Jacob was in general, a man of devotion and integrity; yet he had more trouble than any of the patriarchs.Here is,
- His resolution to return, ver. 1 - 16.
- His clandestine departure, ver. 17 - 21.
- Laban's pursuit of him in displeasure, ver. 22 - 25.
- The hot words that passed between them, ver. 26 - 42.
- Their amicable agreement at last, ver. 43 - 55.
|31:1||It should seem they said it in Jacob's hearing. The last chapter began with Rachel's envying Leah; this begins with Laban's sons envying Jacob. He has gotten all his glory - And what was this glory? It was a parcel of brown sheep and speckled goats, and some camels and asses. Jacob has taken away all that was our fathers - Not all, sure; what was become of those cattle which were committed to the custody of Laban's sons, and sent three days journey off?|
|31:3||The Lord said unto Jacob, Return and I will be with thee - though Jacob had met with very hard usage, yet he would not quit his place 'till God bid him. He came thither by orders from heaven, and there hewould slay 'till he was ordered back. The direction he had from heaven is more fully related in the account he gives of it to his wives, where he tells them of the dream he had about the cattle, and the wonderful increase of those of his colour; and how the angel of God in that dream instructed him that it was not by chance, nor by his own policy, that he obtained that great advantage but by the providence of God, who had taken notice of the hardships Laban had put upon him, and in performance of his promise.|
|31:4||And Jacob sent for Rachel and Leah to the field - That he might discourse with them more privately.|
|31:9||God hath taken away the cattle of your father and given them to me - Thus the righteous God paid Jacob for his hard service out of Laban's estate; as afterwards he paid the seed of Jacob for their service of the Egyptians with their spoils.|
|31:16||Whereas Jacob looked upon the wealth which God had passed over from Laban to him as his wages, they look upon it as their portions; so that both ways God forced Laban to pay his debts, both to his servant and to his daughters.|
|31:19||Laban went to shear his sheep - That part of his flock which was in the hands of his sons, three days journey off. Now, ||31:23||He took his brethren - That is, his relations, and pursues Jacob to bring him back into bondage, or, to strip him of what he had.||31:24||Speak not, either good or bad - That is, say nothing against his going on with his journey, for the thing proceedeth from the Lord. The same Hebraism we have, Genesis 24:50 . The safety of good men is very much owing to the hold God has of the consciences of bad men, and the access he has to them.||31:27||I might have sent thee away with mirth and with songs, with tabret and with harp - Not as Rebekah was sent away out of the same family above one hundred and twenty years before, with prayers and blessings, but with sport and merriment; which was a sign that religion was much decayed in the family.||31:29||It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt - He supposeth that he had both right on his side, and strength on his side, either to revenge the wrong, or recover the right. Yet he owns himself under the restraint of God's power; he durst not injure one of whom he saw to be the particular care of heaven.||31:30||Wherefore hast thou stolen my gods? - Foolish man! to call those his gods that could be stolen! Could he expect protection from them that could neither resist nor discover their invaders? Happy are they who have the Lord for their God. Enemies may steal our goods, but not our God.||31:31||Jacob clears himself by giving the true reason why he went away unknown to Laban; he feared lest Laban would by force take away his daughters and so oblige him to continue in his service. As to the charge of stealing Laban's gods, he pleads not guilty. He not only did not take them himself, but he did not know that they were taken.||31:42||Jacob speaks of God as the God of his father, intimating that he thought himself unworthy to be thus regarded, but was beloved for his father's sake. He calls him the God of Abraham and the fear of Isaac: for Abraham was dead, and gone to that world where there is no fear; but Isaac was yet alive, sanctifying the Lord in his heart as his fear and his dread.||31:43||All his mine - That is, came by me.||31:44||Let us make a covenant - It was made and ratified with great solemnity, according to the usages of those times.||31:54||And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac - The God whom his father Isaac feared, who had never served other gods, as Abraham and Nahor had done.|