A Daily Genesis

Genesis 31:29b-32

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 31:29b . . but the God of your father[/B]

The "god of your father" is all the same as saying your family's god. There a humorous difference between Jacob's family god and Laban's family gods. Jacob's family god can't be kidnapped and carried around in a saddle bag.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 31:29c . . said to me last night: Beware of attempting anything with Jacob, good or bad.[/B]

That was a no idle threat and I think the man knew it. If Laban tried to persuade Jacob to return to Paddan-aram; he would die. If he harmed Jacob; he would die. If he attempted to take the girls, the grandkids, and all the flocks; he would die.

In other words, God told that man not to interfere with Jacob's life in any way at all or He would give him good reason to regret it. From now on, Jacob, and all that pertained to him, was off limits-- including Laban's ex-daughters, who were both married women; old enough to be on their own, and completely out their dad's jurisdiction. When they were girls living at home under their father's roof; then their dad could rule them. But married women are ruled by their husbands.

"your husband . . . he will rule over you." (Gen 3:16)

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 31:30a . .Very well, you had to leave because you were longing for your father's house.[/B]

Wrong! Jacob had to leave because God issued him marching orders. And Jacob really needed to go anyway. Life with uncle Laban was unbearable. It was humiliating, and it was suffocating. Jacob could never achieve his greatest potential with a man like that always interfering and controlling his destiny.

Leaving Laban's ranch was in truth, an act of self defense; not just for Jacob, but for Leah and Rachel too. Their dad ruled them from the day they were born. That's okay for minor children, but it is not an okay thing for married women. Married women need to be royalty in a home of their own, and be allowed to do their own thinking and to make their own decisions-- Princesses Of Quite A Lot, and Queens Of Everything.

I've heard it said that no one is truly a failure when they can always serve as a bad example. (chuckle) Sort of like ex drunks, smokers, and drug addicts. Well . . a man like Laban is a perfect example of a parent from hell. He's probably the worst case scenario there is. Hopefully most of us will never have to deal with an in-law like him.

But there are only two ways to deal with parents and in-laws from hell: 1) stand up for your rights, and 2) get as far away as possible where their meddling tendrils can't mess up your life. Jacob and the girls did both; and Yhvh's providence was right there on hand to make sure they succeeded.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 31:30 . . but why did you steal my gods?[/B]

Laban accused Jacob of taking the gods without even first inquiring if he actually did. In the American system of criminal justice, a person is assumed innocent until proven guilty; and the burden of proof is upon the accuser. Not only is that a very good principle of civic government, but it is also an excellent social skill and will go a long way towards nurturing friendships.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 31:31 . . Jacob answered Laban, saying: I was afraid because I thought you would take your daughters from me by force.[/B]

Jacob was probably right about that. He worked for Laban twenty years and suspected the old boy would never let Jacob take the girls away from Paddan-aram. Laban was definitely one of those over-my-dead-body kinds of people. With them; it's not a matter of doing what's right and fair all around; it's always a matter of who's going to win.

But it's doubtful Laban would've traveled all that way just to retrieve his daughters or his gods: I've no doubt that what he really wanted was Jacob's livestock.
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[/COLOR][B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 31:32 . . But anyone with whom you find your gods shall not remain alive! In the presence of our kinsmen, point out what I have of yours and take it. Jacob, of course, did not know that Rachel had stolen them.[/B]

It might appear that Jacob spoke rashly. But in that day, the code of Hammurabi stipulated that the theft of temple gods was a death offense. Apparently, it was truly a very serious crime in the culture of that day to steal household gods as well.

[B][SIZE=1]NOTE[/SIZE]:[/B] The Code of Hammurabi dates back to about 1772 BC. Precisely when Jacob was born has not yet been accurately established. Some feel his birth took place sometime between 2000 and 1700 BC.

Anyway; if Laban had been disposed to honor Hammurabi's code, then he wouldn't have been so quick to condemn Jacob. But the man was a code unto himself; which has been pretty obvious all along.

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