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Jacob comes to Laban after Joseph is born. Jacob wants to leave, and asks that Laban will allow him to go. Laban asks Jacob to stay because Laban realizes that he has been blessed because the Lord is with Jacob. Laban tells Jacob to choose what his wages will be for staying on to work. Jacob agrees. What Jacob proposes is that instead of wages, Jacob will continue to work Laban’s sheep. Instead of wages, Jacob wanted all of Laban’s lesser quality sheep, the spotted, speckled or brown sheep and the spotted and speckled goats. Laban will know whether Jacob has been honest by the flocks – if there are any unblemished sheep or goats among Jacob’s flock, Laban can consider them stolen. Laban agrees to this – after all Jacob is offering to remove the less desirable of Laban’s flock for him.
So Jacob goes through, removes the agreed on sheep and goats and then moves his flocks 3 days away from Laban’s. He continues to care for Laban’s flocks. Jacob encourages the sheep to conceive, but they only had speckled, streaked, or spotted lambs. The stronger sheep he increased and the lesser sheep he let alone, and the lesser sheep were Laban’s. In this way Jacob prospered greatly.
Verses 1-16 Jacob overhears Laban’s sons complaining that Jacob had taken away Laban’s wealth. Jacob also noticed that Laban wasn’t as pleased with him as he used to be. So the Lord tells Jacob to return to his father’s land. Jacob talks with Rachel and Leah and they all agree that they should leave.
Verses 17-21 Jacob loads up his family to leave. Laban is gone away to the sheep shearing. Rachel steals the household idols from Laban’s home. So Jacob leaves without telling Laban.
Verses 22-42 Laban finds out three days later about Jacob’s leaving. Laban gets some men and pursues after Jacob. In seven days Laban overtakes Jacob. God warns Laban to not be confrontational with Jacob. When Laban meets Jacob, he just asks Jacob why he left in secret. He says that God told him to not harm Jacob. But Laban wants to know why Jacob would steal Laban’s idols.
Jacob explains that he was afraid that Laban would force Leah and Rachel to stay with him, but that whomever they find took the idols should be put to death. He said this because he did not know that Rachel had stolen the idols. Laban looks in Leah’s tent and then looks in Rachel’s tent. Rachel was sitting on the hiding place, but she didn’t get up when Laban came in. She uses her monthly cycle as the excuse. So Laban did not find the idols.
Jacob becomes angry because it seems Laban has falsely accused him. Jacob reminds Laban that he worked for 20 years and Laban has only prospered because of it. He reminds Laban that Laban has not dealt honestly with Jacob, but the Lord protected Jacob anyway. The men make an agreement to not bring harm to one another because of their connection through Leah and Rachel. After this Laban heads back home.
Jacob heads on to Isaac’s home. Jacob sends messengers ahead to Esau. The messengers return saying that Esau is coming to meet Jacob, with 400 men. So Jacob divides all his people into two smaller groups, so that if attacked one group may be left. He prays to God for help. Jacob stays in that place and gathers together a gift of Esau. 220 goats, 220 sheep, 30 mother camels and their colts, 40 cows, 10 bulls, 20 female donkeys and 10 foals – He sent these in spread out in groups, in hopes of appeasing Esau.
Verses 22-32 Jacob takes his family and sends them to the other side of the river Jabbok. This leaves Jacob alone. A man comes and wrestles with Jacob until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip and caused it to be dislocated. Jacob refuses to let the man go unless the man blesses him. The man says, “What is your name?” Jacob tells him. The man says he will no longer be called Jacob. Now he will be called Israel (means “Prince with God”), because he has struggled with God and men and prevailed. The man blesses Jacob. Jacob calls the place Peniel (face of God) because “I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” Jacob walked away limping, and the people of Israel never ate the meat on the hip because of what happened to Jacob.
Jacob looks up and sees Esau coming. He sends his family to meet him, maidservants and children first, Leah and children next, and Rachel and Joseph last. Jacob goes ahead of all of them and bowed to the ground seven times before reaching Esau.
Esau says he doesn’t need Jacob’s gifts, but Jacob asks him to take the gift because God has cared so well for Jacob. Esau excepts. The two men work together to get Jacob’s family safely home, then Esau heads back home ahead of the others. So Jacob comes home, and makes a home for his family in his father Isaac’s land.
image can be found at: https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-I9-vcXWpyWo/Txi1eLLnLtI/AAAAAAAACGI/Z_5PmdiKsXk/s1600/Jacob+meets+Laban.jpeg
Note: Links to outside sources and those of pictures or clip art do not mean I am in agreement with any or all of the information given there. I am simply attempting to give credit for the work of others that I have borrowed.