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Jacob, the heel-catcher, has met a kindred spirit. Both men are deceivers and manipulators. Both do whatever they can to get the better of the other. It just comes naturally. Laban tricks Jacob first by marrying him to Leah before Rachel. Then, after Jacob and he agree on a clear strategy to separate the flocks, Laban goes behind his back and takes away the animals that rightfully belong to Jacob. But Jacob is crafty, too, and he devises a way to produce striped, speckled, and spotted animals from Laban’s flocks. After the many years of service, Jacob finally outwits Laban and gains a more valuable flock in the process. Deception may work for a while, but there are dire consequences that come with it. Jacob’s situation is about to change, and it isn’t long before his deceptive days are behind him.

31 As time went on, Jacob overheard what Laban’s sons were saying about him.

Laban’s Sons: Jacob has taken everything that belonged to our father; he gained all his wealth from taking advantage of him.

And Jacob also noticed a change in how Laban looked at him and treated him. He seemed colder toward him than before.

Eternal One (to Jacob): You must now return to the land of your ancestors and to your own family. I will be with you always.

So Jacob called his wives Rachel and Leah to meet him in the field where his flock was grazing.

Jacob: I notice your father’s attitude toward me has changed; he doesn’t regard me with the same respect as he did before. But the God of my father has been with me. You both know how well I have served your father—with all my strength. However your father cheated me by changing the terms of my salary 10 times, but beyond that my God did not allow him to harm me. If your father said, “The speckled will be your payment,” then all of the flock became speckled; and if he said, “the striped will be your payment,” then all of the flock became striped. In this way, God has taken away your father’s livestock and given them to me. 10 During the mating season of the flock, I once paid attention to a dream, and in the dream, I saw the male goats that mated with the flock were striped, speckled, and mottled. 11 Then God’s messenger said to me in the dream, “Jacob!” and I answered, “I’m here.” 12 And the messenger said, “Look up right now, and see all of the goats that are mating with the flock are striped, speckled, and mottled because I have noticed everything Laban is doing to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel, the place where you poured oil on a pillar and made a vow to Me.[a] Now get up, leave this land, and return to the land where you were born.”

Rachel and Leah: 14 Is there any inheritance at all left for us from our father’s house? 15 He regards us as foreigners now that we’ve married you. He sold us in exchange for your years of labor, and he has been using up all of the money that should have been ours. 16 All of the property God has taken from our father and given to you actually belongs to us and to our children anyway! So do whatever God said to do.

17 So Jacob got up, and he put his children and his wives on camels for the journey. 18 He rounded up all of his livestock and all of the property he had gained, including the livestock he had acquired in Paddan-aram, and he began to drive them to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan. 19 Meanwhile Laban had gone off to shear his sheep. While he was out, Rachel stole her father’s household idols. 20 And Jacob likewise deceived Laban the Aramean by hiding from him the fact that he was leaving. 21 He just left quickly with everything he had. He crossed the Euphrates River and set pace south toward the hill country of Gilead.

22 Three days later, Laban was told that Jacob had left. 23 So he gathered a group of his relatives, and together they pursued him for seven days until they closed in on Jacob in the hill country of Gilead. 24 Then God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream during the night with a message.

Eternal One: Be careful what you say and do to Jacob.

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  1. 31:13 Genesis 28:18

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