by leaning even more on the One True God.
May God blessings be upon you, and thank you for your support
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