A Daily Genesis

Genesis 31:1-13

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 31:1 . . Now he heard the things that Laban's sons were saying: Jacob has taken all that was our father's, and from that which was our father's he has built up all this wealth.[/B]

People have a habit of using the "all" word just a little to the extreme. Jacob certainly didn't take all of Laban's flock; only the lambs that were born multicolored. However, what had seemed like a good bargain at the time their dad made it, took a most unexpected, and distressing downturn.

Somehow Jacob's flock of cross-breeds was increasing at an alarming rate and Laban's boys were seeing money on the hoof going to an outsider that should have been theirs. Laban, who before was pleased as punch when Jacob agreed to stay on, must now be wishing with all his heart that he would leave. But the old boy couldn't get out of the contract without losing face.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 31:2 . . Jacob also saw that Laban's manner toward him was not as it had been in the past.
You can usually tell when people hate your guts. Often they speak away, in another direction, while you stand there talking to the side of their face, and sometimes even to the back of their head. They are so overcome with malice that they cannot even stand to look directly at you. And when they do look, it's with narrowed, beady eyes; squinting, as if into the sun.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 31:3 . .Then the Lord said to Jacob: Return to the land of your fathers where you were born, and I will be with you.
Some people interpret that to read: And I will be waiting for you. They see it that way because they insist that Jews can't be blessed when they're out of the place of blessing; viz: out of Eretz Israel. But that's nonsense in Jacob's case. God promised He to be with him and protect him wherever he went. (Gen 28:15)

Time to go; and the timing couldn't be better. Laban really loathed Jacob by now and I'm sure he didn't want his nephew working on the ranch any longer. A falling out isn't necessarily a bad thing. I often take one as a nudge that God wants me elsewhere. Sometimes you have to burn one bridge before crossing another.
[/COLOR][B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 31:4 . . Jacob had Rachel and Leah called to the field, where his flock was,[/B]

This next conversation was for the sisters' ears only so Jacob sprung an unannounced briefing out in the pastures where no one would overhear and go tattle to Laban. Jacob wants his wives' support for his next move; and he needs to find out how they feel about their dad and if they are ready to leave home and go out on their own. Rachel and Leah had never been away from Haran, nor away from their dad's influence before now; nor has anyone till now given them a say in their destiny.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 31:5-7 . . and said to them: I see that your father's manner toward me is not as it has been in the past. But the God of my father has been with me. As you know, I have served your father with all my might; but your father has cheated me, changing my wages time and again. God, however, would not let him do me harm.[/B]

No matter what Laban did in his nefarious efforts to thwart Jacob's prosperity, God would turn it to Jacob's advantage. He was indeed bullet proof and it must have frustrated his father-in-law to no end.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 31:8-9 . . If he said thus "The speckled shall be your wages" then all the flocks would drop speckled young. And if he said thus: "The streaked shall be your wages" then all the flocks would drop streaked young. God has taken away your father's livestock and given it to me.[/B]

Laban's blatant lack of scruples is beyond belief. He and Jacob had agreed that all the multicolored animals would be Jacob's. But whenever the purebred flock began producing too much of a certain strain--say, the streaked ones --then Laban would change his mind and say that Jacob could only keep the spotted ones.

Well, then God made the herd produce more spotted ones. And when Laban would change the arrangement yet again and say that Jacob couldn't have any more spotted ones and could only have the ones that were striped; then God would see to it that striped babies were born. So, no matter which way Laban went, Jacob always won.
[/COLOR][B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 31:10-12 . . Once, at the mating time of the flocks, I had a dream in which I saw that the he-goats mating with the flock were streaked, speckled, and mottled. And in the dream an angel of God said to me: Jacob! Here; I answered. And he said: Note well that all the he-goats which are mating with the flock are streaked, speckled, and mottled; for I have noted all that Laban has been doing to you.
There weren't really any streaked or speckled or mottled rams mating with the ewes because Laban's animals were all blue ribbon. But people in those days didn't know about recessive genes like we know about them today. So God showed Jacob, in a way that he could understand, that the animals doing the mating were the heterozygous ones. God, who can see past outside colors, and deep into genetic code, made sure the right ones were mating so Jacob's herd would increase to his advantage in spite of Laban's interference. (chuckle) Talk about a stacked deck!

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 31:13 . . I am the God of Beth-el, where you anointed a pillar and where you made a vow to me. Now, arise and leave this land and return to your native land.[/B]

I wonder if Jacob could have used that as an excuse to depart; viz: tell Laban that God appeared and ordered him to return to Canaan and make good on his vow? Moses tried something like that with Pharaoh (Ex 3:18). But Pharaoh still wouldn't let them go, so God had to destroy Egypt to make him comply.

I seriously doubt that Laban would've ever let Jacob go on religious grounds. It's possible that's why Jacob sneaked away: to avoid a violent confrontation with his father-in-law that could lead to Laban's death. Leah and Rachel might have trouble dealing with that.

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