And Jacob said unto his brethren, gather stones
Not to his sons, as the Targum of Jonathan and Jarchi; these would not be called brethren, and were not fit, being too young to be employed in gathering large stones, as these must be, to erect a monument with; rather his servants, whom he employed in keeping his sheep under him, and might so call them, as he did the shepherds of Haran, ( Genesis 29:4 ) ; and whom he could command to such service, and were most proper to be made use of in it; unless it can be thought the men Laban brought with him, whom Jacob before calls his brethren, ( Genesis 31:37 ) , are meant; and then the words must be understood as spoken, not in an authoritative way, but as a request or direction, which was complied with: and they took stones, and made an heap;
they fetched stones that lay about here and there, and laid them in order one upon another, and so made an heap of them: and they did eat there upon the heap;
they made it like a table, and set their food on it, and ate off of it; or they "ate by" it F15, it being usual in making covenants to make a feast, at least to eat and drink together, in token of friendship and good will. The Chinese F16 call friendship that is most firm and stable, and not to be rescinded, "stony friendship": whether from a like custom with this does not appear.
F15 (le) "apud", "juxta", "prope"; see Nold. Concord. Part. Heb. p. 691.
F16 Martin. Hist. Sinic. p. 178.