A Daily Genesis

Genesis 31:42-49

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 31:42 . . Had not the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, been with me, you would have sent me away empty-handed. But God took notice of my plight and the toil of my hands, and He gave judgment last night.[/B]

Anyone there that day, who had the slightest conscience at all, must have looked upon Laban as one would look upon the most crooked, and upon the most dishonest, unscrupulous, and unthankful of men with utter disgust. Jacob told it like it was, and no one objected; and no one stood up to speak in Laban's defense.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 31:43a . .Then Laban spoke up and said to Jacob: The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks; all that you see is mine.[/B]

Oh, give it up already!! Someone really needed to teach that communistic crumb some principles related to the transfer of property. The girls were no longer his daughters. They were married women: one flesh with a man who worked very hard to both earn them and deserve them. The children were fathered by Jacob, not by Laban. And the flocks were Jacob's by right, not by loan nor by theft, nor by gift, nor by fraud. They were his honest compensation; the very wages that Laban himself had agreed upon.

Everything on that mountain pertaining to Jacob was personal property and Laban had no right to lay claim to any of it. He was just very lucky that Jacob was not of the kind to show him the business end of a shotgun and point him north, back the way he came.

When Laban finally had an opportunity to respond to Jacob's outburst, he couldn't say anything at all by way of denial to Jacob's claims and charges. Instead; he tried to divert attention away from the embarrassing facts by changing the subject. Though even himself knew very well he was in the wrong; a conceited man like Laban just can't bring himself to make public acknowledgement of his guilt. People like him typically try whatever means they can muster to shift the blame away from themselves; or at least shift the attention away from their own culpability to whatever real or imagined grievances they can find in others.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 31:43b . .Yet what can I do now about my daughters or the children they have borne?[/B]

His question was just a smoke screen. Laban as much as said: It would be contrary to all human sensibilities to do anything to bring grief to my own flesh and blood. How could you possibly think I am capable of such a thing?

Laban's lack of integrity is almost beyond belief. He followed Jacob for seven days and at least three hundred miles for the specific purpose of murdering him and taking all the herds and all the people back to Paddan-aram. That wouldn't have caused his kin grief? --to murder his grandkids' dad, and to murder Leah's and Rachel's husband?

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 31:44 . . Come, then, let us make a pact, you and I, that there may be a witness between you and me.[/B]

Instead of ending Jacob's life, which was no doubt his original intent, Laban now proposes a very noble settlement-- a gentleman's non-aggression pact between himself and Jacob.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 31:45-46 . .Thereupon Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar. And Jacob said to his kinsmen: Gather stones. So they took stones and made a mound; and they partook of a meal there by the mound.[/B]

Pillars were common in those days as watchers --gods who intervene in the affairs of men. (cf. Gen 28:22, Dan 4:17)

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 31:47a . . Laban named it Yegar-sahadutha,[/B]

[I]Yegar-sahadutha[/I] is Aramaic, Laban's tongue, and means: heap of the testimony, or cairn of witness.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 31:47b . . but Jacob named it Gal-ed.[/B]

[I]Gal-ed[/I] is Hebrew and means pretty much the same thing.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 31:48-49 . . And Laban declared: This mound is a witness between you and me this day. That is why it was named Gal-ed; And [it was called] Mizpah, because he said: May the Lord watch between you and me, when we are out of sight of each other.[/B]

[I]Mizpah [/I]means watchtower. Laban wasn't the one who called it Mizpah. It went on to become known as that because of his pronouncement.

Did Laban mean to imply that Jacob needed watching? For those twenty years in Laban's employ, what had Jacob ever done on the sly to harm Laban? Doesn't Jacob's sterling twenty-year employment record count for anything? But Laban just can't stop himself from denigrating his son-in-law right up to the bitter end of their association.

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