Chapter 31:43-55 (ESV) - Then Laban answered and said to Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine. But what can I do this day for these my daughters or for their children whom they have borne? Come now, let us make a covenant, you and I. And let it be a witness between you and me.” So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar. And Jacob said to his kinsmen, “Gather stones.” And they took stones and made a heap, and they ate there by the heap. Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha, but Jacob called it Galeed. Laban said, “This heap is a witness between you and me today.” Therefore he named it Galeed, and Mizpah, for he said, “The Lord watch between you and me, when we are out of one another's sight. If you oppress my daughters, or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no one is with us, see, God is witness between you and me.”
Then Laban said to Jacob, “See this heap and the pillar, which I have set between you and me. This heap is a witness, and the pillar is a witness, that I will not pass over this heap to you, and you will not pass over this heap and this pillar to me, to do harm. The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.” So Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac, and Jacob offered a sacrifice in the hill country and called his kinsmen to eat bread. They ate bread and spent the night in the hill country.
Early in the morning Laban arose and kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then Laban departed and returned home.
Question to consider: Why do Laban and Jacob set up pillars of stones and make a covenant?
Jacob must have burned in anger toward Laban when he pronounced that everything and everyone belonged to him. If it were not for Jacob, Laban would have had nothing. Part of me wonders if Laban was trying to goad Jacob into violence so he could retaliate, for he would face the wrath of Jacob’s God if he had been the one to start the fight.
Jacob was willing to go along with Laban’s request and promised not to mistreat his daughters or take other wives in order to be fully and finally done with Laban. Jacob would never cross into Laban’s territory, and Laban would never cross into Jacob’s territory. So Laban arose the next morning, kissed his grandchildren and daughters goodbye and would never been seen by them again.
Jacob was finally free to return to the land of promise.
Dear heavenly father, help us to love our enemies the way Jesus does and to strive for peace even when someone wants to goad us into a battle. May Your Spirit grant us control over our tongue and our reactions and turn our anger into praise to You and prayer for those who hate us. Amen.