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?
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.
1. False accusers, though silent at a just defence, yet are not ready to clear the innocent.
I. JACOB'S REMONSTRANCE WITH LABAN.
Let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee.I. IT WAS FORCED UPON HIM BY CIRCUMSTANCES.
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.
II. IT SHOWED AN IMPERFECT SENSE OF RELIGIOUS DUTY AND OBLIGATION.
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.
II. JACOB'S CONFIDENCE IN GOD.
III. JACOB'S COVENANT WITH LABAN. Learn:
1. God's providence.
2. God's faithfulness.
(W. S. Smith, B. D.)
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.)
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.)
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