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Saturday, November 10 2012

A Biography Of Jacob: The Flight To Canaan

Studies in this complete series of A Biography Of Jacob:
1. The Second Twin 2. The Birthright 3. The Blessing 4. Stairway To Heaven
5. The Jacobites Of Syria 6. Speckled And Spotted 7. The Flight To Canaan 8. When Jacob Became Israel
9. Peace With Esau 10. The Return To Canaan 11. A Coat Of Many Colors 12. Israel In Egypt
13. Blessings And Prophecies 14. Homeward Bound

After twenty years of refuge in Syria (see The Second Twin, The Birthright, The Blessing, Stairway To Heaven, The Jacobites Of Syria and Speckled And Spotted), Jacob decided to return home, "to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan."


"31:17 Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels [see also Camel Trains]; 31:18 And he carried away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten in Padanaram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan.

31:19 And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father's.

31:20 And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled. 31:21 So he fled with all that he had; and he rose up, and passed over the river, and set his face toward the mount Gilead." (Genesis 31:17-21 KJV)

Jacob's departure from Laban was actually a flight of escape. Jacob had a three-day advantage at the start, but Jacob's large flocks and herds slowed his progress so that Laban was able to overtake him. Before their encounter, "God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said unto him, Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad."

"31:22 And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob was fled.

31:23 And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days' journey; and they overtook him in the mount Gilead.

31:24 And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said unto him, Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad." (Genesis 31:22-24 KJV)

It seems that Laban had more in mind than just words with Jacob ("It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt"), but Laban heeded the warning of the LORD (see Who Is The LORD?) - a wise decision on the part of the idol worshiping Laban, who implored Jacob "wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?"

"31:25 Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mount: and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mount of Gilead.

31:26 And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou done, that thou hast stolen away unawares to me, and carried away my daughters, as captives taken with the sword? 31:27 Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp? 31:28 And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? thou hast now done foolishly in so doing. 31:29 It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt: but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad. 31:30 And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father's house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?" (Genesis 31:25-30 KJV)

Jacob was surely not aware of Rachel's theft of the idols - otherwise he wouldn't have proclaimed the death penalty to the thief: "With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live."

Rachel and Leah

"31:31 And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid: for I said, Peradventure thou wouldest take by force thy daughters from me. 31:32 With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them.

31:33 And Laban went into Jacob's tent, and into Leah's tent, and into the two maidservants' tents; but he found them not. Then went he out of Leah's tent, and entered into Rachel's tent. 31:34 Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel's furniture, and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but found them not.

31:35 And she said to her father, Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the custom of women is upon me. And he searched, but found not the images." (Genesis 31:31-35 KJV)

Jacob's service to Laban had been beneficial to Laban for the first fourteen years, but the last six years resulted in a transfer of Laban's wealth to Jacob. Nevertheless, "Jacob was wroth, and chided with Laban" because of the harsh conditions that Jacob worked under for all of that time, "Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty."

"31:36 And Jacob was wroth, and chided with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What is my trespass? what is my sin, that thou hast so hotly pursued after me? 31:37 Whereas thou hast searched all my stuff, what hast thou found of all thy household stuff? set it here before my brethren and thy brethren, that they may judge betwixt us both.

31:38 This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten. 31:39 That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night. 31:40 Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes. 31:41 Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times. 31:42 Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight." (Genesis 31:36-42 KJV)

According to custom, Laban, as patriarch of his family, was the father of them all. Nevertheless, Laban accepted the situation, perhaps realizing that he could, with Jacob gone, rebuild his fortunes. Hence the reason that Laban made a covenant with Jacob that they were to never see each other again.

Jacob and Laban

"31:43 And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and these cattle are my cattle, and all that thou seest is mine: and what can I do this day unto these my daughters, or unto their children which they have born? 31:44 Now therefore come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee.

31:45 And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar.

31:46 And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap: and they did eat there upon the heap.

31:47 And Laban called it Jegarsahadutha: but Jacob called it Galeed." (Genesis 31:43-47 KJV)

With the agreement completed, "Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them: and Laban departed, and returned unto his place."

"31:48 And Laban said, This heap is a witness between me and thee this day. Therefore was the name of it called Galeed; 31:49 And Mizpah; for he said, The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another. 31:50 If thou shalt afflict my daughters, or if thou shalt take other wives beside my daughters, no man is with us; see, God is witness betwixt me and thee.

31:51 And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold this pillar, which I have cast betwixt me and thee; 31:52 This heap be witness, and this pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm. 31:53 The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us.

And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac.

31:54 Then Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount, and called his brethren to eat bread: and they did eat bread, and tarried all night in the mount.

31:55 And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them: and Laban departed, and returned unto his place." (Genesis 31:48-55 KJV)

Fact Finder: (a) What is the first part of the Fourth Commandment? (b) What was the LORD's Law about how the poor were to be helped at the time of harvest?
(a) See The Fourth Commandment, Part One: Work
(b) See The Gleaner's Law

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This Day In History, November 10

1202: During the Fourth Crusade, Church of Rome "crusaders" (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy) began a siege of Zara (now Zadar, Croatia).

1483: Martin Luther was born, in Eisleben, Germany. Although Luther rebelled against the immorality of the pope during his time, Luther maintained most of the Church of Rome's anti-Biblical doctrines.

1493: Christopher Columbus discovered Antigua on his second voyage to the "new" world (for a map of his voyages, see Thanksgiving In History and Prophecy).

1674: The Dutch formally ceded New Netherlands to the English, who renamed it New York.

1766: William Franklin, the Colonial Governor of New Jersey, signed the charter for the establishment of Queen's College (after the rebellion of the New England colonies, it was renamed Rutgers University).

1871: Henry Morton Stanley located the missing explorer Dr. David Livingstone near Lake Tanganyika and uttered his famous "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"

1928: Hirohito was crowned emperor of Japan. He ruled for 61 years, until his death in 1989.

1938: Benito Mussolini's Fascist Italy enacted its first anti-Semitic legislation.

1942: After the British victory at El Alamein during the Second World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), Winston Churchill said, "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

1970: The Soviet Lunar probe Lunokhod 1 was launched.

1975: The 729-foot freighter Edmund Fitzgerald was lost during a storm on Lake Superior, killing all 29 crew on board. The sinking was made famous by Gordon Lightfoot's song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

1975: Palestinian terrorist leader Yasser Arafat addressed the United Nations General Assembly while wearing a holstered pistol. Barely 28 years after voting to establish a Jewish state, the UN General Assembly then endorsed a resolution (67 to 55 with 15 abstentions) describing Israel as "the racist regime in occupied Palestine," and stigmatizing Zionism (a term that actually refers to A History Of Jerusalem: Zionism) as "a form of racialism and racial discrimination." The resolution's preamble additionally singled out Zionism as "a threat to world peace and security," and called upon "all countries to oppose this racist and imperialist ideology."

1979: 250,000 residents of Mississauga, Ontario (a city adjacent to Toronto) were evacuated for 6 days after a 106-car Canadian Pacific Rail freight train carrying explosive and poisonous chemicals derailed, rupturing and burning some of the tankers. It was the largest peacetime evacuation in the history of North America until the 2005 evacuation of New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina.

1982: Leonid Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, died at age 76.


Copyright © Wayne Blank