Genesis 31:43
But Laban answered Jacob, "These daughters are my daughters, these sons are my sons, and these flocks are my flocks! Everything you see is mine! Yet what can I do today about these daughters of mine or the children they have borne?
Bethel to Mizpah; Or, Service in a Strange LandW. S. Smith, B. D.Genesis 31:43-48
Laban's Covenant with JacobT. H. Leale.Genesis 31:43-48
LessonsG. Hughes, B. D.Genesis 31:43-48
LessonsG. Hughes, B. D.Genesis 31:43-48
The Pillar a WitnessGenesis 31:43-48
And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, &c. A great lesson on -

I. THE EVIL OF DISSIMULATION. Hatred and wrong the fruits of crafty ways. Family dissensions where the things of this world uppermost. Separations which are made in the spirit of dependence on God rend no true bond, but rather strengthen affection.

II. THE FORBEARANCE OF GOD. No justification of Laban, much imperfection in Jacob; yet the shield of Divine patience and mercy thrown over the man who vowed the vow of service, in whom his grace would yet be abundantly revealed. Laban's action controlled by God. He forbad the evil design. He stilleth the enemy and the avenger. "Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad" (ver. 29). "Touch not mine anointed," &c. When we are doing God's work and walking towards his chosen end we may leave it with him to speak with those who would hinder or harm us. - R.

Let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee.

1. His long journey in pursuit of Jacob.

2. The Divine warning.

3. His failure to criminate Jacob.

4. The overwhelming force of Jacob's self-defence.


1. The natural love of kindred may exist apart from piety. The social affections are beautiful in themselves, but they may be exercised by those who have very imperfect notions of religion, or who even set it aside altogether.

2. The forms of religion may be used with but an imperfect recognition of their real significance. The setting up of this pillar, and the pious motto attached to it, seemed to indicate a most sacred friendship and a solemn regard to the realities of religion. The all-pervading presence and the power of God were recognized. God is regarded as One to whom men are ultimately accountable. But this transaction, though employing the sanctions of religion, shows but a very low apprehension of its nature. This heap was set up by enemies who called upon God to protect them, each from the encroachments of the other.

(T. H. Leale.)


1. He had served a long time.

2. He had served Laban honestly.

3. He had undergone much toil.



1. God's providence.

2. God's faithfulness.

(W. S. Smith, B. D.)

1. False accusers, though silent at a just defence, yet are not ready to clear the innocent.

2. Guilt makes wicked men dumb to answer the plea of the righteous. Laban knew his guilt, but owns it not.

3. Proud oppressors, when they cannot hurt, yet they brag all is theirs.

4. Unnatural parents, when found out, pretend nearness and interest in their offspring.

5. Cruelty is sometimes crafty to pretend to spare for relation's sake (ver. 43).

6. Bloody men overawed by God are forced to seek peace with the righteous whom they hate.

7. Oppressors are wily to secure their peace by covenant with the innocent when forced to it.

8. Crafty persecutors overcome desire engagement from the persecuted for their safety (ver. 44).

(G. Hughes, B. D.)

1. The righteous and wicked in covenants of peace may agree in the same terms, but not in the same heart.

2. Good and bad have inclination to use terms consonant to their country and religion.

3. Imposition of names upon dead things may tend to the information of the living (ver. 47).

4. Visible tokens may lawfully bear the titles of things signified by them.

5. The worst souls may be ready in word to appeal to witness, but such as they conceive cannot hurt them.

6. Pillars and places may bear the name of memorable actions to teach posterity (ver. 48).

7. Titles and words enough the falsest hearts may use for their own ends.

8. Jehovah may be appealed unto by false hearts as to selfseeking and their own security.

9. Fair pretences and guilty fears may move wicked souls to lay bends from God upon the innocent for their own safety.

10. God doth oversee and watch all parties covenanted what they do when they are separated (ver. 49).

(G. Hughes, B. D.)

The following story is told of a rich old citizen of Bermago. He had lent to one of his countrymen at Florence four hundred crowns, which he advanced without any witness, and without requiring a written acknowledgment. When the stipulated time had elapsed, the creditor required his money; but the borrower, well apprised that no proof could be brought against him, positively denied that he had ever received it. After many fruitless attempts to recover it, the lender was advised to resort to the duke, who would find some method of doing him justice. Alessandro accordingly ordered both the parties before him; and after hearing the assertions of the one, and the positive denial of the other, he turned to the creditor, saying, "Is it possible, then, friend, that you can have lent your money when no one was present?" "There was no one, indeed," replied the creditor. "I counted out the money to him on a post." "Go, bring the post then, this instant," said the duke, "and I will make it confess the truth." The creditor, though astonished at receiving such an order, hastened to obey, having first received a secret caution from the duke not to be very speedy in his return. Meantime the duke employed himself in transacting the affairs of his other suitors, till at length, turning to the borrower, he said, "This man stays & long time with this post." "It is so heavy, sir," replied the other, "that he could not yet have brought it." Again Alessandro left him, and, returning some time afterward, carelessly exclaimed, "What kind of men are they that lend their money without evidence? Was there no one present but the post. No, indeed, sir! replied the knave. "The post is a good witness then," said the duke, "and shall make thee pay the man his money."

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