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.
Verse 1. - And he - Jacob had now served twenty years with Laban, and must accordingly have been in his ninety-seventh or seventy-seventh year (vide Genesis 27:1) - heard the words of Laban's sons, - who were not at this time only small youths about fourteen years of ago (Delitzsch), since they were capable of being entrusted with their father's flocks (Genesis 30:35) - saying (probably in a conversation which had been over. heard by Jacob), Jacob hath taken away (by fraud is what they meant, an opinion in which Kalisch agrees; but it is not quite certain that Jacob was guilty of dishonesty in acting as he did) all that was our father's; - this was a manifest exaggeration; sed hoe morbo laborant sordidi et nimium tenaces, ut sibi ereptum esse putent quicquid non ingurgitant (Calvin) - and of that which was our father's hath he gotten (literally, made, in the sense of acquiring, as in Genesis 12:5; 1 Samuel 14:48) all this glory. כָּבוד (from כָּבַד, to be heavy, hence to be great in the sense of honored, and also to be abundant) signifies either glory, splendor, renown, δόξα (LXX.), as in Job 14:21; or, what seems the preferable meaning here, wealth, riches, facultates (Vulgate), as in Psalm 49:13; Nahum 2:10. The two ideas appear to be combined in 2 Corinthians 4:17; βάρος δόξης (cf. Wordsworth, in loco).
And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before.
Verse 2. - And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, Behold, it (i.e. either Laban or his countenance) was not toward him (literally, with him) as before - literally, as yesterday and the day before. The evident change in Laban's disposition, which had previously been friendly, was obviously employed by God to direct Jacob s mind to the propriety of returning to the land of his inheritance; and the inclination thus started in his soul was further strengthened and confirmed by a revelation which probably soon after, if not the night following, was sent for his direction.
And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.
Verse 3. - And the Lord - Jehovah; since the entire journey to Padan-aram had been conducted under his special care, vide Genesis 28:15 (Hengstenberg), and not because the first three verses of this chapter have been inserted or modified by the Jehovist (Tuch, Block, et al.) - said unto Jacob, probably in a dream (cf. vers. 5, 10, 11). Return unto the land of thy fathers (i.e. Canaan), and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee. So Jehovah had promised at Bethel twenty years before (Genesis 28:15).
And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock,
Verse 4. - And Jacob went - being unwilling to approach the house lest Laban should discover his design (Rosenmüller) - and called Rachel and Leah - Rachel may be placed first as the beloved wife of Jacob (Wordsworth, Lange), scarcely as the principal wife in comparison with Leah, who was adventitia (Rosenmüller; cf. ver. 14) - to the field unto his flock. The expression "his flock" indicates that Jacob had abandoned Laban's sheep and taken possession of those which belonged to himself - probably in preparation for his departure.
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.
Verse 5. - And said unto them, I see your father's countenance, that it is not toward me as before (vide supra); but the God of my father - literally, and the Elohim of my father, the term Elohim employed by Jacob not being due to "the vagueness of the religious knowledge" possessed by his wives (Hengstenberg), but to a desire on his own part either to distinguish the God of his father from the gods of the nations, or the idols which Laban worshipped ('Speaker s Commentary'), or perhaps, while using an expression exactly equivalent to Jehovah, to bring out a contrast between the Divine favor and that of Laban (Quarry) - hath been with me - literally, was with me; not the night before simply, but during the past six years, as he explains in ver. 7.
And ye know that with all my power I have served your father.
Verse 6. - And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. The term Jacob here uses for power is derived from an unused onomatopoetic root, signifying to pant, and hence to exert one s strength. If, therefore, the assertion now made to his wives was not an unblushing falsehood, Jacob could not have been the monster of craft and deception depicted by some (Kalisch); while, if it was, it must have required considerable effrontery to appeal to his wives' knowledge for a confirmation of what they knew to be a deliberate untruth. The hypothesis that Jacob first acquired his great wealth by "consummate cunning," and then piously "abused the authority of God in covering or justifying them" (Kalisch), presupposes on the part of Jacob a degree of wickedness inconceivable in one who had enjoyed the sublime theophany of Bethel.
And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me.
Verse 7. - And your father hath deceived me, - הֵתֵל, the hiph. of תָּלַל, means to rob or plunder (Furst), or to cause to fall, as in the cognate languages, whence to deceive (Gesenius) - and changed my wages ten times; - i.e. many times, as in Numbers 14:22; Job 19:3 (Rosenmüller, Bush, Kalisch, Lange); as often as possible, the number ten expressing the idea of completeness (Keil, Murphy) - but God (Elohim, Jacob purposing to say that he had been protected, not by human stratagem, but by Divine interposition) suffered him not to hurt me - literally, to do evil to me. The verb here construed with עִמָּד = עִם is sometimes followed by עַל (1 Kings 17:20), and sometimes by בְּ (1 Chronicles 16:22).
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.
Verse 8. - If he (i.e. Laban) said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; - by the original contract Jacob had been promised all the parti-colored animals (Genesis 30:32);" here it seems as if Laban, struck with the remarkable increase of these, took the earliest opportunity of so modifying the original stipulation as to limit Jacob's portion to one sort only, viz. the speckled. Yet this dishonorable breach of faith on the part of Laban was of no avail; for, when the next lambing season came - then (it was discovered that) all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus (changing the sort of animals assigned to his son-in-law), The ringstraked shall be thy hire (the result was as before); then bare all the cattle ringstraked.
Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me.
Verse 9. - Thus - literally, and (as the result of this) - God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me. In ascribing to God what he had himself effected by (so-called) fraud, this language of Jacob appears to some inexcusable (Kalisch); in passing over his own stratagem in silence Jacob has been charged with not telling the whole truth to his wives (Keil). A more charitable consideration of Jacob's statement, however, discerns-in it an evidence of his piety, which recognized and gratefully acknowledged that not his own "consummate cunning, 'but Jehovah s watchful care had enabled him to outwit the dishonest craft of Laban (Rosenmüller, Ainsworth, Bush, Candlish, Murphy).
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.
Verse 10. - And it came to pus at the time that the cattle conceived (this obviously goes back to the commencement of the six years' service), that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams - עַתֻּדים, he-goats, from an unused root, to be ready, perhaps because ready and prompt for fighting (Gesenius, sub voce) - which leaped (literally, Heir up) upon the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled. The grisled (beruddim, from barad, to scatter hail) were spotted animals, as if they had been sprinkled with hail, not a fifth sort in addition to the four already mentioned (Rosenmüller), but the same as the teluim of Genesis 30:35 (Kalisch). Wordsworth observes that the English term grisled, from the French word grele, hail, is a literal translation of the Hebrew. Gesenius connects with the Hebrew root the words πάρδος, pardus, leopard (so called from its spots), and the French broder, to embroider. The LXX. understand the עַתֻּדים to include both sheep and goats, and translate οἱ τράγοι καὶ οἱ κριοὶ ἀναβαίντες ἐπὶ τὰ πρόβατα καὶ τὰς αἰγας.
And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I.
Verse 11. - And the angel of God - literally, the angel (or Maleach) of Elohim, i.e. of the God who was with me and protecting me, though himself continuing unseen - spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I (vide Genesis 20:1, 11).
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.
Verse 12. - And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled. Since all the parti-colored animals had already been removed (Genesis 30:35), this vision must have been intended to assure him that the flocks would produce speckled and spotted progeny all the same as if the ringstraked and grisled rams and he-goats had not been removed from their midst (cf. Kurtz, § 78). To insist upon a contradiction between this account of the increase of Jacob's flocks and that mentioned in Genesis 30:37 is to forget that both may be true. Equally arbitrary does it seem to be to accuse Jacob of fraud in adopting the artifice of the pilled rods (Kalisch). Without resorting to the supposition that he acted under God s guidance (Wordsworth), we may believe that the dream suggested the expedient referred to, in which some see Jacob's unbelief and impatience (Kurtz, Gosman in Lange), and others a praiseworthy instance of self-help (Keil). For I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. If the preceding clause appears to imply that the vision was sent to Jacob at the beginning of the six years' service, the present clause scents to point to the end of that period as the date of its occurrence; in which case it would require to be understood as a Divine intimation to Jacob that his immense wealth was not to be ascribed to the success of his own stratagem, but to the blessing of God (Delitzsch). The difficulty of harmonizing the two views has led to the suggestion that Jacob here mixes the accounts of two different visions accorded to him, at the commencement and at the close of the period of servitude (Nachmanides, Rosenmüller, Kurtz,- ' Speaker's Commentary,' Murphy, Candlish).
I am the God of Bethel, 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.
Verse 13. - I am the God of Bethel, - the angel here identifies himself with Jehovah (vide Genesis 28:13). Contrary to usual custom, הָאֵל, though in the construct, state, has the art. (vide Ewald, ' Hebrews Synt.,' § 290) - 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 - i.e. to the land of Canaan, which was Jacob's true inheritance.
And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house?
Verses 14-16. - And Rachel and Leah (vide on ver. 4) answered and said unto him (Kalisch overdoes his attempt to blacken Jacob's character and whitewash Laban's when he says that Rachel and Leah were so entirely under their husband s influence that they spoke about their father "with severity and boldness bordering on disrespect." It rather seems to speak badly for Laban that his daughters eventually rose in protest against his heartless cruelty and insatiable greed), Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house? The interrogative particle indicates a spirited inquiry, to which a negative response is anticipated (cf. Genesis 30:2; vide Ewald, ' Hebrews Synt.,' § 324). Kalisch obviously regards it as preposterous that Rachel and Leah should have expected anything, since "married daughters in the East never had any such claim where there were sons." But Laban had not treated Jacob's wives even as daughters. Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold us (however much they loved Jacob they could not but resent the mercenary meanness of Laban, by which they, the free-born daughters of a chieftain, had been sold as common serfs), and hath quits devoured also our money - literally, and hath eaten up, yes, even eating up, our money, the inf. abs., אָול, after the finite verb, expressing the continuance (Keil) and intensity (Kalisch) of the action (vide Ewald, 'Hebrews Synt.,' § 280). For - כִּי is by some interpreters rendered but (Jarchi), so that (Keil), indeed (Kalisch), though there is no sufficient reason for departing from the usual meaning "for" (Rosenmüller) - all the riches which God hath taken from our father, - thus Rachel and Leah also recognize the hand of God (Elohim) in Jacob's unusual prosperity - that is ours, and our children's (Rachel and Leah mean to say that what Jacob had acquired by his six years of service with their father was no more than would have naturally belonged to him had they obtained their portions at the first): now then, Whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do. It is clear that, equally with himself, they were prepared for breaking off connection with their father Laban.
Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money.
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.
Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels;
Verses 17, 18. - Then (literally, and) Jacob rose up (expressive of the vigor and alacrity with which, having obtained the concurrence of his wives, Jacob set about fulfilling the Divine instructions), and set his sons - his children, as in Genesis 31:1; Genesis 32:12, including Dinah, if by this time she had been born (vide Genesis 30:21) - and his wives upon camels. Since neither were able to undertake a journey to Canaan on foot, his oldest son being not more than thirteen years of age and his youngest not more than six. One camel, vide Genesis 12:16. And he carried away - the verb נָהֵג, to pant, which is specially used of those who are exhausted by running (Gesenins, sub voce), may perhaps indicate the haste with which Jacob acted - all his cattle, - Mikneh, literally, possession, from kanah, to procure, always used of cattle, the chief wealth of a nomad (cf. Genesis 13:2; Genesis 26:14) - and all his goods which he had gotten, - Recush, literally, acquisition, hence substance, wealth in general, from racash, to acquire (vide Genesis 14:11, 16, 21; Genesis 15:14), which, however, is more specifically described as - the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten (both of the above verbs, kanah and racash, being now employed) in (i.e. during his stay in) Padan-aram, for to go to Issac his father in the land of Canaan.
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 Padanaram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan.
And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father's.
Verse 19. - And Laban went - or, Now Laban had gone, probably to the other station, which was three days journey from Jacob's flocks (vide Genesis 30:36; and cf. Genesis 31:22) - to shear his sheep. In this work he would probably be detained several days, the time of shearing being commonly regarded as a festal season (cf. Genesis 38:12; 1 Samuel 25:4; 2 Samuel 13:23), at which friendly entertainments were given. Whether Jacob's absence from the festivities is to be explained by the dissension existing between him and Laban, which either caused him to be uninvited or led him to decline the invitation (Kurtz), or by the supposition that he had first gone and subsequently left the banquet (Lange), the fact that Laban was so engaged afforded Jacob the opportunity he desired for making his escape. And Rachel had stolen (or, "and Rachel stole," availing herself likewise of the opportunity presented by her father's absence) the images that were her father's. The teraphim, from an unused root, taraph, signifying to live comfortably, like the Sanscrit trip, Greek τρέφειν, Arabic tarafa (Gesenius, Furst, sub voces), appear to have been small human figures (cf. Genesis 31:34), though the image in 1 Samuel 19:13 must have been nearly life-size, or at least a full-sized bust, sometimes made of silver (Judges 17:4), though commonly constructed of wood (1 Samuel 19:13-16); they were worshipped as gods (εἰδωλα, LXX.; vide, Vulgate, cf. Genesis 31:30), consulted for oracles (Ezekiel 21:26; Zechariah 10:2), and believed to be the custodians and promoters of human happiness (Judges 18:24). Probably derived from the Aramaeans (Furst, Kurtz), or the Chaldeans (Ezekiel 21:21, Kalisch, Wordsworth), the worship of teraphim was subsequently denounced as idolatrous (1 Samuel 15:23; 2 Kings 13:24). Cf. with Rachel's act that ascribed to AEneas: -
"Effigies sacrae divum, Phrygiique Penates,
Quos mecum a Troja, mediisque ex ignibus urbis,"
(Virg., 'AEn.,' 3. 148-150). Rachel's motive for abstracting her father's teraphim has been variously ascribed to a desire to prevent her father from discovering, by inquiring at his gods, the direction of their flight (Aben Ezra, Rosenmüller), to protect herself, in case, of being overtaken, by an appeal to her father s gods (Josephus), to draw her father from the practice of idolatry (Bazil, Gregory, Nazisnzen, Theodoret), to obtain children for herself through their assistance (Lengerke, Gerlach), to preserve a memorial of her ancestors, whose pictures these teraphim were (Lightfoot); but was probably due to avarice, if the images were made of precious metals (Pererius), or to a taint of superstition which still adhered to her otherwise religious nature (Chrysostom, Calvin, 'Speaker's Commentary ), causing her to look to these idols for protection (Kalisch, Murphy) or consultation (Wordsworth) on her journey.
And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled.
Verse 20. - And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, - literally, stole the heart of Laban the Syrian, he deceived his mind and intelligence, like κλέπτειν νόον, Horn., ' II.,' 14. 227 (el. vers. 26, 27); hence - ἔκρυψε (LXX.); so Calvin, Rosenmüller, Keil, Gesenius, and others. Lange fancifully understands by the heart of Laban which Jacob stole either Laban's daughters or his favorite Rachel Gerlach contrasts Jacob's stealing with that of Rachel, in which Jacob, had no part. The exact import of Jacob s stealing is declared by the words that follow - in that he told him not (Lunge and Bush interpret הִגֹּיִד impersonally, as signifying in that or because it was not told; but in this among expositors they stand alone) that he fled.
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.
Verse 21. - So (literally, and) he fled with (literally, and) all that he had; and he rose up, and passed over the river, - i.e. the Euphrates, which was called by preeminence the river (cf. 1 Kings 4:21; Ezra 4:10, 16) - and set his face toward the mount Gilead. גִּלְעַד, according to Gesenius, "the hard, stony region," from an unused quadrilateral root, signifying to be hard, though, according to the historian (by a slight change in the punctuation), "The hill, or heap of witness," from the transaction recorded in verses 45-47, which name it here proleptically receives, was not the mountain-range to the south of the Jahbok, now styled Jebel Jilad (Gesenius), Jebel-as-Salt (Robinson), Jebel-osha (Tristram), since Jacob had not yet crossed the river, but that upon its northern hank, called Jebel Ajlun, and situated near Mahanaim (Delitzsch, Keil, Kalisch, Porter).
And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob was fled.
Verses 22, 23. - And it was told Laban on the third day - i.e. the third after Jacob's departure, the distance between the two sheep-stations being a three days' journey (vide Genesis 30:36) - that Jacob was fled. And he took his brethren - i.e. his kinsmen, or nearest relations (cf. Genesis 13:8; Genesis 29:15) - with him, and pursued after him (Jacob) seven days' journey (literally, a way of seven days); and they overtook him in the mount Gilead. The distance between Padan-aram and mount Gilead was a little over 300 miles, to perform which Jacob must at least have taken ten days, though Laban, who was less encumbered than his son-in-law, accomplished it in seven, which might easily be done by traveling from forty to forty-five miles a day, by no means a great feat for a camel.
And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days' journey; and they overtook him in the mount Gilead.
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.
Verses 24, 25. - And God - Elohim is here employed, neither because the section belongs to the fundamental document (Tuch, Bleek, Colenso, et alii), nor because, though Laban had an outward acquaintance with Jehovah (vide ver. 49), his real religious knowledge did not extend beyond Elohim (Hengstenberg), but simply because the historian wished to characterize the interposition which arrested Laban in his wrath as supernatural (Quarry) - came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, - (cf. Genesis 20:3; Job 33:15; Matthew 1:20). This celestial visitation occurred the night before the fugitives were overtaken (vide ver. 29). Its intention was to guard Jacob, according to the promise of Genesis 28:15, against Laban's resentment - and (accordingly God) said unto him, Take heed - literally, take heed for thyself, the verb being followed by an ethical dative, as in Genesis 12:1; Genesis 21:16, q.v. - that thou speak not to Jacob - literally, lest the, speak with Jacob; μή ποτε λαλήσυς μετὰ Ἰακὼβ (LXX.) either good or bad. Literally, from good to bad, meaning that on meeting with Jacob he should not pass from peaceful greetings to bitter reproaches (Bush, Lunge), or say anything emphatic and decisive for the purpose of reversing what had occurred (Keil); or, perhaps more simply, say anything acrimonious or violent against Jacob (Rosenmüller, Murphy), the expression being a proverbial phrase for opposition or interference (Kalisch). (Cf. Genesis 14:50; 2 Samuel 13:23). Then (literally, and) Laban overtook Jacob. Now (literally, and) Jacob had pitched his tent - this was done by means of pins driven into the ground, the verb תָּקַע signifying to fasten, or fix anything by driving (cf. Judges 4:21; Isaiah 22:23, 25) - in the mount (vide supra, ver. 21): and Laban with his brethren (kinsmen, ut supra) pitched - his tent; not ἔστησε τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς (LXX.) - in the mount of Gilead (vide supra, ver. 21).
Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mount: and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mount of Gilead.
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?
Verses 26-30. - And Laban (assuming a tone of injured innocence) said to Jacob, What hast thou done, that thou hast stolen away unawares to me, - literally, and (meaning, in that) thou hast stolen my heart (vide supra, ver. 20; and cf. ver. 27) - and carried away (vide ver. 18) my daughters, as captives taken with the sword? Literally, as captives of the sword, i.e. invitis parentibus (Rosenmüller); language which, if not hypocritical on Laban's part, was certainly hyperbolical, since he had already evinced the strength of his parental affection by selling his daughters to Jacob; and besides, so far as it concerned either Jacob or his wives, it was quite untrue, Rachel and Leah having voluntarily accompanied their husband in his flight. Wherefore didst thou floe away secretly, - literally, wherefore didst thou hide thyself to flee away; חָבַא (niph.), with an inf. following, corresponding to the similar construction in Greek of λανθάνειν with a part, and being correctly rendered in English by an adverb (vide Gesenius, 'Gram.,' § 142) - and steal away from me (literally, and steal me, ut supra); and didst not tell me, that I might (literally, and I would) have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, - in Oriental countries those about to make a long journey are still sent away cantionibus et musicorum instrumentorum concentu (Rosenmüller) - with tabret, - the toph was a drum or timbrel, consisting of a wooden circle covered with membrane, and furnished with brass bells (like the modern tambourine), which Oriental women beat when dancing (cf. Exodus 15:20; Judges 11:34; Jeremiah 31:4) - and with harp! For a description of the kinnor see Genesis 4:21. And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons (i.e. the children of Leah and Rachel) and my daughters! It is perhaps judging Laban too severely to pronounce this complete hypocrisy and cant (Alford, Bush, Candlish, Gerlach), but equally wide of the truth is it to see in Laban's conduct nothing but generosity of feeling (Kalisch); probably there was a mixture of both paternal affection and crafty dissimulation (Delitzsch). Thou hast now done foolishly in so doing. The charge of folly in Old Testament Scriptures commonly carries with it an imputation of wrong-doing (cf. 1 Samuel 13:13; 2 Samuel 14:10). It is in the power of my hand - so the phrase יָדִי יֶשׁ־לְאֵל (cf. Deuteronomy 28:32; Nehemiah 5:5; Micah 2:1) is rendered by competent authorities (Gesenius, Furst, Rosenmüller, Kalisch, Murphy, et alii), with which agree laxly, ἡ χειρ μου (LXX.), and valet manus men (Vulgate), though the translation "My hand is for God," i.e. my hand serves me as God (cf. Job 12:6; Hebrews 1:11), is by some preferred (Keil, Knobel, Jacobus) - to do you hurt: but the God of your father - the use of this expression can be rightly regarded neither as a proof of Elohistic authorship (Tuch, Bleek, Colenso, Davidson) nor as a sign of Laban's spiritual degeneracy (Hengstenberg, Wordsworth), since it is practically equivalent to Jehovah (vide Genesis 28:13), but is probably to be viewed as a play upon the sound and sense of the preceding clause, as thus: - "It is in the El of my hand to do you evil, but the Elohim of your father spake to me." Another instance of this play upon the sound and sense is to be found in vers. 19, 20 - "Rachel stole the teraphim that were her father's; and Jacob stole the heart of Laban the Syrian" (cf. Quarry on Genesis, p. 498) - spake unto me yester night, saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob - literally, guard or keep thee for thyself (the pleon, pron. being added ut supra, ver. 24) from speaking with Jacob - either good or bad (vide on ver. 24). And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone (literally, going thou didst go - thou hast indeed gone), because thou sore longedst after thy father's house (literally, because desiring thou didst desire. The verb כָּסַפ, to be pale (whence כֶּסֶפ, silver, so called from its pale color), expresses the idea of pining away and languishing through strong inward longing), yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods? Laban had probably gone to consult his teraphim and so discovered their loss. Augustine calls attention to this as the first Scripture reference to heathen gods, and Calvin probably supplies the right explanation of the sense in which they were so styled by Laban, non quia deitatem illie putaret esse inclusam, sed quia in honorem deorum imagines illas colebat; vel potius quod Deo sacra facturus, vertebat se ad illas imagines (cf. Exodus 32:4; 1 Kings 12:28). "This complaint of Laban, that his "gods were stolen, show-eth the vanity of such idolatry" (Ainsworth). Cf. Judges 6:31; Judges 16:24; Jeremiah 10:5, 11, 15.
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?
And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? thou hast now done foolishly in so doing.
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.
And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father's house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?
And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid: for I said, Peradventure thou wouldest take by force thy daughters from me.
Verses 31, 32. - And Jacob answered - "in an able and powerful speech" (Kalisch) - and said to Laban (replying to his first interrogation as to why Jacob had stolen away unawares), Because I was afraid: for I said (sc. to myself), Peradventure (literally, lest, i.e. I must depart without informing thee lest) thou wouldest (or shoudest) take by force - the verb signifies to strip off as skin from flesh (vide Micah 3:2), and hence to forcibly remove - thy daughters from me (after which, in response to Laban's question about his stolen gods, he proceeds). With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live. If Jacob meant he shall not live, but I will slay him with mine own hand (Aben Ezra), let God destroy him (Abarbanel), I give him up to thee to put to death (Rosenmüller), let him instantly die (Drusius), he was guilty of great unadvisedness in speech. Accordingly, the import of his words has been mollified by regarding them simply as a prediction, "he will not live," i.e. he will die before his time (Jonathan), a prediction which, the Rabbins note, was fulfilled in Rachel (vide Genesis 35:16, 18); or by connecting them with clause following, "he will not live before our brethren," i.e. let him be henceforth cut off from the society of his kinsmen (LXX., Bush). Yet, even as thus explained, the language of Jacob was precipitats, since he ought first to have inquired at his wives and children before pronouncing so emphatically on a matter of which he was entirely ignorant (Calvin). Before our brethren - not Jacob's sons, but Laban's kinsmen (ver. 23) - discern thou - literally, examine closely for thyself, the hiph. of נָכַר (to be strange) meaning to press strongly into a thing, i.e. to perceive it by finding out its distinguishing characteristics (vide Furst, sub voce) - what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For (literally, and) Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them - otherwise he would have spoken with less heat and more caution.
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.
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. - And Laban went into Jacob's taut, and into Leah's tent, and into the two maid-servants' tents; - the clause affords an interesting glimpse into the manners of the times, showing that not only husbands and wives, but also wives among themselves, possessed separate establishments) - but he found them not. Then went he out of Leah's tent (he probably commenced with Jacob's and those of the hand-maids, and afterwards passed into Leah's), and entered into Rachel's tent - last, because she was the favorite. Cf. Genesis 33:2, in which a similar partiality towards Rachel is exhibited by Jacob (vide Thomson's 'Land and Book,' 1. 370).
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.
Verse 34. - Now Rachel had taken the images (teraphim), and put them in the camel's furniture, - the camel's furniture was not stramenta cameli (Vulgate), "the camel's straw" (Luther), but the camel's saddle (LXX., Onkelos, Syriac, Calvin, Rosenmüller, Keil, and others), here called כּר, from כָּרַר, an unused root signifying either to go round in a circle, hence to run (Gesenius), or to be firmly wound together, hence to be puffed up as a bolster (Furst). The woman's riding-saddle was commonly made of wicker-work and had the appearance of a basket or cradle. It was usually covered with carpet, and protected against wind, rain, and sun by means of a canopy and curtains, while light was admitted by openings in the side (cf. Gesenius, sub voce; Kalisch in loco). "That which is now customary among the Arabs consists of a large closed basket-work, with a place for sitting and reclining, and a window at the side; one of this kind hangs on each side of the camel" (Gerlach) - and sat upon them. "To us the picture of Rachel seated upon the camel furniture is true to life, for we have often seen its counterpart. The saddle-bags and cushions which were to be set upon the camel lay piled on the floor, while she sat upon them (Van Lennep, quoted by Inglis, p. 254). And Laban searched - the word means to feel out or explore with the hands (cf. Genesis 27:12; Job 12:25) - all the tent, but found them not.
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.
Verse 35. - And she said to her father, - "covering theft by subtlety and untruth" (Kalisch), and thus proving herself a time daughter of Laban, as well as showing with how much imperfection her religious character was tainted - Let it not displease my lord - literally, let it not burn with anger (יִחַר, from חָרָה, to glow, to burn) in the eyes of my lord (Adoni) - that I cannot rise up before thee; - Oriental politeness required children to rise up in the presence of their parents (vide Leviticus 19:32; and cf. 1 Kings 2:19). Hence Rachel's apology was not unnecessary - for the custom of women - (literally, the way of women; a periphrasis for menstruation (cf. Genesis 18:11) which, under the law, required females, as ceremonially unclean, to be put apart (Leviticus 15:19). That, prior to the law, this particular statute concerning women was in force among the Aramaeans appears from the present instance; and that it was not exclusively Jewish, but shared in by other nations of antiquity, is the opinion of the best authorities (vide Kurtz, 'History of the Old Covenant,' § 79; 'Sacrificial Worship of the Old Testament,' § 213; Keil in loco; both of whom quote Bahr's 'Symbolik of the Mosaic Cultus,' 2. 466). Roberts mentions that under similar circumstances with Rachel no one in India goes to the temple or any religious ceremony ('Oriental Illustrations,' p. 37) - is upon me. It is just possible Rachel may have been speaking the exact truth, though the probability is she was guilty of fabrication. And he searched (everywhere except among the camel's furniture, partly from fear of defilement, but chiefly as regarding it impossible that Rachel in her then state would sit upon his gods), but found not the images (teraphim). The three times repeated phrase "he found not," emphasizes the completeness, of Lahan's deception.
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?
Verses 36-42. - And Jacob was wroth, - literally, and it burned, sc. with indignation (same word as used by Rachel, ver. 35), to Jacob, i.e. he was infuriated at what he believed to be Laban's unjustifiable insinuation about his lost teraphim - and chode - or contended; the fundamental signification of the root, רוּב or רִיב, being to seize or tear, e.g. the hair, hence to strive with the bands (Deuteronomy 33:7), or with words (Psalm 103:9). The two verbs, וַתִּחַר and וַיָּרֶב, give a vivid representation of the exasperation which Jacob felt - with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, - in words characterized by "verbosity and self-glorification" (Kalisch), or "acute, sensibility and elevated self-consciousness (Delitzsch, Keil), according as one inclines to an unfavorable or favorable view of Jacob's character - What is my trespass? what is my sin, that thou hast so hotly pursued after me? The intensity of Jacob s feeling imparts to his language a rythmical movement, and leads to the selection of poetical forms of expression, such as דָּלַק אַחֲרֵי, to burn after, in the sense of fiercely persecuting, which occurs again only in 1 Samuel 17:53 (vide Gesenius and Furst, sub voce; and cf. Keil, in lose), causing the reader at times to catch "the dance and music of actual verse" (Ewald). Whereas thou hast searched all my stuff, - literally (so. What is my sin) that thou hast felt all my articles (LXX., Kalisch)? the clause being co-ordinate with the preceding; though by others כִּי is taken as equivalent to כַּאֲשֶׁר, quando quidem, since (A.V., Ainsworth), or quando, when (Calvin, Murphy) - what hast thou found of all thy household stuff? set it here Before my brethren and thy brethren (i.e. Laban's kinsmen who accompanied him, who were also of necessity kinsmen to Jacob), that they may judge betwixt us both - which of us has injured the other. This twenty years have I been with thee (vide infra, vet. 41); thy ewes (רָחֵל, a ewe, whence Rachel) and thy she goats - עֵן a she-goat; cf. Sanscrit, adsha, a he-goat; adsha, a she-goat; Goth., gaitsa; Anglo-Saxon, gat; German, geis; Greek, αἵξ; Turkish, gieik (Gesenius, sub voce) - have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten. Roberts says that the people of the East do not eat female sheep except when sterile, and that it would be considered folly and prodigality in the extreme to eat that which has the power of producing more (vide 'Oriental Illustrations,' p. 37). That which was torn of beasts (טְרֵפָה, a coll. fem., from טָרַפ, to tear in pieces, meaning that which is torn in pieces, hence cattle destroyed by wild beasts) I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; - אֲחֶטַּנָּה, literally, I made expiation for it, the piel of חָטָא, signifying to make atonement for a thing by sacrifice (Leviticus 9:15), or by compensation, as here; hence "I bare the loss it" (Rashi, equivalent to cf. Furst), or ἐγὼ ἀπετίννουν (LXX.), or, perhaps, "I will be at the loss of it, or pay it back" (Kalisch) - of my hand didst thou require it, - otherwise, "of my hand require it" (Kalisch) - whether stolen by day, or stolen by night. Without adhering literally to the text, the LXX. give the sense of this and the preceding clause as being, "From my own I paid back the stolen by day and the stolen by night." Thus I was; (i.e. I was in this condition that) in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night קֶרַח, ice, so called from its smoothness, hence cold. The alternation of heat and cold in many eastern countries is very great and severely felt by shepherds, travelers, and watchmen, who require to pass the night in the open air, and who in consequence are often obliged to wear clothes lined with skins (cf. Psalm 121:6; Jeremiah 36:30). "The thermometer at 24° Fahr. at night, a lump of solid ice in our basins in the morning, and then the scorching heat of the day drawing up the moisture, made the neighborhood, convenient as it was, rather a fever-trap, and premonitory symptoms warned us to move" (Tristram, 'The Land of Moab,' p. 217). "The night air at Joaiza was keen and cold; indeed there was a sharp frost, and ice appeared on all the little pools about the camp" (Thomson, 'The Land and the Book,' p. 364). "Does a master reprove his servant for being idle; he will ask, "What can I do? the heat eats me up by day, and the cold eats me up by night'" (Roberts 'Oriental Illustrations,' p. 37; cf. Paxton's 'Illustrations,' vol. 1. p. 30). And my sleep departed from mine eyes. Syrian shepherds were compelled to watch their flocks often both night and day, and for a whole month together, and repair into long plains and deserts without any shelter; and when reduced to this incessant labor, they were besides chilled by the piercing cold of the morning, and scorched by the succeeding heats of a flaming sun, the opposite action of which often swells and chafes their lips and face" (Paxton's 'Illustrations of Scripture,' vol. 1. p. 30). Thus have I been - literally, this to me (or for myself, vide infra) - twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle. The majority of expositors understand the twenty years referred to in ver. 38 to be the same as the twenty spoken of here as consisting of fourteen and six. Dr. Kennicott, regarding the twenty years of ver. 38 as having intervened between the fourteen and the six of ver. 41, makes the entire period of Jacob's sojourn in Padan-aram to have been forty years. In support of this he contends -
(1) that the particle זֶה, twice repeated (in ver. 38 and in ver. 41), may be legitimately rendered, "This (one) twenty years I was with thee" (ver. 38), i.e. taking care of thy flocks; and "this for myself (another) twenty years in thy house," i.e. serving for thy daughters and thy cattle (cf. Exodus 14:20; Job 21:23, 25; Ecclesiastes 6:5);
(2) that on this hypothesis more time is afforded for the birth of Jacob's family, viz. twenty-seven years instead of seven; and
(3) that it relieves the narrative of certain grave chronological difficulties in connection with Judah and his family, which, on the supposition of the shorter period, subsequently emerge, such as that Judah and his sons must have been quite children when they married (vide Genesis 38:1-11). But, on the other hand, in favor of the accepted chronology it may be urged -
(1) that the interposition of a second twenty years in the middle of the first is unnatural;
(2) that, though legitimate, the proposed rendering of זֶה does not at first sight suggest itself as that which Jacob intended;
(4) that in reality the difficulties connected with Judah and his sons are not removed by the hypothesis of a forty years' sojourn in Padan-aram any more than by a sojourn of only twenty years, since Judah must have married either after the sale of Joseph, in which case only twenty-two years remain for the birth and marriage of Er and Onan, for Pharez and Zarah, Judah's children by Tamar, to grow to manhood, and for Pharez to have two sons, Hezron and Hamul, before descending to Egypt, unless indeed, as Kurtz supposes, Judah's grandchildren were born in Egypt; or before the sale of Joseph - indeed, if Hezron and Hamul were born in Canaan, before the birth of Joseph, i.e. while Judah was yet in Padan-aram, which is contrary to the narrative (vide Genesis 38:1, 2). For these reasons, though adopted by some excellent authorities (Bishop Horsley, Adam Clarke, 'Speaker's Commentary,' Inglis), the computation of Dr. Kennicott does not appear of sufficient weight to set aside the ordinary reckoning, which is followed by interpreters of equal credit (Keil, Kalisch, Kurtz, Lange, Murphy, Wordsworth). And thou hast changed my wages ten times (vide ver. 7). Except (לוּלֵי, if not, i.e. unless, introducing the protasis of the sentence) the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, - i.e. the object of Isaac's fear, not "terror" (Oort and Kuenen, vide 'The Bible for Young People,' vol. 1. p. 243), viz. God; פַּחַד being used metonymically of that which inspires reverence or fear, like σέβας and σέβασμα. The entire clause is a periphrasis for Jehovah of ver. 3, which is usually ascribed to the Jehovist, while the present verse belongs, it is alleged, to the fundamental document - had been with - or, for (cf. Psalm 124:1, 2) - me (during the whole period of my sojurn in Padan-aram, but especially during the last six years), surely (כִּי, then, commencing the apodosis) thou hadst sent me away now empty (as by thy stratagem in changing my wages thou didst design; but) God hath seen mine affliction (cf. Genesis 29:32; Exodus 3:7) and the labor - especially that which is wearisome, from a root signifying to toil with effort so as to become fatiguing (cf. Job 39:11) - of my hands, and rebuked - i.e. reproved, sc. thee, as in Genesis 21:25 (LXX., Vulgate, A.V., Calvin, Ainsworth, Lange, Kalisch, and others); or judged, sc. it, i.e. mine affliction, in the sense of pronouncing an opinion or verdict on it, as in 1 Chronicles 12:17 (Keil, Murphy); or proved, sc. it, viz. that he had seen my affliction (Dathius, Peele); or decided, sc. betwixt us, as in ver. 37 (Furst, Gesenius) thee yester-night.
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.
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.
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.
Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes.
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.
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.
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?
Verses 43, 44. - And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, - neither receiving Jacob's torrent of invective with affected meekness (Candlish), nor proving himself to be completely reformed by the angry recriminations of his "callous and hardened son-in-law (Kalisch); but perhaps simply owning the truth of Jacob's wants, and recognizing that he had no just ground of complaint (Calvin), as well as touched in his paternal affections by the sight of his daughters, from whom he felt that he was about to part for ever. These daughters - literally, the daughters (there) - are my daughters, and these (literally, the) children are my children, and these (literally, the) cattle are my cattle; and all that thou seest is mine. Not as reminding Jacob that he had still a legal claim to his (Jacob's) wives and possessions (Candlish), or at least possessions (Kalisch), though prepared to waive it, but rather as acknowledging that in doing injury to Jacob he would only be proceeding against his own flesh and blood (Calvin, Rosenmüller, Gerlach, Alford). And what can I do this day unto these my daughters, - literally, and as for (or to) my daughters, what can I do to these this day? The LXX., connecting "and to my daughters" with what precedes, reads, καὶ πάντα ὅσα σὺ ὁρᾷς ἐμά ἐσι καὶ τῶν θυγατέρων μου ( <ΒΤΤ·Ξομμενταρψ Ωορδ>or unto their children which they have born? - i.e. why should I do anything unto them An ego in viscera mea saervirem (Calvin). Now therefore literally, and now, νῦν ο΅υν (LXX.) - come thou, - לְכָה, imperf., of יָלַך- age, go to, come now (cf. Genesis 19:32) - let us make a covenant, - literally, let us cut a covenant, an expression which, according to partitionists (Tuch, Stahelin, Delitzsch, et alii), is not used by the Elohist until after Exodus 14:8; and yet by all such authorities the present verse is assigned to the Elohist (cf. Keil's 'Introduction,' part 1. § 2, div. 1. § 27) - I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee.
Now therefore come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee.
And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar.
Verse 45. - And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar - or Matzebah, as a memorial or witness of the covenant about to be formed (ver. 52); a different transaction from the piling of the stone-heap next referred to (cf. Genesis 28:18; Joshua 24:27).
And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap: and they did eat there upon the heap.
Verse 46. - And Jacob said unto his brethren, - Laban's kinsmen and his own (vide ver. 37) - Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap: - Gal, from Galal, to roll, to move in a circle, probably signified a circular cairn, to be used not as a seat (Gerlach), but as an altar (ver. 54), a witness (ver. 48), and a table (ver. 54), since it is added - and they did eat there - not immediately (Lange), but afterwards, on the conclusion of the covenant (ver. 54) - upon the heap.
And Laban called it Jegarsahadutha: but Jacob called it Galeed.
Verse 47. - And Laban called it Jegar sahadutha: - A Chaldaic term signifying "Heap of testimony," βουνὸς τῆς μαρτυρίας (LXX.); tumulum testis (Vulgate) - but Jacob called it Galeed - compounded of Gal and 'ed and meaning, like the corresponding Aramaic term used' by Laban, "Heap of witness," βουνὸς μάρτυς (LXX.); acervum testimonii (Vulgate). "It is scarcely possible to doubt," says Kalisch, "that an important historical fact," relating to the primitive language of the patriarchs, "is concealed in this part of the narrative;" but whether that fact was that Aramaic, Syriac, or Chaldee was the mother-tongue of the family of Nahor, while Hebrew was acquired by Abraham in Canaan (Block, Delitzsch, Keil), or that Laban had deviated from the original speech of his ancestors (Jerome, Augustine), or that' Laban and Jacob both used the same language with some growing dialectic differences (Gosman in Lange, Inglis), Laban simply on this occasion giving the heap a name which would be known to the inhabitants of the district (Wordsworth), seems impossible to determine with certainty. The most that ran be reasonably inferred from the term Jegar-sahadutha is that Aramaic was the language of Mesopotamia (Rosenmüller); besides this expression there is no other evidence that Laban and Jacob conversed in different dialects; while it is certain that the word Mizpah, which was probably also spoken by Laban, is not Chaldee or Aramaic but Hebrew.
And Laban said, This heap is a witness between me and thee this day. Therefore was the name of it called Galeed;
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).
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, for 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.
Verse 54. - Then Jacob offered sacrifice - literally, slew a slaying, in ratification of the covenant - upon the mount, and called his brethren (Laban's followers, who may have withdrawn to a distance during the interview) to eat bread. The sacrificial meal afterwards became an integral part of the Hebrew ritual (Exodus 14:3-8; Exodus 29:27, 28; Leviticus 10:14, 15). 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 daughters, and blessed them: and Laban departed, and returned unto his place.
Verse 55. - And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, - i.e. Rachel and Leah and their children. It does not appear that Laban kissed Jacob on taking final leave of him as he did on first meeting him (Genesis 29:39) - and blessed them (cf. Genesis 14:60; 28:1): and Laban departed, and returned unto his place - Padan-aram (cf. Genesis 18:33; Genesis 30:25).