The flight of Jacob (Gen 31:1-31:21)

“Now Jacob heard that the sons of Laban were saying, ‘Jacob has taken all that was our father’s wealth.  He has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father.’  Jacob saw that Laban did not regard him as favorably as he did before.  Then Yahweh said to Jacob, ‘Return to the land of your ancestors and to your kindred, and I will be with you.’  So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah into the field where his flock was, and said to them, ‘I see that your father does not regard me as favorably as he did before.  But the God of my father has been with me.  You know that I have served your father with all my strength.  Yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times, but God did not permit him to harm me.  If he said, `The speckled shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore speckled.  If he said, `The striped shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore striped.  Thus God has taken away the livestock of your father, and given them to me.”

The sons of Laban were mad that Jacob had taken all the wealth of Laban and even Laban was looking less favorable towards him.  Yahweh appeared to Jacob and told him to return to the land of his ancestors because Yahweh would be with him.  Jacob called his two wives into the field and said that their father had been unfair to him, since their father had changed his wages ten times.  God has taken away Laban’s livestock and given it to Jacob with all the speckled and stripped animals.

“During the mating of the flock, I once had a dream in which I looked up and saw that the male goats that leaped upon the flock were striped, spotted, and mottled.  Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, `Jacob,’ and I said, `Here I am!’  He said, `Look up and see that all the goats that leap upon the flock are striped, speckled, and mottled.   I have seen all that Laban is doing to you.  I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me.  Now leave this land at once, and return to the land of your birth.’  Then Rachel and Leah answered him, ‘Is there any portion or inheritance left to us in our father’s house?  Are we not regarded by him as foreigners?  He has sold us, and he has been using up the money given for us.  All the property that God has taken away from our father belongs to us and to our children.  Now then, do whatever God has said to you.’”

Jacob told of his dream about the male speckled goats that were attacking the rest of the flock.  Then the angel of God appeared to him and said that he was the God of Bethel, where he made a pillar and vow. Jacob responded with the common theme response ‘Here I am.’  Then God told him to leave this land at once and return to the land of his birth.  Both Rachel and Leah, although they legally were part of Laban’s property, agreed to do whatever God wanted.  They also felt mistreated by their father.

“So Jacob arose, and set his children and his wives on camels.  He drove away all his livestock, all the property that he had gained, the livestock in his possession that he had acquired in Paddan-aram, to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.  Now Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel stole her father’s household gods. Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean, in that he did not tell him that he intended to flee.  He fled with all that he had, staring out he crossed the Euphrates, and set his face toward the hill country of Gilead.”

Thus, Jacob got his children, his wives, and all his property and livestock to go back to the land of Canaan and his father Isaac.  For some reason, Rachel stole her father’s household gods.  Obviously they were not monotheists. Jacob did not tell Laban that he was leaving at he set out crossing the Euphrates River.

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