43 And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and these cattle are my cattle, and all that thou seest is mine: and what can I do this day unto these my daughters, or unto their children which they have born?
44 Now therefore come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee.
45 And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar.
46 And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap: and they did eat there upon the heap.
47 And Laban called it Jegarsahadutha: but Jacob called it Galeed.
48 And Laban said, This heap is a witness between me and thee this day. Therefore was the name of it called Galeed;
49 And Mizpah; for he said, The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.
50 If thou shalt afflict my daughters, or if thou shalt take other wives beside my daughters, no man is with us; see, God is witness betwixt me and thee.
51 And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold this pillar, which I have cast betwixt me and thee:
52 This heap be witness, and this pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm.
53 The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us. And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac.
54 Then Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount, and called his brethren to eat bread: and they did eat bread, and tarried all night in the mount.
55 And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them: and Laban departed, and returned unto his place.
K.J.V. Bible Text
Laban was apparently a bit blustery about the situation. Beginning in verse 43 of Genesis Chapter 31, he is insisting that the women are his daughters and the children are his. Surely however, he recognized that Jacob had a right to both of his wives because he had worked to earn them and to the children that had been born in his own household. It must also have been apparent to Laban that his daughters preferred to go with their husband rather than remain with him.
So Laban suggested a covenant with Jacob that would allow Jacob to take his household and go back to the land of his father. He piled up stones in a heap and Jacob and Laban ate there together. Then Laban called upon the Lord to watch between him and Jacob and to keep them apart from one another. He also told Jacob that God would be a witness of his treatment of his daughters and told him to take no other wives.
The place where they set up the pillar and made this covenant was named Galeed and also called Mizpah.
Jacob accepted the covenant and took an oath in the name of the Lord, the Fear of his father Isaac.
The next morning Laban was able to kiss his grandchildren and daughters and to bless them. He then left and returned home.
Having read this, I have some sympathy for the older man. Surely he was angry that Jacob had left without first asking his permission or even telling him that he was leaving. Surely he did feel that he was the chief of his people and that he had a right to say when and where they were to go. Yet, these people were his daughters and grandchildren. Perhaps he did long to tell them goodbye and offer his blessing. But I am also thinking of the promise between him and Jacob that they would both stay on their own side of the heap of stones, a promise that would prevent him from ever again seeing his daughters. Perhaps he simply knew he could not defeat Jacob and so gave up without a fight. Either way, isn’t this a good story?
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