Jacob Leaves Laban – Genesis 31
In our story of Jacob and Esau, we learned how Jacob deceived their father Isaac and got Esau’s blessing. We learned how Jacob then left his home and went to his relative Laban, and married Laban’s daughters, first Leah (through Laban’s deception) (see the story Jacobs Ladder) and then Rachel, whom he loved very much.. we learned he had many sons.
There came a time when the angel of God spoke to Jacob in a dream, and told him to leave the land where Laban was and return to the land of his family. And the LORD told Jacob “I will be with you”.. and so Jacob sent for Rachel and Leah and told them that he was to return to the land of his family, but Rachel and Leah wanted to know if there was an inheritance for them in their father’s house..
And so Jacob set his sons and his wives upon camels, and he carried away all his cattle, and all his goods and got ready to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan. But Rachel had stolen some images (little statues) belonging to her father, and so Jacob left with all that he had but he did not tell Laban that he was leaving.
And after three days Laban found out that Jacob had left, so he took his brethren with him and pursued him for seven days, and caught up to him at Mount Gilead. But God came to Laban that night in a dream and told him “be careful that you do not speak good or bad to Jacob” And when Laban came up to Jacob, he said “What have you done leaving without telling me, and taking away my daughters. Why did you flee in secret? Why didn’t you tell me so I could have given you a party ? Why haven’t you allowed me to kiss my (grand)sons and my daughters? you have done foolishly. It is in my hand to harm you, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, and told me not to speak good or bad to you. And now, even though you want to leave and go to your father’s house, why have you stolen my gods?”
Jacob told him that he had left because he thought that Laban would take by force his daughters (who were now Jacob’s wives) and then he said “the person with whom you find your gods, let him not live” because Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them. Laban went into Jacob’s tent and into Leah’s tent, and into the two maidservants’ tents, but he did not find them. Then he went into Rachel’s tent. But Rachel had taken the images of the gods and hidden them in the camel’s furniture (like a saddle) and was sitting on them and she said she could not get up, and so Laban searched, but he did not find the images.
Jacob was very angry, and he spoke harshly to Laban, and said “What is my sin that you have so hotly pursued me? You have searched all my stuff, and what have you found? …I have served you for 20 years for your two daughters and for your cattle and you have changed my wages ten times. Laban told Jacob that Rachel and Leah were his daughters, and that Jacob’s children were Laban’s children, and that the cattle were Laban’s cattle, but then they made a heap of stones and made a covenant, and Laban made Jacob promise that he would not marry any other wives, and that they would not harm each other.
And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his (grand)sons and his daughters, and blessed them, and Laban departed and returned to his own place.
Memory Verse: Genesis 31:3 “and the LORD said to Jacob, Return to the land of your fathers, and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”
1 Why did Jacob decide to leave Laban and return to his own country? Answer: Because God spoke to him in a dream and told him to.
2 What did Rachel take from her father? Answer: the images of his gods.
3 What was the reason Jacob gave Laban for leaving without telling him? Answer: Jacob said that he thought that Laban would take back his daughters by force.
4 Where did Rachel hide the images? Answer: in the furniture (like a saddle) of the camels
5 What did Laban do after he and Jacob made a covenant? Answer: He got up early in the morning, kissed his daughters and his sons (grandsons) and returned to his own place.