4 Feb. Genesis 31:1-21

4 Feb. Jacob flees to Gilead

“One day Jacob heard Laban’s sons talking. They said, ‘Jacob has taken everything our father owned, and in this way he has become rich.’ Then Jacob noticed that Laban was not as friendly as he had been before.”

“The LORD said to Jacob, ‘Go back to the land [Canaan] where your ancestors lived, and I will be with you.’ So Jacob told Rachel and Leah to meet him in the field where he kept his flocks.”

“He said to them, ‘I have seen that your father is not as friendly with me as he used to be, but the God of my father has been with me. You both know that I have worked as hard as I could for your father, but he cheated me and changed my pay ten times. But God has not allowed your father to harm me…’”

“'I had a dream during the season when the flocks were mating… The angel of God spoke to me in that dream and said, "Jacob… I have seen all the wrong things Laban has been doing to you… Now I want you to leave here and go back to the land where you were born".'”

“Rachel and Leah answered Jacob, ‘Our father has nothing to give us when he dies. He has treated us like strangers. He sold us to you, and then he spent all of the money you paid for us. God took all this wealth from our father, and now it belongs to us and our children. So do whatever God has told you to do.”

“So Jacob put his children and his wives on camels, and they began their journey back to Isaac, his father, in the land of Canaan. All the flocks of animals that Jacob owned walked ahead of them. He carried everything with him that he had gained while he lived in North West Mesopotamia.”

“While Laban was gone to cut the wool from his sheep, Rachel stole the idols that belonged to him. And Jacob tricked Laban the Aramean by not telling him he was leaving. Jacob and his family left quickly, crossed the Euphrates River, and travelled towards the mountains of Gilead.”

                     (Genesis 31:1-21)



Laban’s sons were furious that their cousin Jacob had built up his own flocks by selective breeding, at their father Laban’s expense.

Jacob heard about their plans to 'get their own back’, so Jacob decided to flee secretly from Haran. His decision to leave was confirmed by a dream in which God’s angel told him to "leave here and go back to the land where you were born" (Genesis 31:13).

Jacob shared his plans with his two wives, Leah and Rachel, and they agreed that they had nothing to lose by leaving their father and returning with Jacob to Canaan.

So Jacob put his wives and children on camels and crossed ‘the river’ (the River Euphrates) and headed south for the hill country of Gilead.

Unfortunately, Rachel decided to steal the household gods belonging to her father. These idols were probably covered in gold and would have been very valuable. Their theft would also have been considered very bad luck (as it would have ‘angered the gods’), so it was not surprising that Laban was furious when he discovered that they were missing, along with his daughters.

The photo (by David Bjorgen) shows the Hills of Gilead.

You can read the background to this story @ The Bible Journey | Jacob cheats Esau and flees to Mesopotamia

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