Gen 31: "Jacob found himself being treated with the duplicity
that he manifested in the matter of the family blessing granted by Isaac (Gen
27). A family council was held in the home of Laban, Jacob's father in law.
There had come a change in the heart of Laban towards Jacob, and jealousy in his
sons brought about a crisis in the life of Jacob. There was a rising hostility
toward him, and Jacob realised that as he had fled from the home of his family
in Canaan, now he would have to flee from the home of his wives in Haran. The
narrative reveals:  A change in the attitude of Laban toward Jacob: vv 1,2.
 Jacob discloses his plan to his wives: vv 3-13.  The ready response of
Jacob's wives: vv 14-16.  Jacob steals away secretly: vv 17-21.  Laban
pursues Jacob: vv 22-24.  The investigation: vv 25-35.  The covenant at
Gilead: vv 36-55.
"Notice Jacob's recognition of the Hand of Providence in his
life, for he tells his wives of the guidance he has received (see refs in vv
5,7,42), and the intervention of the divine dream (v 11). As father, Laban had
ignored his true responsibilities to his daughters. They gave expression to the
mercenary meanness of their father (v 15), which rankled long in their minds,
and had destroyed any love they once had for him. Family life is best when based
upon the Word and Purpose of Yahweh. Yahweh presided over the whole scene
between Laban (the man of sin) and Jacob (the man of faith), and ultimately
delivered the man of faith, so that Jacob and his family could leave to journey
home to the Land of Promise" (GEM).
I WILL BE WITH YOU: Important: This does not exclude
trials: notice what more befalls Jacob in later years (Ber 43:55).
TEN TIMES: Figuratively, "constantly, over and over"
(cp Num 14:22; Job 19:3).
Jacob waited and served Laban with patience and faith for 20
years, until God tells him to leave. Jacob has conquered his impatience and
tendency to deception.
I AM THE GOD OF BETHEL: The angel of God (v 11) calls
himself "God" (cp Psa 97:7 with Heb 1:6; Gen 32:30 with Hos 12:3,4; Exo 3:1-6
with Act 7:38).
DOES HE NOT REGARD US AS FOREIGNERS? NOT ONLY HAS HE SOLD
US...: Laban their father had not treated his daughters as children, nor
even as freeborn persons; but as if they were foreigners that he had taken in
war, or bought from others; or at least, that they were born bondmaids in his
house, and therefore he had a right to sell them as he had.
'He hath sold us' -- Laban had sold his daughters to Jacob for
fourteen years service, as if they had been his slaves, instead of giving
dowries with them as his children.
BUT HE HAS USED UP WHAT WAS PAID FOR US: The benefit,
or profit, which Laban had received by the service of Jacob, he spent it on
himself and his sons, and there was nothing left for his daughters.
HOUSEHOLD GODS (IMAGES): "Teraphim" (AV mg). These
supposedly insured one's inheritance (WBD; Str Scr 79): cp v 14.
HIS RELATIVES (BRETHREN): Allies to help Laban regain
his property -- the teraphim.
Thus Laban broke strict command (of v 24), but he obeyed its
intent (ie no violence). Common oriental lax interpretation: LB 369.
HE SHALL NOT LIVE: Jacob's rashness again costs him, in
the early death of Rachel -- at the birth of Benjamin (Gen 35:8,19; 48:7). Even
with great riches, there is still no peace for Jacob.
Jacob had borne trials placed on him by God, learning patience
in the process. Cp David's words: 2Sa 16:12. Jacob: "wandering Aramean, and he
went down into Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great
nation, powerful and numerous" (Deu 26:5).
THE FEAR OF ISAAC: Sig profound reverence, to
acknowledge God's greatness: Pro 28:14; Jer 2:19; Hos 3:5.
This covenant involved a sacrifice and a meal (v 45). Perhaps
related to the ritual of the covenant-victim: see Lesson,
AND THAT YOU WILL NOT GO PAST THIS HEAP AND PILLAR TO MY
SIDE TO HARM ME: Laban's main concern seems to be to prevent Jacob and his
daughters from claiming any of his possessions (thru having the teraphim). To
this end Laban makes the covenant and Jacob agrees to it -- although, of course,
not knowing that Rachel had the teraphim. Jacob was very interested in the land
of promise and, had he known about the teraphim, he would prob have been too
godly even to concern himself with the possibility of inheriting any of Laban's
land. Another possibility is that after Jacob's lengthy self-vindication of vv
38-42 Laban was afraid that, if he (Jacob) returned, he would plot vengeance
against him in retaliation for Laban's treatment of him.
THE GOD OF THEIR FATHER: So the "God" of Terah was the
God of Abraham, despite Jos 24:2!