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And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones and made an heap ; and they did eat thereupon the heap. And Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha; but Jacob called it Galeed : And Laban said, This heap is a witness between me and thee this day; therefore was the name of it called Galeed: and Mizpah; for he said, The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another. - 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. And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold this pillar, which I have cast betwixt me and thee. 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 fo harm. 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. 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. And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughteis, and blessed them : and Laban departed, and returned unto his place.
ANNOTATIONS and REFLECTIONs.
There is something so uncomfortable in living among relations, who are jealous and envious, that Jacob's desire of leaving Mesopotamia, in order to be out of the
way of Laban and his sons, appears very natural, We find that they set no account by his own labour; but, because he had grown rich while connected with them,
them, they supposed everything he possessed to belong to Laban; but in saying, that Jacob had taken away all that was their father's, they accused him unjustly; for we read in a former section, that when Jacob settled with his father-in-law the terms of his hire, a separation was made of all Laban's cattle, and the white ones only were committed to his care; the others were given into the hands of Laban's sons, and removed three days journey from Jacob's charge. According to this agreement, Laban had no property in any that proceeded from these flocks and herds, unless they were white also ; for the cattle, &c. that were ofteckled or straked were allotted to Jacob, as a consideration for the time he spent in Laban's service, therefore were as justly his property, as if he had purchased them with money. We find, from Jacob's complaints to his wives, as well as from his subsequent expostulations with Laban, that he had conducted himself with the strictest equity; and that, in order to satisfy his father-in-law, he had submitted to a change of wages every time the cattle bore young ones, which, in that country, was twice ayear. A most unpleasant life surely had Jacobo toiling and slaving night and day, exposed to all the inclemencies of the weather, and fretted with the discontent of those for whom he had acquired great wealth, but who nevertheless could not bear to see him making any provision for his own increasing family. Yet all this Jacob patiently endured, till the Lord expressly called him to return into his own country; for he considered himself as heir to the promises, and, as such, entirely at God's disposal. .” It is observable, that in the dream which Jacob related to his wives, he was reminded of the covenant which God made with him at Bethel, and of his own vow. The Lord had beca with him, and given him - - “ food
“food to eat, and raiment to put on,” and was now about to conduct him “to his father's house in peace;”, it was therefore his duty to obey the Divine summons, and to fulfil his part of the covenant, which till now he had had no opportunity of doing. ...' ' - Jacob's wives seem to have been sharers with him in the uneasiness, he suffered from the discontent of their father and brethren. The change which was effected in Laban's mind, when he was pursuing Jacob with purposes of vengeance, verifies the royal Psalmist's words, who says, “Surely the wrath of man shallAraise thee; the remainder of wrath restrain".”. This seasonable interposition of Divine Providence was an instance of God's favour to Jacob in particular, but, o: mercy to all parties; for had not the wra of Liban been restrained, there would have been a dreadful contest, when he and his sons. overtook the fil itives : but it is,
S, to be observed, that there was no alsolute restraint laid upon Laban's free will, for he told. Jacob that he was still possessed of the power to hurt him : his forbearance, therefore, is to be attributed to the fear of Gop, and a conviction in his mind that he was before going to COInm1t Sln. - o H so ... . . .ho What the gods were, which Rachel stole, and why she took them, is uncertain; nor is it at all material for us to know, because it is evident, that, in this respect, she is not proposed as an example for our imitation. If she made use of them in worship, it must have been in consequence of an erroneous education 3. and Jacob, in all probability, had it not in his power to overcome these prejudices, while he was a sqjourner in a country, addicted to such practices. We shall find, in the course of the history, that as soon as he could, he put a stop to them in his own family. It is manifest, that Laban believed the Lord to be the Sur ReMe God ; and the covenant between him and Jacob seems to have been conducted in a manner conformable to the religion of the Patriarchs. If Jacob had not been of a very peaceable disposition, he could not have lived for 20 years among spiteful, envious relations. Those who are unhappily under the same circumstances, should take example from him, to bear every thing with patience and good humour, till it shall please God to bless them with a prospect of changing their situation for the better; and they should, in the mean while, endeavour to conduct themselves in such an equitable manner, that their actions may be approved in the sight of God ; then may they defy calumny, and confidently hope, that his Providence will so order events, that finally their enemies will be at peace with them.*. Laban himself affords an example worthy of imitation; for he suppressed his resentment, as soon as he knew that, by indulging it, he should offend God. Laban had no written Scriptures to furnish rules for his conduct; therefore, the Lord graciously vouchsafed to instruct him by immediate revelation. Christians have a still greater advantage than Laban had, in being taught their duty, before, their passions have gained ground, or they are put to any great trials. From the Book of God they may learn in their childhood, that they should “cease from anger, and forsake wrath; and in no wise fret themselves to do evilt. That he who is slow to anger, is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city; ; and
* Psal, lxxvi. 10. to * Prov, xvi. 7, † Ps. Xxxvii. 8. : Prov. xvi. 32.
that they should not let the sun go down upon their wrath *-* ,
And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of Gop met him. And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's ‘host ; and he called the name of that place Mahaflaim. And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother, unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom. And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye speak unto my lord Esau; Thy servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed there until now.' ' -And I have oxen and asses, flocks, and men-servants, and women servants; and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight. And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him. Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed : and he divided the people that were with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels into two bands; and said, If Esau come to the one company and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape. And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, thou Load which saith unto
* Eph. iv. 26.