By: Ely Lagajino
And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8 (NKJV)
Jacob’s fourteen years of services as a shepherd changed Laban’s status from “rags to riches.” Laban’s refusal to return the equivalent amount of Jacob’s services as dowry added to his wealth.
Afraid to lose a vital helper, Laban offered Jacob another arrangement for his wages. Laban changed his methods ten times to his advantage. Jacob suggested instead that all speckled sheep and spotted goats, dark lambs, and other domesticated animals would be his share. Laban agreed to the idea since striped animals were rare. (Genesis 30:28- 32)
God blessed Jacob’s six years of extended service. More and more spotted, speckled animals were born, which he separated immediately under the care of his sons. (Genesis 30:37-40). Laban became jealous of Jacob’s prosperity. They had no birth control technology over spotted animals. Laban accused Jacob of taking the animals that belong to them and threatened a violent takeover.
Jacob brought his case to God in prayer, and the Lord, who promised him a blessing in Bethel, instructed him to return to Canaan.
While Laban was not around, Jacob’s family, with all their spotted animals and servants, left Haran. When Laban learned of Jacob’s departure, he commanded his men to chase them; after seven days, they reached Jacob’s team, but God warned Laban in a dream not to hurt and say bad things to Jacob. Laban, instead, settled to question Jacob why he secretly left, giving him no opportunity to say goodbye to his daughters and grandchildren.
Laban and Jacob later made a covenant; erected a pile of stones and called the place Mizpah, or “watchtower,” saying, “The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another” (PP p.192, 193).
A boodle-fight feast followed. After eating, Laban and his company left in haste for fear of Jacob’s men.