The deal between Laban and Jacob, a mound of stones from Genesis 31:43-55 and questions

The peace of God

In verse 43, the anger of Laban had faded, and I think that the peace of YaHaWaH had dawned on Laban, Jacob and all the people gathered around them. Laban said that everything was his, he didn’t mean that he owed everything, he just wanted to express that he was the source, that they all were his dear family. That Jacobs’s sons and daughter came from his daughters and their maids, former the maids of Laban, and that all the flocks of Jacob came from his flocks. I think at this moment the love of God governed Laban and he included Jacob and all his in his family, Laban wanted friendship.

To climb up and watch from there

Both Laban and Jacob wanted peace between them and made a deal not to harm each other, however, they didn’t trust one another to mutually keep the deal, they needed gods to vindicate it and protect it in the future. Therefor they heaped up a huge mound of stones for the gods to climb up there and from the top of the mound be able to watch over the covenant to be kept by both parties.

Three different gods

Laban trusted in several gods, but he also respected the God of Abraham, Jacob’s God as we can see in verse 49 were Laban calls God by his name YaHaWaH and asked Him to watch over both. In verse 53 however Laban calls on three different gods, first the God of Abraham, the god of Nahor, his grandfather and then on the god of Terah his great grandfather.

The Fear of Isaac

Nevertheless, Jacob didn’t accept these false gods, swore only by one God, the real God, and called Him “The Fear of Isaac”. Jacob knew his God by the way his father Isaac feared Him and now by the way God had vindicated him for 20 years in Haran and here protected him in the hill country of Gilead. Jacob knew that this God was holy, mighty and reliable. Wither he thought YaHaWaH was the only god I cannot say; however, Jacob had experienced that his God was superior to all the other gods if any.  

Questions

  1. How many gods do we have?
  2. How do you know, which god is your god?
  3. How can we know God?

Jacob had been 14 years with Laban, Laban tries to cheat Jacob again, the deal. From Genesis 30:25-36 commented by ASV and questions

No more dept. ready to bargain

Now Jacob had been with Laban for 14 years, he had labored for both Leah and Rachel, he bought Rachel on credit, and however, now she belonged to him, fully paid for. Jacob wanted to go home to Canaan to his family there. Laban however wanted him to stay and pasture his goats and sheep. Nevertheless, this time he had to give Jacob salary and asked Jacob what he wanted for the work.

Nothing

This deal between Laban and Jacob is not easy to understand, and Hebrew is not always easy to translate, however if we get the keywords it could be done. Jacob answered Laban, “You shall not give me anything. But if you will do this one thing for me I will again pasture and keep your flock:” This was the essence of the agreement; that Laban shouldn’t give Jacob anything, only agree and do what he proposed.

Greedy

Jacob wanted to separate all the not pure white goats and sheep and give them to Laban and that was what they did. Laban took all the speckled, spotted and dark among the sheep and goats and gave them to his sons. Laban left with Jacob only the pure white goats and sheep. For Jacob to earn salary those white goats and sheep had to produce “not white” offspring, Laban knew that this was impossible, he was a greedy human and the deal pleased him.

Hard work for nothing

Laban knew that Jacobs God was YaHaWaH and that this God blessed him because of Jacob, Laban believed in many gods, but those gods hadn’t blessed him as Jacob’s God did. Laban used God’s name, however he didn’t know Him, Laban was happy with the deal to give Jacob “nothing” for the hard work, as it was to pasture goats and sheep in all kinds of wetter. 

Timing

However, God had prepared Jacob for this deal; God had given him 4 wives, 11 sons, and one daughter, some of them old enough to help looking after the flocks. Jacob had been patient and understood God’s timing, the wives worked in the camp, looking after the small ones and made the food ready when Jacob and the boys came back from the field, everything was in good balance, and Jacob was prepared to receive from God.

Questions

  1. Are you ready to receive from God?
  2. Does the preparation of being ready take time?
  3. Do you detect what God is doing for you?
  4. When you ask God for help and He helps you, do you end up saying, “look I did it” or “we made it”?

ASV notes on Genesis 24:28-54 and questions

Eliezer, Rebekah and her family

Laban

Looks like Laban Rebekah’s brother was the leading person in the family, and when he saw the ring and the bracelets on his sister and heard the story about Eliezer seeking a bride for Isaak. Laban understood this was the finger of the LORD and on the camels, there were also material things of high value, quickly he prepared the house for the visitors and the stall for the camels and then he run to meet this person with all the treasures.

Things of value

Laban found Eliezer, his men and the camels at the spring; they didn’t follow Rebekah they waited in faith for “the LORD to invite them” and Laban came and did and they followed him and entered his house and met the family of Bethuel the son of Nahor and Milcah. Laban wanted to impress the visitors, he gave all the men water to wash their feet and when they recovered from the journey Laban unloaded all the ten camels, and I am sure he tried to discover all the things of value there.

First things first

When Eliezer had washed his feet and recovered, food was set in front of him. I am sure that Eliezer was hungry, but he was a faithful servant and his heart forced him to put his duty before the desire of his flesh, he said “I will not eat until I have stated my business” and Laban the “leader” said “Speak on”. Bethuel was present, but it seems, as Laban was the man in the house and together with his mother decided there. Then Eliezer told them who he was “I am Abraham’s servant”. Eliezer was proud of being the servant of Abraham, not because of Abraham but because of Abraham’s great God YaHaWaH; “The LORD has greatly blessed my master, and he has become great; He has given him flocks and herds, and silver and gold, and servants and maids, and camels and donkeys.” According to Eliezer, everything that Abraham had “The LORD” had given him.

YHWH

“The LORD” here has been translated from the Hebrew word YHWH which is the name of God, “The LORD” is a title not a name, this translation in many Bibles is not bad, it is wrong. God wants a personal relationship with you, He is using your name when speaking to you, and you can use His name when speaking to Him.

Can lift you up

Then Eliezer told them the about Abraham, Sarah and Isaac and about his meeting with Rebekah. Eliezer had his faith in the God of Abraham, and told everything exactly as it was and happened. When you have your faith in God and not in people, you feel free to speak the truth, you don’t have to change stories, you don’t have to glorify yourself, you don’t have to talk people down, you don’t have to impress with lies, and God can lift you up when your faith is in Him.

Witnesses

Then after that, Eliezer had told the family of Nahor and Milcah that he wanted to take Rebekah with him as a wife for Isaac. He said; “So now if you are going to show kindness and truth to my master tell me; and if not, tell me, that I may turn to the right or to the left” Eliezer in his story had emphasized God as the source to all that had happened and that God had picked Rebekah as wife for Isaac. Moreover, those who heard the story from the mouth of Eliezer also knew God by the name YHWH, and when Bethuel and Laban agreed to Rebekah going with Eliezer the huge family of Nahor and Milcah were all witnesses.

The worship belongs to God

Bethuel and Laban, his son said; “The matter has come from the LORD; so we dare not speak bad or good. Rebekah is before you; take her and go, and let her be the wife of your master’s son, as the LORD has spoken.” The spirit of God was in the air and affected all in the house, and the family promised Rebekah to be the wife of Isaac and all the family were present and heard it. Eliezer could have showed appreciation for Bethuel and Laban, hugged them, and praised them, but again Eliezer bowed himself to the ground and worshipped YaHaWaH, the great God of Abraham.

Gifts

Then it was time to show thankfulness to Rebekah and her family; “Then the servant brought out jewelry of silver, jewelry of gold, and articles of clothing, and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave precious things to her brother and her mother” Again it seems that Laban and his mother was the leading persons there.

The Spirit had left

Then finally it was time for food and rest: “Then he and the men who were with him ate and drank and spent the night. In the morning when they got up, Eliezer said, “Now send me back to my master” After a good night’s sleep Eliezer got up in the morning and the only thing on his mind was to fulfill the mission that Abraham gave him. He reminded Laban and his mother of their promise and asked them to send him back to his master. However, the power of the Spirit of God was not there like the day before.  

Questions

  1. How would you describe the faith of Eliezer?
  2. What does your heart look like?