Summary: God sends Jacob away from Laban and proves He will take care of Him in every situation until the promise is fulfilled.
We left off our study in Genesis with Laban and Jacob struggling to have the upper hand in the livestock. Jacob worked for the rare speckled goats and the black sheep and Laban agreed until most of the flock was born that way. Laban changed the deal to work in his own favor but the Lord changed the color of the goats to bless Jacob, and this flip-flop scenario continued until Jacob’s fortunes were increased and Laban’s dwindled to the point that Laban and his sons were angry:
And he heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father’s; and of that which was our father’s hath he gotten all this glory. 2And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before.
They blamed Jacob as they watched their inheritance slip away and they started giving him the cold shoulder. It makes me think of Ecclesiastes 2:26—God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God.
3And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.
No doubt the first person Jacob thought of was Esau.
4And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock, 5And said unto them, I see your father’s countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me. 6And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. 7And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me. 8If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstraked. 9Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me. 10And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled. 11And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I. 12And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. 13I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred. 14And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father’s house? 15Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money. 16For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is ours, and our children’s: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do.
Apparently Laban has spent all the dowry money and the daughters sense no need or benefit in staying. Laban’s money is now Jacob’s and the only remnant of their former fortunes. If Jacob’s God wants him to move then so be it; they’re ready to go.
17Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels; 18And he carried away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten in Padanaram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan. 19And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father’s. 20And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled. 21So he fled with all that he had; and he rose up, and passed over the river, and set his face toward the mount Gilead.
Jacob made his getaway when Laban wasn’t looking because he was afraid Laban would take his wives (:31). But God had promised to make Jacob’s descendants like the dust of the earth (28:14) and Jacob could have leaned on this knowing that Laban was powerless and there was no need for deception.
We’re told that Rachel stole the household gods. No one really knows why but I have a feeling it has to do with their monetary value even if it isn’t much.
Well, the group makes their getaway, but it isn’t long before Laban hears about it: