Jacob Flees From Laban

Scripture Passage: 
Genesis 30:25-43; Genesis 31:1-55

INTRODUCTION:  Jacob’s vow (Genesis 28:20) asked of God both provision and protection.  In this lesson, God gives provision and protection to Jacob.  However, He also shows Jacob that the provision he receives is definitely from God and not a result of Jacob’s own manipulations.  When Jacob’s wages become the marked cattle, he tries to make the cattle with the right marks be born (Genesis 30:37-42).  But Laban changes his wages ten times (Genesis 31:7, 41) and makes it impossible for Jacob to influence the outcome.  Finally, Jacob realizes that the Lord is the One who is blessing him (Genesis 31:7-9, 42).

  1. JACOB AND LABAN AGREE UPON WAGES  (Genesis 30:25-36)
    1. Jacob Prepares to Leave Laban (Genesis 30:25-26).
      1. Jacob prepares to leave immediately after the birth of Joseph (Genesis 30:25).
      2. Jacob desires to return to his own country (Genesis 30:25).
      3. Jacob requests that his wives and children also go (Genesis 30:26).
    2. Laban Offers to Pay Jacob Wages (Genesis 30:27-28).
      1. Laban asks Jacob to stay because of God’s blessings on Jacob (Genesis 30:27).
      2. Laban offers Jacob an opportunity to determine his own wages (Genesis 30:28).
    3. Jacob Offers to Work for Specially Marked Cattle (Genesis 30:29-33).
      1. Jacob is concerned for providing for his own family (Genesis 30:29-30).
        1. Laban has been blessed during Jacob’s stay (Genesis 30:29-30).
        2. Jacob is concerned about when he will begin providing for his own house (Genesis 30:30).
      2. Jacob makes an offer to stay (Genesis 30:31-32).
        1. If Laban will agree to the deal, Jacob will stay (Genesis 30:31).
        2. Jacob will pass through the flock and remove the…. (Genesis 30:32)
          1. Speckled and spotted cattle
          2. Brown cattle among the sheep
          3. Spotted and speckled among the goats
        3. The word cattle can refer to more than sheep and goats, or it can refer to these only.
        4. The majority of sheep and goats in an oriental flock are either plain black or plain white. This made Jacob’s deal seem good.
      3. Jacob will deal honestly with Laban (Genesis 30:33).
    4. Laban Agrees to Jacob’s Terms (Genesis 30:34-36).
      1. Laban removes the goats and sheep from his cattle to give to Jacob (Genesis 30:34-35).
      2. Laban sets three days’ journey between himself and Jacob (Genesis 30:36).
  2. JACOB’S HERDS ARE GREATLY INCREASED (Genesis 30:37-43)
    1. Jacob Worked to Increase the Marked Cattle (Genesis 30:37-39).
      1. Jacob goes and gets some branches of Poplar trees, Hazel trees, and Chestnut trees and “pilled white strakes” in them (Genesis 30:37).
      2. Jacob sets these rods in the gutters of the water trough (Genesis 30:38).
      3. This is done at a certain time so that the animals conceive while facing the rods.
      4. Whatever it is that takes place, we know that Jacob gets results.
      5. Laban’s flocks breed speckled cattle (Genesis 30:39).
    2. Jacob Worked to Strengthen His Cattle (Genesis 30:40-42).
      1. Jacob set the faces of the flocks toward the ringstraked and all the brown in the flock of Laban (Genesis 30:40).
      2. Jacob put his own flocks by themselves (Genesis 30:40).
      3. When the stronger cattle conceived, Jacob laid the rods before their eyes in the gutters that they might conceive among the rods (Genesis 30:41).
      4. When the cattle were feeble, he did not place the rods before them (Genesis 30:42).
      5. The feeble were Laban’s, and the strong were Jacob’s (Genesis 30:42).
    3. Jacob Increased in Cattle and Servants (Genesis 30:43).
  3. JACOB DECIDES TO RETURN TO CANAAN (Genesis 31:1-16)
    1. Jacob Decides to Return to Canaan (Genesis 31:1-3).
      1. Laban and his sons turn against Jacob (Genesis 31:1-2).
        1. Laban’s sons said that Jacob had taken away all that was their father’s (Genesis 30:1).
        2. The countenance of Laban changed toward Jacob (Genesis 31:2).
      2. The Lord tells Jacob to return (Genesis 31:3).
    2. Jacob Tells Rachel and Leah of His Decision (Genesis 31:4-13).
      1. He tells of their father’s injustice to him (Genesis 31:4-8).
        1. Jacob tells Rachel and Leah that their father’s countenance has changed against Jacob (Genesis 31:4-5).
        2. Jacob tells of how faithfully he served Laban (Genesis 31:6).
        3. Jacob tells how his wages were changed ten times (Genesis 31:7).
        4. Jacob omits some of the events of the growth of his cattle (Genesis 31:8).
      2. He tells of God’s blessing to him (Genesis 31:9).
      3. He tells of God’s dream to him (Genesis 31:10-13).
        1. Jacob is given revelation concerning the cattle (Genesis 31:10-12).
          1. This occurs “at the time that the cattle conceived” (Genesis 31:10).
          2. Jacob had already made his preparations with the rods.
          3. If Jacob is telling the truth, then the Lord was confirming what Jacob had already done.
        2. Jacob is reminded of Bethel (Genesis 31:13).
          1. The place where Jacob anointed the pillar
          2. The place where Jacob vowed a vow unto God
    3. Rachel and Leah Support Jacob in His Decision (Genesis 31:14-16).
      1. Rachel and Leah were already upset with Laban over the lack of an inheritance (Genesis 31:14-15).
      2. Rachel and Leah encourage Jacob to follow God’s call (Genesis 31:16).
  4. JACOB FLEES FROM LABAN (Genesis 31:17-24)
    1. Jacob Flees While Laban Shears His Sheep (Genesis 31:17-21).
      1. Jacob gathers his family and cattle to leave (Genesis 31:17-18).
      2. Rachel stole the images that were her father’s (Genesis 31:19).
      3. Jacob leaves without Laban knowing that he is leaving (Genesis 31:20).
      4. Jacob passes over the river and sets his face toward the mount Gilead (Genesis 31:21).
    2. Laban Pursues after Jacob and Overtakes Him (Genesis 31:22-24).
      1. Laban learns of Jacob’s departure on the third day after Jacob fled (Genesis 31:22).
      2. Laban takes his brethren and pursues Jacob for seven days (Genesis 31:23).
      3. Laban overtakes Jacob at the mount Gilead (Genesis 31:23).
      4. God came to Laban in a dream instructing him to speak neither good nor bad to Jacob (Genesis 31:24).
  5. LABAN CATCHES JACOB IN MOUNT GILEAD (Genesis 31:25-42)
    1. Laban Makes His Accusations against Jacob (Genesis 31:25-30).
      1. Laban questions Jacob’s departure (Genesis 31:25-28).
      2. Laban tells Jacob of God’s intervention (Genesis 31:29).
      3. Laban asks Jacob why he stole his gods (Genesis 31:30).
    2. Jacob Allows Laban to Seek for His Gods (Genesis 31:31-35).
      1. Jacob offers death for anyone who stole the gods (Genesis 31:32).
      2. Jacob did not know that Rachel stole the images (Genesis 31:32).
      3. Laban searches Leah, Bilhah, and Zilpah’s tent to no avail (Genesis 31:33).
      4. Rachel hid the images under her so that Laban could not find them (Genesis 31:34-35).
    3. Jacob Makes His Accusations against Laban (Genesis 31:36-42).
      1. Jacob questions the reason for Laban’s hot pursuit (Genesis 31:36-37).
      2. Jacob reminds Laban of his faithful service (Genesis 31:38-41).
      3. Jacob tells Laban of God’s intervention because of Laban’s wickedness (Genesis 31:42).
  6. LABAN MAKES A COVENANT WITH JACOB (Genesis 31:43-55)
    1. Jacob and Laban Make a Heap of Stones (Genesis 31:43-47).
      1. Laban and Jacob make a covenant between each other (Genesis 31:43-45).
      2. Laban and Jacob ate upon the heap of stones (Genesis 31:46).
      3. Laban called the heap Jegarsahadutha, while Jacob called the heap Galeed (Genesis 31:47).
    2. Jacob and Laban Make a Covenant between Them (Genesis 31:48-53).
      1. The covenant was for the Lord to watch both sides (Genesis 31:49, 53).
      2. The pillar was set up for a boundary (Genesis 31:51-52).
    3. Jacob Makes a Sacrifice to the Lord (Genesis 31:54).
    4. Laban Returns to Haran in Peace (Genesis 31:55).

CONCLUSION:  It is God who gives us “power to get wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:18).  He is the One who has promised to provide for us (Philippians 4:19).  We need to work with the best of our ability and effort (Genesis 31:6, 38-40; Colossians 3:23).  But we need to know that God deserves credit for every blessing that we receive.  Also, we see God’s protection of Jacob from Laban.  However, God’s protection of Jacob will be seen more when we study Jacob’s encounter with his brother Esau in the next two chapters.

David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 23:19

Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.