Genesis 31:48
And Laban said, This heap is a witness between me and you this day. Therefore was the name of it called Galeed;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
31:43-55 Laban could neither justify himself nor condemn Jacob, therefore desires to hear no more of that matter. He is not willing to own himself in fault, as he ought to have done. But he proposes a covenant of friendship between them, to which Jacob readily agrees. A heap of stones was raised, to keep up the memory of the event, writing being then not known or little used. A sacrifice of peace offerings was offered. Peace with God puts true comfort into our peace with our friends. They did eat bread together, partaking of the feast upon the sacrifice. In ancient times covenants of friendship were ratified by the parties eating and drinking together. God is judge between contending parties, and he will judge righteously; whoever do wrong, it is at their peril. They gave a new name to the place, The heap of witness. After this angry parley, they part friends. God is often better to us than our fears, and overrules the spirits of men in our favour, beyond what we could have expected; for it is not in vain to trust in him.The covenant is then completed. And Mizpah. This refers to some prominent cliff from which, as a watch-tower, an extensive view might be obtained. It was in the northern half of Gilead Deuteronomy 3:12-13, and is noticed in Judges 11:29. It is not to be confounded with other places called by the same name. The reference of this name to the present occurrence is explained in these two verses. The names Gilead and Mizpah may have arisen from this transaction, or received a new turn in consequence of its occurrence. The terms of the covenant are now formally stated. I have cast. The erection of the pillar was a joint act of the two parties; in which Laban proposes, Jacob performs, and all take part. "The God of Abraham, Nahor, and Terah." This is an interesting acknowledgment that their common ancestor Terah and his descendants down to Laban still acknowledged the true God even in their idolatry. Jacob swears by the fear of isaac, perhaps to rid himself of any error that had crept into Laban's notions of God and his worship. The common sacrifice and the common meal ratify the covenant of reconciliation.

- Jacob Wrestles in Prayer

3. מחנים machănāyı̂m, Machanaim, "two camps."

22. יבק yaboq, Jabboq; related: בקק bāqaq "gush or gurgle out" or אבק 'ābaq in niphal, "wrestle." Now Wady Zurka.

29. ישׂראל yı̂śrā'ēl, Jisrael, "prince of God."

31. פניאל penı̂y'ēl equals פנוּאל penû'ēl, Peniel, Penuel, "face of God."

After twenty years spent in Aram, Jacob now returns to Kenann. As his departure was marked by a great moment in his spiritual life, so he is now approaching to a crisis in his life of no less significance

44. Come thou, let us make a covenant—The way in which this covenant was ratified was by a heap of stones being laid in a circular pile, to serve as seats, and in the center of this circle a large one was set up perpendicularly for an altar. It is probable that a sacrifice was first offered, and then that the feast of reconciliation was partaken of by both parties seated on the stones around it. To this day heaps of stones, which have been used as memorials, are found abundantly in the region where this transaction took place. No text from Poole on this verse. And Laban said, this heap is a witness between me and thee this day. A witness of the covenant now about to be made between them that day, and a witness against them should they break it:

therefore was the name of it called Galeed; by Jacob, as before observed; See Gill on Genesis 31:47.

And Laban said, This heap is a witness between me and thee this day. Therefore was the name of it called Galeed;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
48. Therefore was the name, &c.] A popular etymology thus accounted for the name “Gilead” by derivation from “Galeed.” Probably, some well-known “cairn” on the hill-frontier of Gilead was the reputed scene of the compact between Laban and Jacob. That border feuds were waged between Aramaeans and Israelites, and that the boundaries between the two nations were marked by cairns, is indicated in this story.Verses 48-50. - And Laban said, This heap is a witness between me and thee this day. The historian adding - Therefore was the name of it called (originally by Jacob, and afterwards by the Israelites from this transaction) Galeed (vide on ver. 21). The stony character of the regon may have suggested the designation. And Mizpah; - watchtower from Tsaphah, to watch. Mizpah afterwards became the site of a town in the district of Gilead (Judges 10:17; Judges 11:11, 19, 34); which received its name, as the historian intimates, from the pile of witness erected by Laban and his kinsmen, and was later celebrated as the residence of Jephthah (Judges 11:34) and the seat of the sanctuary (Judges 11:11). Ewald supposes that the mound (Galeed) and the watch tower (Mispah) were different objects, and that the meaning of the (so-called) legend is that, while the former (the mountain) was riled up by Jacob and his people, the latter (now the city and fortress of Mizpah on one of the heights of Gilead) was constructed by Laban and his followers (vide 'History of Israel,' vol. 1. p. 347); but the "grotesqusnesa" of this interpretation of the Hebrew story is its best refutation - for he (i.e. Laban) said, The Lord - Jehovah; a proof that vers. 49, 50 are a Jehovistic interpolation (Tuch, Bleek, Colenso, Kalisch); an indication of their being a subsequent insertion, though not warranting the inference that the entire history is a complication (Keil); a sign that henceforth Laban regarded Jehovah as the representative of his rights (Lange); but probably only a token that Laban, recognizing Jehovah as the only name that would bind the conscience of Jacob (Hengstenberg, Quarry), had for the moment adopted Jacob's theology ('Speaker's Commentary'), but only in self-defense (Wordsworth) - watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another - literally, a man from his companion. If thou shalt afflict my daughters, or if thou shalt take other wives beside my daughters (Laban's concern for his daughters, though hitherto not conspicuous, may, in the hour of parting from them, have been real: his language shows that he was not quite at ease as to Jacob's integrity. Perhaps the remembrance that he had been the cause of Jacob's taking two wives made him anxious to secure that Jacob should not improve upon his evil instructions), no man is with us; - either then they stood apart from Laban's clan followers (Inglis); or his meaning was that when widely separated there would be no one to judge betwixt them, or perhaps even to observe them (Rosenmüller), but - see, God (Elohim in contrast to man) is witness betwixt me and thee. Vers 51-53. - And Laban said to Jacob, - according to Ewald the last narrator has transposed the names of Laban and Jacob (vide 'History of Israel,' vol. 1. p. 346) - Behold this heap, and behold this pillar, which I have cast (same word as in ver. 45. The Arabic version and Samaritan text read yaritha, thou hast erected, instead of yarithi, I have erected or cast up) betwixt me and thee; this heap be witness, and this pillar be witness, that (literally, if, here = that) I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar (Laban bound himself never to pass over the heap which he had erected as his witness; whereas Jacob was required to swear that he would never cross the pillar and the pile, both of which were witnesses for him) unto me, for harm. The emphatic word closes the sentence. The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge - the verb is plural, either because Laban regarded the Elohim of Nahor as different from the Elohim of Abraham (Rosenmüller, Keil, Kalisch, Wordsworth, 'Speaker's Commentary'), or because, though acknowledging only one Elohim, he viewed him as maintaining several and distinct relations to the persons named (cf. Quarry, p. 499) - betwixt us. Laban here invokes his own hereditary Elohim, the Elohim of Abraham's father, to guard his rights and interests under the newly-formed covenant; while Jacob in his adjuration appeals to the Elohim of Abraham's son. And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac (vide supra, ver. 42). "Except the God of my father...had been for me, surely thou wouldst now have sent me away empty. God has seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and last night He judged it." By the warning given to Laban, God pronounced sentence upon the matter between Jacob and Laban, condemning the course which Laban had pursued, and still intended to pursue, towards Jacob; but not on that account sanctioning all that Jacob had done to increase his own possessions, still less confirming Jacob's assertion that the vision mentioned by Jacob (Genesis 31:11, Genesis 31:12) was a revelation from God. But as Jacob had only met cunning with cunning, deceit with deceit, Laban had no right to punish him for what he had done. Some excuse may indeed be found for Jacob's conduct in the heartless treatment he received from Laban, but the fact that God defended him from Laban's revenge did not prove it to be right. He had not acted upon the rule laid down in Proverbs 20:22 (cf. Romans 12:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:15).
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