A Daily Genesis

Genesis 31:33-41

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 31:33-35 . . So Laban went into Jacob's tent and Leah's tent and the tents of the two maidservants; but he did not find them. Leaving Leah's tent, he entered Rachel's tent.

. . . Rachel, meanwhile, had taken the idols and placed them in the camel cushion and sat on them; and Laban rummaged through the tent without finding them. For she said to her father: Let not my lord take it amiss that I cannot rise before you, for the period of women is upon me. Thus he searched, but could not find the household idols.[/B]

Camel cushions were a saddle and basket assembly upon which passengers rode the beasts. Rachel feigned menstrual difficulties to throw her dad off track. (She may indeed have actually been in her period at the time. If not, then Jacob himself would have suspected she was concealing something.) You've got to hand it to Rachel. Considering the stakes, she was one cool lady under fire. Well; that was indeed one time that what some women deem "the curse" came in very handy.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 31:36-37 . . Now Jacob became incensed and took up his grievance with Laban. Jacob spoke up and said to Laban: What is my crime, what is my guilt that you should pursue me? You rummaged through all my things; what have you found of all your household objects? Set it here, before my kin and yours, and let them decide between us two.[/B]

It's a pity Jacob didn't have a force of armed men at his disposal like grandpa Abraham did at one time. Jacob and his ranch hands were pastoral men, totally untrained for war, and certainly not prepared to deal with a bully like Laban. When people are unarmed, and unskilled in warfare, they are easy prey, and might just as well kiss their human rights good-bye.

There are those who yearn for peace at any price. But freedom is not free. In this evil world; freedom is a priceless treasure retained only by those with enough mettle to defend for it.

Jacob endured countless indignities at the hands of his father-in-law, which he suffered in silence for many years. All the pent up emotion which he restrained for so long finally poured out in an unfettered tirade. Jacob demanded, in the witness of the kin they both had in common, to justify such a hot pursuit to catch him before he reached home with what was, in every way, rightfully his own private property. Laban could only maintain an embarrassed silence as Jacob spoke.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 31:38a . .These twenty years I have spent in your service, your ewes and she-goats never miscarried,[/B]

That is an incredible record. A certain number of still births are to be expected in any herd. But they never occurred because Jacob was gentle: he never whipped the animals, nor drove and fatigued Laban's herds like some overly zealous, insensitive shepherds might do; especially with flocks that belong to someone else and are not their own. And plus, Laban knew very well himself from divination, that Jacob's god ever watched over the pregnant animals so Laban could prosper under Jacob's care.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 31:38b . . nor did I feast on rams from your flock.[/B]

It was a shepherd's right to feed himself with meat from a flock he was hired to tend. But Jacob never exercised that right.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 31:39 . .That which was torn by beasts I never brought to you; I myself made good the loss; you exacted it of me, whether snatched by day or snatched by night.[/B]

If Jacob had but brought the remains in to show Laban, it would have would cleared him of any suspicion of negligence in guarding the herds from predators. But by not bringing them in, he automatically took the blame for their loss and paid for them out of his own pocket rather than make Laban absorb the loss. Why Jacob did that I don't know because he sure didn't have to. All he had to do to prove to Laban that he was there on the job guarding the herd from predators, was to demonstrate that he drove them away before they could finish eating their prey. Only a man truly looking out for the best interests of his master would ever do what Jacob did.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 31:40 . . Often, scorching heat ravaged me by day and frost by night; and sleep fled from my eyes.[/B]

Pastoral life takes its toll on men. Just look at some who have been ranching and farming for a number of years. They are old way before their time. The sun and the elements give them shoe leather faces lined with deep creases. Jacob, by the way, was at least 95 at this time and probably looked 150 after all those years out on the range with his father Isaac's herds, and later; his uncle Laban's.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 31:41 . . Of the twenty years that I spent in your household, I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flocks; and you changed my wages time and again.[/B]

Jacob reminded Laban of his service of twenty years, fourteen of which had been simply for the privilege of marrying his daughters. He didn't mention Laban's deception (probably for Leah's sake), which had doubled the length of his service in return for a woman he didn't want in the first place.

In spite of all the good, of all his conscientious service, and of all the charity that Jacob had lavished undeserving upon Laban, the man revised his agreement with Jacob ten times in an evil-minded attempt to garner all the gains for himself and to prevent his own nephew from prospering. The man sure knew how to repay loyalty. Yeah-- right in the teeth. And in the end, he fully intended to send his nephew away totally empty handed-- if indeed he would even spare Jacob's life.

It would require a college degree in criminal psychology to understand what makes a man like Laban tick. He was really too messed up to comprehend. But it's obvious that Laban so hated Jacob that he couldn't stand letting him keep a single thing that once belonged to himself. You know, even if there were no hell, one would have to be constructed to quarantine people like Laban because there is nowhere else for them to go. The kingdom of God is a place of peace and kindness. If certain undesirables like Laban were allowed in the kingdom of God; in short order they'd turn it into another kingdom of men.

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