Laban And Jacob Make Peace

Some mistakenly think that they are free to sin, just so long as they aren’t hypocrites about it, that the worst form of sin is hypocrisy. Often one hears it said, “I know I’m not perfect, but at least I’m not hypocritical about it.” A few years ago in Texas there we … More

Hypocrite

Laban had nothing to say about the charges that Jacob had just leveled against him. He knew only too well how much he really owed to Jacob but had no intentions of admitting any wrong (v. 43). God’s warning to Laban in his dream and Jacob’s forceful defense made Laban know he was beaten, but he still tried to make everyone think he was a peacemaker. Everyone gathered stones and ate a meal together as a symbol of the agreement they had reached (vv. 44-45). Eating a meal together was an Eastern custom when creating a binding agreement (v. 46). The pile of stones was to be a witness to the agreement they were making (vv. 47-50).

This narrative concludes with an agreement between Jacob and Laban. Just as Isaac parted ways with Abimelech by entering into a covenant (Gen. 26:28-31), Jacob and Laban parted ways with a covenant. Jacob responded by calling all of the people to join in building a permanent memorial to the agreement about to be made. To Laban, this pile of stones meant that neither he or Jacob would cross this boundary mark in the future to annoy each other (vv. 51-53). It also stipulated that Jacob would not harm Laban’s daughters.

To Jacob, the memorial was not a boundary but a blessing; it was a good-bye to the past rather than a guarantee for the future. Jacob arranged for a covenant meal to seal this agreement (v. 54). This entire event reveals what a big hypocrite Laban was and what spiritual qualities Jacob had. With this event over Laban made preparations to leave. It is interesting to note that he did not embrace Jacob but with a bitter spirit embraced his daughters and his grandchildren and “returned to his place (v. 55). There is no more mention of Laban, and this records the last contact the patriarchs had with their homeland and relatives.

Application

Selfish interests not only harm my relationship with God but can bring divisions in our family that will never be healed. I must never allow anything in my life to hinder my relationship with other members of my family?  

Genesis 31:43-55 (English Standard Version)


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