Dear family and friends, has anyone experienced a bad business relationship with a close relative? What’s it like to be cheated and deceived by a close relative? Our discussion is not about an unfortunate misunderstanding between Jacob and Laban. Our focus is on Laban planning in advance to deliberately scam Jacob. Laban never intended to make good on his agreement with Jacob.
Laban and his sons were big-time professional conmen!!
Genesis 31.6 – 7
[Rachel and Leah] you know that with all my power, I have served your father. And [regardless of my good honest service] your father has deceived me and changed my wages ten times, but God did not allow him to hurt me.
Both Leah and Rachel were acquainted with their fathers, deceptive dealings with Jacob.
Rachel and Leah answered [Jacob[ and said to him, ‘Is there yet any share of our inheritance left for us from our father’s house? Are we not counted by him as strangers? For he has sold us and has completely devoured our money. For all the riches which God has taken from our father, that is ours, and our children’s, now then, whatever God has said to you, do it!’
Genesis 31.11 – 12
The Angel of God spoke to me in a dream, saying, ‘Jacob;’ And I said, Here am I. And he said, ‘Lift your eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are striped, spotted and speckled; for I have seen all that Laban does to you.’
The Lord God Testified regarding “all the dishonest acts of Laban. Jacob was afraid of Laban because he had a history of being an evil, vile man. So Jacob took all that he owned and fled from him. Eventually, Laban and his sons were informed that Jacob fled, so they pursued him and overtook him. Immediately there was a confrontation between them.
Genesis 31.26 -30
And Laban said to Jacob, ‘What have you done, that you have stolen away unawares to me, and carried away my daughters, as captives taken with the sword? Why did you flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and did not tell me, that I might have sent you away with mirth, and with songs, with a tambourine, and with harp? And why did you not let me kiss my sons and my daughters? Now you have done foolishly in so doing. It is in the power of my hand to hurt you, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, Take heed that you speak not to Jacob either good or bad. And now, that you are surely gone because you so long after your father’s house, why have you stolen my gods?’
Jacob said that he was afraid. He told Laban, ‘I worked twenty years in your house. I served you fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your cattle, and you changed my wages ten times.’ They argue some more and eventually agreed to make a covenant between them. Why would Jacob make another agreement with Laban after being abused time and time again by him? If the shoe were on our foot and if we walked in Jacob’s shoes for a while, what would we do? How would we handle it? Would we make another agreement with our enemy, Laban?
Jacob took the higher road. Jacob places his trust in God. He was not foolish. It was evident to him. Laban was not trustworthy! Jacob put his faith in God! He realized that God was the determining factor in every event in our lives. Jacob acknowledged that God had protected him in previous perils. Jacob believed God would continue to defend him and his family from all the challenges they would face. Jacob kept praying his faith was in God not in people. That should be our goal. We should do our best to place our trust in The Lord.
The righteous Isaac and the evil Laban are the grandfathers of The Children of Israel.
The Lord’s Blessing upon those who make and follow righteous agreements. May The Lord Bless all who study Ha Torah and dedicate themselves to Lovingkindness.
Blessings and Peace,
Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk