Laban Chases Jacob And Confronts Him

Camels may build up a pressure cooker of resentment toward human beings until the lid suddenly blows off and they go berserk. It is said that in Asia when a camel driver senses trouble, he gives his coat to the animal. Like workers who are reported to work off frustrations by bea … More

Resentment

Without telling Laban (vv. 20-21), Jacob, his wives and his chldren got on camels and left for his father, Isaac’s home in Canaan  (v. 17). He took with him all of his possessions he had gained and the livestock he had acquired (v. 18). Rachel even stole the household idols and took them with her (v. 19). When Laban arrived home from a three day sheep shearing trip he discovered that Jacob was gone (v. 22). He was furious to find that his daughters, his grandchildren, and all of Jacob’s vast holdings, which he had planned to siege, were also gone. He quickly gathered his forces and took off after Jacob in hot pursuit. It took Laban seven days to catch up to Jacob (v. 23). As soon as he spied Jacob he prepared for a violent onslaught the next day. But in a dream that night God told Laban not to harm Jacob (v, 24). Jacob had set up camp in the hill country of Gilead and Laban set up camp in another part of the hill (vv. 25-27). Instead Laban claimed that Jacob had robbed him of his gods (v. 30) and presented himself as a hurt father (v. 28) and baffled avenger (v. 29).

When Laban demanded that Jacob return the gods, Jacob put the death penalty on Rachael not knowing she had taken them (vv. 31-32). He told Laban to go ahead and search his tents which he did. Rachael sat on the gods so he did not find them (vv. 33-35). While Laban was making this search Jacob began to get angry. For years resentments had been building up in Jacob’s heart. There is no record that up to this point he had ever vented these grudges. But now after Laban had looked through all of his things and found nothing Jacob decided to give him a piece of his mind (vv. 36-42).

To make a long story short Jacob lost his temper and as usually happens in such cases he lost his testimony. Laban went back home bitter and convinced he had been cheated and deeply resentful toward the only believer he had ever known. It seems that Jacob finally began to understand that being deceptive so that he could receive God’s blessing never works. Instead, he began to trust God, which requires looking beyond what he could do to what God could do in and through him.

Application

The price for losing my temper and giving someone a verbal assault may cause this person and others under his influence to spend an eternity in Hell.  

Genesis 31:17-42 (English Standard Version)


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