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Genesis - Chapter 31

Bible Study Notes

Genesis 31:1-3 Laban’s sons now accuse Jacob of ripping off their father Laban. Their father’s wealth was their inheritance and it has dwindled to nothing. Things were looking bad. The Lord stepped in and told Jacob it was time to go home.

Genesis 31:9-13 Jacob credits the Lord with taking away from Laban and giving it all to him. God then reveals Himself to Jacob in a dream showing him that He was involved in the breeding promise to ensure Jacob’s success.

Genesis 31:14-16 Leah and Rachel agree to willingly leave with Jacob knowing that Laban cheated them also. Besides they thought, the Lord has given everything from Laban to them anyway. So let’s hit the road! They expressed in Jacob’s God.

Genesis 31:17-21 As they prepared to leave, Rachel stole her father’s household gods. Jacob somehow (not known how) tricked Laban by not telling him he was going to flee while Laban left for 3 days to shear his sheep.

Notes: Perhaps Rachel believed that this would prevent her father from using their power to overcome Jacob. Possibly she thought that they would bring her good fortune. Maybe she wanted them only for their inherent value, given that they may have been made of costly meta, or they perhaps guaranteed fertility for the bearer.

Genesis 31:22-24 After 3 days, Laban learned that Jacob fled, took some servants and went after him. After 7 days in pursuit, the Lord appeared to Jacob and warned him not to say anything, good or bad, to Jacob. (Meaning in a way that would force Jacob to return to Haran)

Genesis 31:25-27  Laban confronted Jacob about secretly fleeing as if there could possibly be any reason to leave in such away. Trying to make himself look innocent, he had the audacity to say that he would have sent them away with a party.

Genesis 31:28 Laban had the nerve to claim that Jacob’s children were his own!

Genesis 31:30-32 Laban said he understood why Jacob left, but did he have to steal his gods? Jacob explained why he fled in secret in fear that if he announced his departure, Laban would have used force to prevent it. In regards to the gods being stolen, whoever was found with the gods would die.

Genesis 31:33-35 Laban searched through Jacob’s good, but could not find his gods. He would have found them if he searched under Rachel, but Rachel said she was having her monthly visitation, so Laban left the tent without fully searching it.

Notes: One dishonest deed needed further dishonesty and trickery to cover it up.

Genesis 31:36-42 Jacob could not take it anymore and let Laban have it. He expressed in innocence in the total of 20 years he was him, and exposed how he knew Laban tried to rip him off constantly. If Laban felt he was ruined, it wasn’t by Jacob, but by the Righteous Lord, Who rebuked Laban and came to Jacob’s rescue.

Notes: We see here that Jacob worked for an additional six years to receive his wages in the unborn animals, and every time God blessed Jacob, Laban tried 10 times to change his wages to work the wealth in his favor.

Genesis 31:43-44 Laban still insisted that his daughters were his, all the children, and all the flock, (Jacob did arrive 20 years ago with nothing is his reasoning), but he couldn’t do a thing about it for the Lord was on Jacob’s side. Apparently, Laban does not agree with God’s judgment.

Genesis 31:44-49 Laban allows Jacob to go, but he wants to make a covenant with Jacob that he will treat his daughter’s right and not take additional wives.

Genesis 31:50-54 The pillar by Jacob and heap of stones by Laban was a witness to the covenant and a boundary that neither would cross ever again to prevent harm. Laban called on Abraham’s God and Abraham’s brother Nahor’s god to judge between them. Jacob swore the oath and sacrificed an animal by the oath.

Notes: God has been faithful to his promises to Jacob! Jacob’s single stone stands in marked contrast to the heap of stones set up by Laban and his relatives. Jacob’s monotheistic faith is set alongside the polytheism of Laban.

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