Posted by: wwyeshua | April 10, 2014

LABAN AND JACOB – Genesis 30:25 – Chapter 31

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After Rachel had Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Release me from your services so I can go back to my own home where I was born.

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Let my wives and children go with me and I will be on my way. You know how much work I’ve done for you and how many goats and sheep you have now.”

“You have served me well,” Uncle Laban said. “Name your price, and I will pay it.”

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Jacob said, “I don’t want any of your money. I’ll tell you what. Let me care for your flocks a little bit longer. I’ll take every black lamb and every spotted, speckled or striped goat and separate them from the rest. Let them be my wages.”

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Ok that is fine with me said uncle Laban. But that same day he removed all the male goats that were streaked or spotted, and all the speckled or spotted female goats and all the dark-colored lambs. Then he gave them all to his sons and sent them far away. I guess he was trying to cheat Jacob from the agreement he had made to him.

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Jacob, however, continued to take care of Laban’s flock and he came up with and idea, that I am sure the Lord must have given him.

He took fresh-cut branches from poplar, almond and plane trees and made white stripes on them by peeling the bark and exposing the white inner wood of the branches. Then he placed the peeled branches in all the watering troughs, so that they would be directly in front of the flocks when they came to drink.

Taking care of Laban's sheep

And after this they had babies that were streaked or speckled or spotted. So Jacob set them apart. This way he was forming his own flock and separated the others for Laban, just as they had agreed.

Jacob put the branches in the troughs in front of the strong animals; but if the animals were weak, he took the branches away. This way, the weak animals were for Laban and the strong ones for Jacob.

Spotty and stripy sheep and goats

In this way Jacob grew exceedingly prosperous and came to own large flocks, and female and male servants, and camels and donkeys.

Now Jacob noticed that Laban’s attitude toward him was not what it had been. This was probably because Laban’s sons were talking about how Jacob’s flock was growing in numbers.

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One day the Lord said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”

So Jacob told Rachel and Leah to come out to the fields where his flocks were. And he said to them, “I see that your father’s attitude toward me is not what it was before, but the God of my father has been with me. You know that I’ve worked for your father with all my strength, yet your father has cheated me by changing my wages ten times. However, God has not allowed him to harm me. When your father said: ‘The speckled ones will be your wages,’ then all the flocks gave birth to speckled young; and when he changed his mind and said, ‘The streaked ones will be your wages,’ then all the flocks bore streaked young. So God has taken away your father’s livestock and has given them to me.

The angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob.’ I answered, ‘Here I am.’ I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and where you made a vow to me. Now leave this land at once and go back to your native land.’

Then Rachel and Leah replied, “So do whatever God has told you.”

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So they packed all their belongings and ran away from Laban. Jacob put his children and his wives on camels, and he drove all his livestock ahead of him, along with all the goods he had accumulated in Paddan Aram, to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.

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It was not until the third day Laban was told that Jacob had fled. Taking his relatives with him, he pursued Jacob for seven days and caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead.

God, however, came to Laban in a dream at night and said to him, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.”

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Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country of Gilead when Laban caught up to him, and Laban and his relatives camped there too.

Then Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done? You’ve deceived me, and you’ve carried off my daughters like captives in war. Why did you run off secretly and deceive me? Why didn’t you tell me, so I could send you away with joy and singing to the music of timbrels and harps? You didn’t even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters goodbye. You have done a foolish thing.

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I have the power to harm you; but last night the God of your father said to me, ‘Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.’ Now you have gone off because you longed to return to your father’s house. But why did you steal my gods?” 

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Jacob answered Laban, “I was afraid, because I thought you would take your daughters away from me by force. But if you find anyone who has your gods, that person shall not live. In the presence of our relatives, see for yourself whether there is anything of yours here with me; and if so, take it.” Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the gods.

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So Laban went into Jacob’s tent and into Leah’s tent and into the tent of the two female servants, but he found nothing. After he came out of Leah’s tent, he entered Rachel’s tent. Now Rachel had taken the household gods and put them inside her camel’s saddle and was sitting on them. Laban searched through everything in the tent but found nothing.

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Now Jacob was angry and took Laban to task. “What is my crime?” he asked Laban. “How have I wronged you that you hunt me down? Now that you have searched through all my goods, what have you found that belongs to your household? Put it here in front of your relatives and mine, and let them judge between the two of us.

“I have been with you for twenty years now. Your sheep and goats have become many. I served you well for all these years.

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 and you changed my wages ten times. If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, you would surely have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen my hardship and the toil of my hands, and last night he rebuked you.”

Laban answered Jacob, “The women are my daughters, the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks. All you see is mine. Yet what can I do today about these daughters of mine, or about the children they have borne? Come now, let’s make a covenant, you and I, and let it serve as a witness between us.”

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So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar. He said to his relatives, “Gather some stones.” So they took stones and piled them in a heap. Laban said, “This stack is a witness between you and me today.” That is why it was called Galeed. It was also called Mizpah, because he said, “May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other. If you mistreat my daughters or if you take any wives besides my daughters, even though no one is with us, remember that God is a witness between you and me.”

Laban also said to Jacob, “Here are these stones, and here is this pillar I have set up between you and me. This stack of stones is a witness, and this pillar is a witness, that I will not go past these stones to your side to harm you and that you will not go past these stones and pillar to my side to harm me. May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.”

So Jacob took an oath in the name of the Fear of his father Isaac. He offered a sacrifice there in the hill country and invited his relatives to a meal. After they had eaten, they spent the night there.

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Early the next morning Laban kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then he left and returned home.

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Goodbye, until next time; when we will learn about what happened when Jacob wrestles with God.

Until then, remember to say your prayers obey your mom and dad and do not forget to go to church and Sunday school next week.  

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ENGLISH

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