And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob was fled.…
1. Laban, upon tidings of Jacob's deliverance, haste in fury to avenge themselves on them.
2. Wicked men of might join to themselves their allies, to help on their furious revenges.
3. Injustice and cruelty will spur souls on to the persecution of the innocent many days.
4. Envy and revenge will not give over pursuing the innocent until they overtake their prey (ver. 23).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
I. THE FLIGHT of Jacob from Laban.
(1) Jealousy of Jacob's prosperity amongst Laban's family (ver. 1).
(2) Jacob had himself been not very kindly treated by Laban (ver. 7).
(3) Command of God that he should return (ver. 13). Added to this, Rachael and Leah, also, were willing to depart, as feeling that they were not so welcome at home as formerly (vers. 14, 15);
(4) and yet could not go away openly. Laban would have hindered him, or have prevented his carrying away the whole of his property (ver. 42).
2. Time. Sheepshearing. So important a duty that Laban must himself superintend it. He goes some distance from home. While Laban is absent, Jacob steals away. Collects his flocks and herds, servants and substance, and sets out over the desert which he had traversed some twenty-one years before with only his staff in his hand.
II. THE PURSUIT. Of Laban after Jacob. Laban did not hear of Jacob's flight till three days had passed. This part of the journey Jacob would naturally travel with all speed. So large a caravan could not march without leaving the plain track behind. Laban in pursuit for seven days, i.e., until ten days after Jacob had started. Reaching the mountains of Gilead and their defiles, and not overtaken; Jacob might think the pursuit had not been undertaken, or if so, then abandoned. Evening of tenth day Laban and his band approach. Too exhausted by the march to bring matters to an issue at once. The two camps retired to rest. Night settles down on the hills of Gilead, and watch fires, &c. Probably it was this night that Laban had a wonderful vision, in which he was warned respecting his treatment of Jacob. From the nature of the vision it is plain how murderous his intentions were.
III. THE PARTING. Of Jacob and Laban.
1. The controversy between Laban and Jacob. Laban's charge against Jacob. Going by stealth. Leading his daughters as captives (comp. vers. 14, 15 with 26). Pretence of great affection (vers. 27, 28). Assertion of power. Acknowledgment of Divine interference. Charge of stealing the idols.
2. Jacob's reply. Tells the truth (ver. 31), but not all the truth (comp. vers. 1-16). Repudiates, sternly and prompt]y, the charge of carrying off the images.
3. The search for the idols, which are not found.
4. They set up a memorial pillar, and so part at Mizpah. The two camps remaining there another night, and travelling, east and west, early in the morning, to meet no more. Learn:
I. Be thankful for the domestic relations of life, and that ours do not demand our flight from home and kindred.
II. Jacob bore cruel usage for twenty years, and even then did not prepare for flight till God had given him the command.
III. The vision sent to Laban shows that God would have family meetings peaceably conducted, and those who have had unkind thoughts, He would have them lay them aside.
IV. Christ Jesus, the Prince of Peace, is the Great Reconciler.
(J. C. Gray.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob was fled.