Genesis 31 Jacob Leaves Laban And They Make A Covenant.
Laban’s sons accused Jacob of becoming wealthy by stealing from their father (v. 1). Laban had turned against him (v. 2). The LORD’s command was for Jacob to return to the promised land (v. 3). In response, Jacob confesses to his wives that the covenant LORD has been with him, how through Jacob’s honest labour the LORD had providentially blessed and protected him, even though their father had changed his wages 10 times (vv. 4-7). Here we discover why Jacob had proposed his plan to receive for his wages only the streaked, speckled, and spotted of the flock-because it was told him in a dream from the Angel of God, a pre-incarnate appearing of the Son of God (vv. 8-12).
The Angel of God then clearly describes himself as the “I Am the God of Bethel,” the house of God, His presence where Jacob anointed a pillar and made a covenantal vow to this Angel of God. This God was commanding Jacob to return to the promised land (v. 13). Since Laban had also consumed any inheritance which they may have received, Rachel and Leah are determined to go with Jacob wherever the Angel of God would lead them (vv. 14-16). So Jacob saddled up his family to leave with all his wealth, yet not knowing that Rachel had taken her father’s idols, all this without telling Laban of the departure (vv. 17-21). Was Rachel divided in her loyalty to the LORD, or simply wanted the value of the material with which they were made?
Laban then spent a week pursuing Jacob to the mountains of Gilead (vv. 22-23), but God had warned Laban not to speak good nor bad to Jacob (v. 24). Nevertheless he asks Jacob why he fled without telling him, so that, as he said, they might have a party (vv. 25-28). Yet, Laban added that even though he may have wanted to come with bad intentions, he informed Jacob that God had warned him not to. However, he wanted to know why he had taken his idols, Jacob not knowing what Rachel had done, promising that whoever took his idols should not live, that these idols would also be returned to Laban (vv. 29-32), but Rachel hid them under a saddle and sat on it so that Laban could not find them (vv. 33-35).
Jacob then opposed Laban, arguing with him how he had earned all that he had acquired, even though Laban treated him so unfairly (vv. 36-42). Laban then disagreed, claiming that everything Jacob had departed with was really all his (v. 43). Laban then proposed to Jacob that they make a covenant between them, to bear witness to their relationship going forward (v. 44). They called the heap of stones a “heap of witness,” each in their own language (vv. 45-52). So Jacob swore by the God of his fathers, and offered a sacrifice, and called upon his brethren to break bread (vv. 53-54). The next morning Laban then departed and returned to his place (v. 55).