Genesis Chapter 31: Laban Turns on Jacob, Jacob Leaves, Laban PersuesFeb 27th, 2010 | By admin | Category: Genesis, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)
Genesis Chapter 31: Laban Turns on Jacob, Jacob Leaves, Laban Persues
Gen. 31:1 And he heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father’s; and of that which was our father’s hath he gotten all this glory.
Jacob’s flight from Laban was about to take place. The circumstances led Jacob to think it was expedient for him to make the separation then and there. The word “glory” is rendered “wealth” in the Revised Standard Version. Laban’s sons were accusing Jacob of taking that which was their father’s. They forgot that when Jacob first arrived, Laban was not prosperous. Laban was blessed materially for Jacob’s sake.
The opposition to Jacob was initiated by Laban’s sons. Later Laban got stirred up too. The sons were showing greed, for what their father had would eventually be theirs.
Gen. 31:2 And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before.
Jacob could tell from Laban’s countenance that there had been a change of attitude toward him.
Laban’s sons had probably aroused this change. Perhaps up to this time, Laban had felt he was in control of the situation. No matter what transpired, he could manipulate matters to his own advantage. Now it was apparent that things were out of control. (They were out of control because God had overruled the breeding process.)
Gen. 31:3 And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.
When Jacob was in Bethel before leaving for Padan-aram, God had told him to return to the land of his fathers and promised to be with him (Gen. 28:15-22). Jacob made a vow that if God would feed and clothe him and allow him to return in safety, he would give God one tenth of all he had. Now 20 years had elapsed since this original covenant. At this critical time, when Laban and his sons were opposed to Jacob, God told Jacob to return to his homeland.
Gen. 31:4 And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock,
Jacob called Rachel and Leah to come out to him in the fields; that is, he did not go individually to each tent and repeat the story. It was expedient for them to go to Jacob out in the field so that he could inform them of his intention to leave.
Gen. 31:5 And said unto them, I see your father’s countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me.
Verses 5-13 relate what Jacob told Rachel and Leah. Jacob said that Laban was even more opposed to him than before, but God was with him.
Gen. 31:6 And ye know that with all my power I have served your father.
Although Laban had deceived Jacob and taken advantage of him, Jacob could say, with a clear conscience, “With all my power I have served your father.” For 20 years, he did this.
Gen. 31:7 And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me.
Gen. 31:8 If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstraked.
Gen. 31:9 Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me.
Gen. 31:10 And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled.
Gen. 31:11 And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I.
Gen. 31:12 And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee.
Gen. 31:13 I am the God of Beth-el, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred.
Laban changed Jacob’s wages ten times.
Q: Are the “ten times” literal, or are they an idiom?
A: They are probably an idiom, but Jacob’s wages were changed many times. However, if the account is a type, the ten times would be literal and accurate. Verse 41 mentions them again. For the first 14 years, Jacob had nothing to show for all of his labor except two wives and two handmaids. His work had just enriched Laban. When the sons said Jacob had all of their father’s wealth, the reference was to the newborn. In the last six years of Jacob’s 20-year service to Laban, he prospered more because Laban was getting the weaker, less numerous animals. The striped, speckled, and spotted animals would normally have been a minority, but not under God’s providence. Thus the sons’ criticism of Jacob pertained to the last six years, and they conveniently overlooked the first 14 years.
Jacob said, “God suffered him [Laban] not to hurt me” (verse 7). God favored Jacob in the miraculous birth of flocks according to whatever Laban said. For example, one year Laban said, “Whatever is born speckled is yours.” Another year he said, “Whatever is born spotted is yours.” Each time the “rules” were changed, God overruled the births to favor Jacob. Laban failed to recognize God’s providence. As with Pharaoh, each occurrence just hardened his heart more. A repeated series of circumstances deepens the faith of the right-hearted and hardens the heart of the wrong-hearted. Greed has a blinding influence.
In verse 9, Jacob told Rachel and Leah, “God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me.” Verses 10-13 tell that Jacob was reminded in a dream that this intervention was from God. While Jacob earlier devised a method to prosper the mating, it was really God’s overruling (Gen. 30:37-42). At first, Jacob carved and peeled rods in a way he thought was conducive to bringing forth newborn with that same pattern, coloring, etc. Later Laban stipulated what pattern of newborns should be Jacob’s, and he kept changing the “rules” to try to outwit Jacob.
In verses 5-13, Jacob was giving a little discourse to Rachel and Leah when they came out to him in the field. He had served Laban faithfully for 14 years with no wages. In the additional six years, God had prospered him. Then he set a proposition before Rachel and Leah: “I am going to leave; what will you do?” Notice Jacob’s approach: he first recounted his loyalty to Laban and then told God’s advice.
In verses 11-13, Jacob told how God had appeared to him in a dream and told of the overruling in the mating of animals to Jacob’s advantage and Laban’s disadvantage. For example, the speckled offspring were Jacob’s, both male and female. As they matured, the result of their mating was more speckled young. The results were similarly favorable to Jacob with the striped and the spotted offspring. All marked cattle were Jacob’s. God overruled that like animals would mate.
God reminded Jacob of his promise, or vow, 20 years earlier when en route in his flight from Esau. Originally, Jacob was to return home when Esau’s anger abated. Rebekah said she would send word to Jacob, but no word had come in 20 years. Now God sent word. We do not know if Rebekah was still alive, as the account is silent on this point.
Gen. 31:14 And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father’s house?
Gen. 31:15 Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money.
Gen. 31:16 For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is ours, and our children’s: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do.
Now Rachel and Leah responded. Both were ready to go and without hesitation. (We are reminded of Rebekah’s previous reaction to Eliezer.) The quick response was commendable, for Rachel and Leah both saw their father’s injustice and were united in this matter despite their jealousy over children. They knew that going with Jacob meant flight, but in faith, they were willing to go.
Laban had been unjust to Rachel and Leah, as well as to Jacob, for what he withheld would have been theirs and their children’s. Also, when Laban gave Leah and Rachel to Jacob, he gave no dowry—nothing except the two handmaidens. Laban’s stingy, greedy nature was becoming more and more apparent, even though he said the opposite at times.
There had been a miraculous increase for Jacob in the last six years. He probably got more in those six years than Laban had gotten in the 14 earlier years. Incidentally, when Laban removed all of the striped, spotted, and speckled animals, the animals may have been sold and the money kept (Gen. 30:35,36).
Gen. 31:17 Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels;
Jacob, his sons, and his wives departed for the land of Canaan.
Gen. 31:18 And he carried away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten in Padan-aram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan.
Jacob took all of the goods and flocks that were legitimately his.
Gen. 31:19 And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father’s.
With Laban being preoccupied in sheep shearing, the time was favorable for Jacob to leave.
Unbeknownst to Jacob, Rachel stole her father’s images/teraphim/gods (Gen. 31:32).
Gen. 31:20 And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled.
Gen. 31:21 So he fled with all that he had; and he rose up, and passed over the river, and set his face toward the mount Gilead.
Gen. 31:22 And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob was fled.
Gen. 31:23 And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days’ journey; and they overtook him in the mount Gilead.
Gen. 31:24 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.
Not until three days later did Laban learn of Jacob’s flight. Since it took Laban seven days to catch Jacob, the latter was then a total of ten days away and already in the hill country of Gilead (and not on a particular mountain). Normally “Gilead” (Ramoth-Gilead) is across Jordan on the east, but this incident took place in a much earlier period of history, so “Gilead” here can be a different territory, one that was farther from Israel.
Jacob passed over “the river” Euphrates, just as Abraham had done at Terah’s death. Jacob was going toward “mount Gilead” en route to the land of Canaan.
God told Laban not to speak to Jacob “either good or bad.” Why not? Laban was not to try to persuade Jacob to come back to Padan-aram with offers of wages, etc., nor was he to do Jacob any harm. Laban was not reliable. He would say one thing one time and do another thing another time. He was not to make promises, speak flattery, use threats, and so forth; that is, he was to speak civilly and properly to Jacob and mind his own business.
Before the Mosaic Law was given, Micah had a “house of gods” (Judges 17:5). At that time, it was not considered especially wrong to have idols. Different religions used idols, which were usually made of terra-cotta and were three to four inches tall. The idols functioned as charms for various purposes: fertility of the land, fertility of the body, etc.
Nominal Christianity uses icons and statues even today. There are different degrees of degradation depending on the motive—for example, is the statue used as a memento, or is it prayed to? We use a cross and crown as a reminder, or memento, and that purpose is certainly permissible.
What about Laban’s idols? There was a time when God winked at such practices, allowing them to go on until the Law was given (Acts 17:29,30). Sometimes artifacts are beneficial, but where to draw the line is the question. Teraphim are not necessarily personages even if they represent imaginary gods. They can be more of a charm, just as one wears a cross on the neck, and to wear a cross is not a sin depending on motivation. Insignias and signs have their place, but we must be careful about where to draw the line. It is acceptable to wear a button, for instance, to hopefully provoke questions that lead to a witnessing experience, but it would be wrong to attach a mysterious power to a button or a piece of jewelry.
God did not strongly criticize the use of teraphim back there. To us, the practice seems abominable, but we are viewing matters from an enlightened standpoint. Today a Christian who does this should be excommunicated, but for those who lived back there, we must view matters as presented in Genesis and then on down through the years. The Apostle Paul said that once the commandment was given, it brought enlightenment and sin if not obeyed, but before the Law, it was different.
Q: If the teraphim were sometimes associated with fertility, could Rachel have stolen Laban’s images in the hope of gaining fertility? Only Joseph had been born at this point, and she had prophetically said at his birth, “The Lord shall add to me another son” (Gen. 30:24).
A: That could well have been Rachel’s motive in stealing the images.
Gen. 31:25 Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mount: and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mount of Gilead.
Gen. 31:26 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?
Gen. 31:27 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?
Gen. 31:28 And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? thou hast now done foolishly in so doing.
Laban, accompanied by his “brethren,” overtook Jacob at Mount Gilead and began to chide him for departing secretly, saying he would have kissed his sons and daughters good-by and had songs, mirth, and fanfare. What hypocritical words (based on Laban’s previous actions)!
Laban had deceived and changed Jacob’s wages ten times. If Jacob had not departed secretly, Laban would have hindered his going. He would not have sent Jacob away gladly.
Laban accused Jacob of stealing “away unawares” and of carrying away his daughters “as captives taken with the sword.” Leah and Rachel had quickly responded in the affirmative to Jacob’s announcement that he was departing for home according to the dream God had given him (Gen. 31:14-16). Thus Laban’s statement here was false in regard to Jacob’s taking them as captives at sword point. Leah and Rachel had responded, “Are we not counted of him [Laban] strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money.” The most Laban had given them was a handmaiden apiece—there was no dowry after all those years.
Verse 28 was continued hypocrisy, for the daughters had mentioned their father Laban’s lack of interest in them (Gen. 31:15). In fact, Laban’s words were hypocrisy underlaid with treachery! Laban’s possessiveness is seen; he was not personally concerned about the welfare of Leah, Rachel, and their children.
Gen. 31:29 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.
The previous night God had warned Laban not to hurt Jacob. Laban was not to speak to him “either good or bad.” In other words, Laban was not to interfere with Jacob’s desire to return to his homeland. Incidentally, “yesternight” means the previous night, that is, “last night.”
There are the words “yesterday” and “yesternight.”
Gen. 31:30 And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father’s house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?
Next Laban accused Jacob of having stolen his “gods” (images, idols, teraphim). Thus Laban’s chief animosity toward Jacob now became the loss of the teraphim from his household. There was mutual distrust between Laban and Jacob. Of course Jacob had good reason not to trust Laban, but Laban had no reason to distrust Jacob. Whatever Laban would say—good or bad— would be untrustworthy, for his statements did not square with his actions. Unknown to Jacob, Rachel had taken the idols—and probably because they were associated with fertility.
Gen. 31:31 And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid: for I said, Peradventure thou wouldest take by force thy daughters from me.
Jacob did not tell Laban in advance about his desire to leave because he was afraid Laban would prevent his leaving and take his daughters back—just as Laban had tried deceit in regard to the flocks earlier. Being possessive, Laban still considered his daughters his possession even though they had been given in marriage (Gen. 31:28). Jacob had served seven years for Leah and then another seven years after being given Rachel, yet the two women and their handmaids were the only wage for 14 years of serving. In addition, Jacob had worked another six years as the caretaker of Laban’s flocks. Jacob had made a proposal that of the newborn, his wage would be all of the speckled, spotted, and striped. Laban thought this proposal was a bargain not only because the bulk were otherwise but also because he first removed and sold the adult animals of this description. But God providentially overruled in Jacob’s favor, and many striped, speckled, and spotted were born. The strong ones became Jacob’s; the weak ones were Laban’s. The Lord so miraculously multiplied Jacob’s flocks that he became a very wealthy man. Moreover, Jacob gave Laban the option from year to year of changing the formula for deciding which newborns would be his. Whatever the arrangement, Jacob’s flocks increased dramatically, so that they eventually outnumbered Laban’s.
Gen. 31:32 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.
Unaware that the teraphim were with Rachel, Jacob said, “With whomsoever you find your gods, let him not live.” To have images back there, prior to the Law, was not considered as dreadful as later, for God “winked the eye” at this time. Initially, individuals may have considered these artifacts to be helpful reminders of certain blessings in their lives. (Roman Catholic statues are a very degraded subsequent condition.)
Comment: A Scofield footnote reads, “Excavations in … Mesopotamia … show the possession of the household gods of a father-in-law by a son-in-law was legally acceptable as proof of the designation of that son-in-law as principal heir.” Thus household gods were considered like an heirloom to be handed down to the favored son.
Jacob made a rash vow in regard to what he would do if one in his household were found with Laban’s gods. Many years later Jephthah made a rash vow (Judges 11:30,31). Lesson: We should not make vows impulsively; we should soberly appraise the facts before saying what we will do. However, there was an escape clause in Jacob’s vow: “With whomsoever thou [Laban]” would find the gods, that person would be put to death. Laban did not find the gods and was off the scene before Jacob realized that Rachel had them. Therefore, he did not have to put Rachel to death.
Jacob had a very strong sense of right and wrong. When he made the initial bargain about the sheep and the goats, he said that if any animal was found in his possession other than the specified newborns, that animal would be “counted stolen” by him (Gen. 30:33). Hence Jacob had a strong sense of not infringing on someone else’s property rights. Here, too, he was indignant in regard to Laban’s accusation of stealing the teraphim because of his strong sense of right and wrong. (Verses 38-40 will show this quality too.) Jacob wanted to be more than fair in his bargaining, whereas Laban was conniving and unfair.
Gen. 31:33 And Laban went into Jacob’s tent, and into Leah’s tent, and into the two maidservants’ tents; but he found them not. Then went he out of Leah’s tent, and entered into Rachel’s tent.
Verse 33 provides interesting insight. Each of the women had a separate tent, and Jacob had one too so that there were five tents in all. Rachel’s tent was the last to be searched—as if Laban least expected the teraphim to be there. And Laban, who was aware of the wording of Jacob’s vow, personally searched the tents; he did not delegate the job to another with him. Jacob’s tent was the first to be searched because Laban had the most animosity for him.
Note Laban’s great possessiveness over his “gods.” The fact that he searched Leah’s and Rachel’s tents shows that he wanted the idols back even it if meant the loss of a daughter’s life.
He could have backed off after Jacob’s indignant vow.
Gen. 31:34 Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel’s furniture, and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but found them not.
Gen. 31:35 And she said to her father, Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the custom of women is upon me. And he searched, but found not the images.
Rachel had put the images in the camel’s saddle, a boxlike structure that stored items. Her excuse for not rising up was that she was having her period. It was strange but providential that Laban, the suspicious one, was not suspicious of Rachel. If her theft had been discovered, it would have been a hardship on Jacob, for he had sacrificed much to get her for his wife—14 years of labor.
Comment: It does not say in Scripture that Rachel told a lie here. It could well have been this time of month for her, which conveniently worked into the situation.
Reply: Yes, for then the other family members would not have been suspicious either. All were deceived except Rachel.
Images of a cross, a cross and crown, etc.—inanimate objects—are not as harmful as images of a person(ality), which is a much greater danger. It is wrong to think that there is inherent power in kneeling before an image. For example, Mary becomes the Mediatrix in the Roman Catholic Church with parishioners thinking she is more sympathetic than Jesus.
Gen. 31:36 And Jacob was wroth, and chode with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What is my trespass? what is my sin, that thou hast so hotly pursued after me?
Gen. 31:37 Whereas thou hast searched all my stuff, what hast thou found of all thy household stuff? set it here before my brethren and thy brethren, that they may judge betwixt us both.
Gen. 31:38 This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten.
Gen. 31:39 That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night.
Gen. 31:40 Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes.
Gen. 31:41 Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times.
Gen. 31:42 Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.
Jacob repaid Laban in full by giving a healthy animal if a tragedy struck an animal of a flock.
Laban required Jacob to do this (see verse 39). Laban was cold, calculating, and mercenary. His terms of the contract show he drew a hard bargain, and Jacob abided by the terms.
Jacob’s care of the animals is an insight into his character. For example, he tenderly oversaw how they bore their young, and he protected them from evil under all climatic conditions. He was a true shepherd. A good shepherd, in the employ of a master, also had to bring back a torn piece of an animal such as an ear or a foot to prove that he had tried to save the animal from the attack of a wild beast. The torn piece was proof that he had valiantly fought to save the master’s animal, that the attack was forcibly resisted (Exod. 22:13). David is another example of a good shepherd.
Twenty years had expired, and Jacob stressed how he had faithfully served Laban, who had changed his wages ten times. For example, by repeatedly changing the formula in regard to the newborns that were to be Jacob’s, Laban hoped to ward off the ill effects he was experiencing, but God overruled so that Jacob prospered greatly in those last six years. Then Jacob reminded Laban of his own testimony that God had warned him in a dream not to interfere (verse 29). In other words, Jacob was saying, “If it were not for that dream, by which God rebuked you, you would have done harm to me. God justifies me—I am innocent. You have treated me unfairly.”
Q: What is the “fear of Isaac” in verse 42?
A: Jacob had the same reverential fear of the Abrahamic Covenant that Isaac had. Jacob was revering his father and his grandfather (Isaac and Abraham, respectively). He was identifying his God with their God and the continuity of that relationship.
Gen. 31:43 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?
Laban still thought all of Jacob’s possessions were his—even though Jacob had served 14 years for the two wives, etc. What a warped mind! Misers have changed characters and looks after a period of time. Miserliness is a devastating disease, and certainly Laban’s greed for possessions manifests this fact. However, Laban could not harm Jacob because of God’s warning not to do so. Nevertheless, Laban could not suppress his warped thinking.
Gen. 31:44 Now therefore come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee.
Therefore, Laban said, “Let us make the best of the situation and have a covenant between us.”
The covenant would apply to their progeny too. Laban made the covenant out of frustration, for he could not stop Jacob.
Mount Gilead was on the border of what was considered the Promised Land at that time, so the covenant is interesting from that standpoint. They were near the Jabbok River, which was one of the feeding arteries into the Jordan River and just a short distance from where the two rivers joined. At this landmark boundary, Laban the Syrian made a covenant with Jacob.
Gen. 31:45 And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar.
Jacob symbolized the covenant by taking a stone and setting it up for a pillar.
Gen. 31:46 And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap: and they did eat there upon the heap.
Jacob told his brethren to gather stones and make a heap. Jacob and Laban ate upon the heap; that is, there were enough stones to make a “platform” on which they could have a repast. An ancient custom was that when two hostile parties had a feast together, it meant reconciliation and a contract of lasting peace.
God was actually the witness. He was the neutral party between these two parties who mistrusted each other. The stone “pillar,” or cairn on the ground, served as the “written document”—it was like a signed contract—and God would do injury to the violator of the contract.
Gen. 31:47 And Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha: but Jacob called it Galeed.
Two different names with the same meaning were given to the heap of stones, or cairn, one in Chaldean (or Syrian) and one in Hebrew.
Gen. 31:48 And Laban said, This heap is a witness between me and thee this day. Therefore was the name of it called Galeed;
Gen. 31:49 And Mizpah; for he said, The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.
“Mizpah” means watchtower. We usually view “mizpah” in a favorable sense, but here, in this context, it was really a barrier that neither one should overstep to harm the other. It was like the current “Maranatha” bumper sticker of the “Born-agains,” which has an unfavorable context in Scripture, but they use it favorably (1 Cor. 16:22). “Mizpah,” as the name of the heap of stones, was like a watchdog to make sure there was no infringement of rights; it marked a separation. “When we are absent one from another” was not said in the sense of “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Laban and Jacob would both live far from this landmark, so in effect, God would watch lest the covenant be violated.
Gen. 31:50 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.
Gen. 31:51 And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold this pillar, which I have cast betwixt me and thee;
Gen. 31:52 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.
While neither party could pass over the boundary line for harm, they could cross it for peaceful purposes and intermarriage. Two conditions were stipulated: Jacob was not to afflict Laban’s daughters, and should there be intermarriage in coming generations, neither side could take advantage of the other. In short, there was to be no grudge carrying.
Gen. 31:53 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.
Abraham, Nahor, and Haran were all sons of Terah. Hence both Jacob and Laban claimed the same God but down two different lines. Laban referred to the God of Nahor; Jacob, to the God of Abraham and Isaac. This distinction is inbred in the Arab/bedouin race today—and so much so that in the Koran, the offering of Abraham’s son is said to be Ishmael, not Isaac.
Gen. 31:54 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.
Gen. 31:55 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.
Animals were sacrificed, and they ate and tarried all night in the mount. Early in the morning Laban arose, kissed his daughters, blessed his grandsons, and left for his homeland.