Laban Pursues Jacob
22 And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob was fled.
23 And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days’ journey; and they overtook him in the mount Gilead.
24 And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said unto him, Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.
25 Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mount: and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mount of Gilead.
26 And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou done, that thou hast stolen away unawares to me, and carried away my daughters, as captives taken with the sword?
27 Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp?
28 And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? thou hast now done foolishly in so doing.
29 It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt: but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.
30 And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father’s house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?
31 And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid: for I said, Peradventure thou wouldest take by force thy daughters from me.
32 With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them.
K.J.V. Bible Text
Laban learned of Jacob’s departure three days after he left. Right away, he gathered up his relatives and pursued Jacob for seven days, catching up with him in the hill country of Gilead. There God came to him in a dream and told him not to say anything good or bad to Jacob.
Laban asked Jacob why he had deceived him by carrying off his daughters. He asked why he sneaked off. He asked why he didn’t tell say he was leaving so they could have music and feasting at a going away party. He complained that he had not even been allowed to say goodbye to his daughters and his grandchildren.
Laban told Jacob that he was able to harm him but did not because the God of Jacob’s father had come to him in the night and told him to be careful what he said.
Jacob’s reply, that he was afraid Laban would take his daughters away from him if Laban had known he was planning to leave with them, has the ring of truth. Whether or not Jacob feared that Laban had enough power to overcome him, he did not prevaricate; he admitted to sneaking away and gave a reasonable explanation for doing so.
Jacob did not know Rachel, the wife he loved the most, had taken the gods from her father’s household and when Laban asked why they had been stolen Jacob told Laban that if they were found in his encampment the person that had them “shall not live.”
I am looking forward to tomorrow’s reading to learn if Rachel’s deed is discovered. I also wonder, as did Laban, why Rachel took those gods. Could they have meant something to her as well? Did she cling to old ways and have less faith in the God of Jacob’s fathers than he did?
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