Jacob runs away from Laban
1: And he heard the words of Laban's sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father's; and of that which was our father's hath he gotten all this glory. 2: And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before. 3: And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee. 4: And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock, 5: And said unto them, I see your father's countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me. 6: And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. 7: And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me. 8: If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstraked. 9: Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me. 10: And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled. 11: And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I. 12: And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. 13: I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred. 14: And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house? 15: Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money. 16: For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is ours, and our children's: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do. 17: Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels; 18: And he carried away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten in Padan-aram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan. 19: And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father's. 20: And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled. 21: So he fled with all that he had; and he rose up, and passed over the river, and set his face toward the mount Gilead.
Laban chases Jacob
22: And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob was fled. 23: And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days' journey; and they overtook him in the mount Gilead. 24: And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said unto him, Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad. 25: Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mount: and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mount of Gilead. 26: And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou done, that thou hast stolen away unawares to me, and carried away my daughters, as captives taken with the sword? 27: Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp? 28: And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? thou hast now done foolishly in so doing. 29: It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt: but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad. 30: And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father's house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods? 31: And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid: for I said, Peradventure thou wouldest take by force thy daughters from me. 32: With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them. 33: And Laban went into Jacob's tent, and into Leah's tent, and into the two maidservants' tents; but he found them not. Then went he out of Leah's tent, and entered into Rachel's tent. 34: Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel's furniture, and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but found them not. 35: And she said to her father, Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the custom of women is upon me. And he searched, but found not the images. 36: And Jacob was wroth, and chode with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What is my trespass? what is my sin, that thou hast so hotly pursued after me? 37: Whereas thou hast searched all my stuff, what hast thou found of all thy household stuff? set it here before my brethren and thy brethren, that they may judge betwixt us both. 38: This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten. 39: That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night. 40: Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes. 41: Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times. 42: Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.
Jacob makes a new covenant
43: And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and these cattle are my cattle, and all that thou seest is mine: and what can I do this day unto these my daughters, or unto their children which they have born? 44: Now therefore come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee. 45: And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar. 46: And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap: and they did eat there upon the heap. 47: And Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha: but Jacob called it Galeed. 48: And Laban said, This heap is a witness between me and thee this day. Therefore was the name of it called Galeed; 49: And Mizpah; for he said, The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another. 50: If thou shalt afflict my daughters, or if thou shalt take other wives beside my daughters, no man is with us; see, God is witness betwixt me and thee. 51: And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold this pillar, which I have cast betwixt me and thee; 52: This heap be witness, and this pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm. 53: The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us. And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac. 54: Then Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount, and called his brethren to eat bread: and they did eat bread, and tarried all night in the mount. 55: And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them: and Laban departed, and returned unto his place.
Jacob prepares to meet Esau
1: And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 2: And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim. 3: And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom. 4: And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye speak unto my lord Esau; Thy servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed there until now: 5: And I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and womenservants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight. 6: And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him. 7: Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands; 8: And said, If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape. 9: And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee: 10: I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands. 11: Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children. 12: And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude. 13: And he lodged there that same night; and took of that which came to his hand a present for Esau his brother; 14: Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams, 15: Thirty milch camels with their colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals. 16: And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by themselves; and said unto his servants, Pass over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove. 17: And he commanded the foremost, saying, When Esau my brother meeteth thee, and asketh thee, saying, Whose art thou? and whither goest thou? and whose are these before thee? 18: Then thou shalt say, They be thy servant Jacob's; it is a present sent unto my lord Esau: and, behold, also he is behind us. 19: And so commanded he the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves, saying, On this manner shall ye speak unto Esau, when ye find him. 20: And say ye moreover, Behold, thy servant Jacob is behind us. For he said, I will appease him with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept of me. 21: So went the present over before him: and himself lodged that night in the company.
Jacob wrestles with God
22: And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two womenservants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok. 23: And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had. 24: And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. 25: And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. 26: And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. 27: And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. 28: And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. 29: And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. 30: And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. 31: And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh. 32: Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank.
Jacob meets Esau
1: And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids. 2: And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost. 3: And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. 4: And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept. 5: And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who are those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant. 6: Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves. 7: And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves. 8: And he said, What meanest thou by all this drove which I met? And he said, These are to find grace in the sight of my lord. 9: And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself. 10: And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me. 11: Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it. 12: And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee. 13: And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die. 14: Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant: and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure, until I come unto my lord unto Seir. 15: And Esau said, Let me now leave with thee some of the folk that are with me. And he said, What needeth it? let me find grace in the sight of my lord. 16: So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir. 17: And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth. 18: And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padan-aram; and pitched his tent before the city. 19: And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for an hundred pieces of money. 20: And he erected there an altar, and called it El-elohe-Israel.
In today’s reading we see how Jacob has to break away from Laban and how Jacob has to learn how to break off relations to follow after God. And later we see how Jacob has to learn how to be restored to his brother Esau. The story of Jacob is a series of lessons on interpersonal-relationships. In yesterdays reading we saw that Jacob was trying to break off ties with Laban. First Jacob heard what others were saying about him and it was not good. They were saying that Jacob had been stealing Laban’s sheep. When he came into contact with Laban he found that there was not the same open relationship between them. Then the LORD appeared to Jacob telling him to go home. So Jacob called his wives to meet him where the sheep were gathered and he explained what the situation was. Then the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a dream and said l have seen what Laban did to you now get up and go back to Bethel where you set up a pillar. Jacob got up and set his sons and wives on camels and set out. Laban had gone to shear his sheep so Jacob knew he would be very busy. Rachel had stolen the images of her father. Jacob didn’t tell Laban that he was leaving. After three days Laban found out that Jacob had left so he gathered his men and chased after Jacob for seven days. However the LORD appeared to Jacob telling him not to speak a word in favour or against him. When Laban met Jacob he said to him why did you leave without telling me? You slipped away with ‘my daughters’ as if you had stolen them as slaves. I could do you harm but God appeared to me and told me not to say anything to you good or bad. However my idols are missing. Why did you steal them? Jacob said search for them not realising who had taken them. They searched everywhere but Rachel was sitting on them. She said please excuse me not getting up but this is my monthly time. After all the searching Jacob was infuriated. It was the time for plain speaking. He said l have been with you for twenty years. I have served you for fourteen years for my wives and six years for the cattle. And you have changed my wages ten times. If God had not looked after me then l would have been leaving with nothing. God has seen what l have been putting up with and he rebuked you the night before last. Laban answered that everything you have is mine but let us make a covenant which will be a permanent understanding between us. Now that all the air had been cleared. Jacob went on his way and angels from the LORD met him on the way. Then Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to Esau his brother. And they had a special greeting from Jacob but they brought back news that Esau had 400 men with him and this made him afraid. Perhaps his brothers anger was still hot toward him. So Jacob divided his people into two companies in case Esau attacked. At least half would escape. Then Jacob prayed asking for special protection from the Lord. He reminds God of his promises and he confesses his unworthiness. Then he says deliver me from the hand of my brother because l am afraid. Then he sent all the cattle and servants over the brook and then he slept alone. He arranged for three sets of presents of the flock for Esau. Jacob was alone - yet there wrestled with him a man until the breaking of the day. when his adversary saw that he could not win the fight he touched the hollow of his thigh and put it out of joint. Jacob was a defeated man but he hung on until daybreak and the man said let me go but Jacob said no not until you bless me. then the man said What is your name? and he said Jacob - liar, supplanter, deceiver, trickster. The man said from now on you will be called Israel and as Gods prince you will have authority with God and men. Jacob was blessed there. Jacob named the place Penuel because he said that he saw God face to face. When the sun rose he staggered on his thigh. He was a broken man. It was not that he had mastered God but that God had finally mastered him. When dawn came he lifted up his eyes and saw Esau coming. Jacob sent all his family ahead of him but he kept Rachel and Joseph at the back. Eventually Esau ran to meet him he hugged him kissed him and wept for joy. He said to Esau, seeing your face was like seeing the face of God and you were pleased to see me. Sometimes there comes a shadow between men and it is allowed to carry on for a long time yet after prayer and courage its better to speak in love and put the past behind.