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Tuesday, August 20 2013
Genesis 31: The Parting of Jacob and Laban
After twenty years of refuge in Syria, Jacob's welcome in the house of his uncle Laban had diminished into hostility. The solution came from the LORD (see Genesis 1: In The Beginning Was The Word).
"31:1 And he heard the words of Laban's sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father's; and of that which was our father's hath he gotten all this glory. 31:2 And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before.
Jacob had arrived in Syria, to the house of his uncle Laban, on the run from his brother Esau (see Genesis 27: Esau's Blessing Taken By Jacob). Conversely, Jacob left Syria, on the run from his uncle Laban. His flight from Syria would be much slower however, due to the large family and great numbers of livestock (see Genesis 30: Speckled and Spotted - How Did He Do It?).
"31:4 And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock, 31:5 And said unto them, I see your father's countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me. 31:6 And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. 31:7 And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me. 31:8 If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstraked. 31:9 Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me.
Rachel and Leah had no regard for their father Laban, with reasons of alienation of their own: "Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money."
"31:14 And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house? 31:15 Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money. 31:16 For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is ours, and our children's: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do.
Despite his relative slowness, Jacob was able to get away by awaiting for an opportune time when Laban was away. Nevertheless, when he discovered that they were gone, Laban was able to catch up with the slow-moving group.
"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.
Laban was an idol-worshiper, but so were his daughters still at that time - although Jacob was apparently not aware of it.
"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.
Jacob then rebuked Laban for dealing with him in the hard way that he did - to which the LORD intervened with the "speckled and spotted" agreement that transferred most of Laban's wealth to Jacob (again, see Genesis 30: Speckled and Spotted - How Did He Do It?).
"31:36 And Jacob was wroth, and chode 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.
Jacob and Laban then made an agreement that neither would ever again enter the territory of the other. Although it also meant that Laban would not likely see, or be able to defend, his daughters or grandchildren again ("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"), it was a treaty that was apparently never violated: "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."
"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.
Fact Finder: How has the conflict between Cain and Abel been repeated by brothers ever since?
This Day In History, August 20
14: Agrippa Postumus, the grandson of Caesar Augustus (see Luke 2:1 and A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars) was executed by his guards. Caesar Augustus had adopted his grandson as a son, thereby making Agrippa Postumus a presumptive heir as Emperor.
636: The Battle of Yarmouk. Arab forces under the command of Khalid ibn al-Walid took Syria and "Palestine" (an English rendering of the Biblical word for "Philistine") from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the first series of Muslim conquests outside of "Arabia" (to understand the Biblical and historical meaning of Arabia, see Paul's Geography Lesson). It also marked the beginning of the struggles of the King of the North (the Church of Rome's Europe) and the King of the South (Muslim Arabia). See The Prophet Daniel: Kings Of The North and South.
1391: Konrad von Wallenrode became the 24th Hochmeister of the Teutonic Order (see also The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).
1467: The Second Battle of Olmedo between Henry IV of Castile and his half-brother Alfonso, Prince of Asturias.
1667: John Milton published Paradise Lost, an epic poem about the fall of Adam and Eve.
1707: The first Siege of Pensacola, Florida ended with Spanish forces holding off the English.
1741: Alaska was "discovered" (native people were already there) by Danish explorer Vitus Bering.
1775: The Spanish established the Presidio San Augustin del Tucson. It is known today as Tucson, Arizona.
1794: General "Mad Anthony" Wayne slaughtered the last of the Ohio Indians at the Battle of Fallen Timbers; the genocide effectively ended (native) American resistance in the region.
1858: Charles Darwin first published his theory of evolution through natural selection in The Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London.
1914: German troops entered Brussels, the first European capital to be occupied by an invading army since the fall of Paris in 1870. Brussels itself had not been occupied since the time of Napoleon.
1929: The first airship flight around the Earth flying eastward was completed.
1940: As the months-long Battle of Britain air war raged overhead, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, in referring to the heavily outnumbered Royal Air Force fighter pilots (2,200 Nazi fighters and bombers to 700 UK Hurricanes and Spitfires) who were giving the attacking Nazi air force the mauling that caused Hitler to cancel his planned land invasion of Britain, told Parliament: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."
1940: Leon Trotsky, Russian revolutionary, was fatally wounded by a Spanish communist with an ax in Mexico City. He died the next day. The Soviet government denied responsibility.
1941: When his air force failed to defeat the Royal Air Force over Britain, Adolf Hitler (see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion) authorized the development of the V-2 missile that could bomb Britain while the "pilots" remained safely in Germany - beginning the modern age of "kill from the comfort of your desk" warfare.
1944: U.S., British and Canadian forces destroyed the German Seventh Army at the Falaise-Argentan Gap, west of Paris.
1950: During the Korean War, United Nations forces stopped an offensive by North Korean divisions attempting to cross the Naktong River to the city of Taegu.
1960: 2 dogs and 6 mice became the first earthlings in space, aboard the Russian Sputnik V.
1968: Elements of the Warsaw-Pact armies of Bulgaria, Hungary, East Germany, Poland and the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia to crush Alexander Dubcek's reformist government, ending the "Prague Spring"; Soviet communist leader Leonid Brezhnev warned that USSR could intervene in any communist country whose policies deviated from its standards.
1975: NASA launched Viking 1 to Mars.
1977: NASA launched Voyager 2.
1986: A mail carrier in Oklahoma shot 14 fellow postal workers dead. It was one of the first of such mass killings in the U.S. that came to be called "going postal."
1988: Eight British Army troops were killed and 28 wounded when their bus was hit by a terrorist "Provisional Irish Republican Army" roadside bomb in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom.
1998: The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Quebec cannot legally secede from Canada without the approval of the Federal Government.
2001: Fred Hoyle died at age 86. The British astronomer invented the term "big bang" - but never accepted the theory as the origin of the universe.