Genesis 31 – 32

Genesis 31

Jacob departs from Laban with his possessions.

Jacob had taken much from Laban and he overheard Laban’s sons complaining about him. Jacob also noticed that Laban was getting more and more unhappy with him. Then God intervened to tell Jacob that it was time to return home.

Genesis 31:1 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. 31:2 And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before. 31:3 And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.

Jacob then communed with his wives in the fields.

31:4 And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock, 31:5 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.

Now we have things revealed that were not covered previously in detail.

31:6 And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. 31:7 And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me.

It is now said that Laban agreed that the speckled should be Jacob’s wages and when many were born speckled Laban changed Jacob’s wages to the streaked ones and so on.

31:8 If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked [streaked] shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstraked. 31:9 Thus God hath taken away the cattle [lesser cattle; ie goats and sheep] of your father, and given them to me.

Jacob tells his wives of his dream and how the angel of God promised him that the kids and lambs would be his.   

31:10 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 [ewes, lessor cattle] cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled.

31:11 And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I. 31:12 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. 31:13 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.

Then Jacob’s wives with whom he had consulted, agreed to go with him.

31:14 And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father’s house? 31:15 Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money. 31:16 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.

31:17 Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels; 31:18 And he carried away all his [lessor or small cattle ie sheep and goats] cattle [flocks of sheep and herds of goats], and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten in Padanaram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan.

Rachel steals the idol of her father; whether this was for its value, or in spite, or because she thought it a god is not revealed.

31:19 And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father’s.

Jacob slipped away in secret.

31:20 And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled. 31:21 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.

After three days Laban pursues Jacob.

31:22 And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob was fled. 31:23 And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days’ journey; and they overtook him in the mount Gilead.

God warns Laban to be careful with Jacob.

31:24 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.

31:25 Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mount: and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mount of Gilead.

Laban then seeks an opportunity to say good bye to his children and to Jacob.

31:26 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? 31:27 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? 31:28 And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? thou hast now done foolishly in so doing.

Laban then informs Jacob about the warning from God and insists that he intends no hurt to Jacob.

31:29 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.

Laban then makes it clear that he wants his idol back.

31:30 And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father’s house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?

Jacob says that he left secretly because he was afraid of being prevented, and that he knows nothing of Laban’s idol.

31:31 And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid: for I said, Peradventure thou wouldest take by force thy daughters from me. 31:32 With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou [take what you think is yours] what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them.

Laban searches but does not find what Rachel has hidden.

31:33 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. 31:34 Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel’s furniture [saddle], and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but found them not. 31:35 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.

Jacob is angry with Laban, not knowing the deceit of Rachel, and remonstrates with him.

31:36 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? 31:37 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.

31:38 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. 31:39 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. 31:40 Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes.

31:41 Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle [sheep and goats]: and thou hast changed my wages ten times. 31:42 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.

Laban answers Jacob saying that his family is also Laban’s family and he has no evil intent towards them.

31:43 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?

Laban makes a covenant with Jacob before God.

31:44 Now therefore come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee.

They set up a heap of stones as their border marker.

31:45 And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar. 31:46 And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap: and they did eat there upon the heap. 31:47 And Laban called it Jegarsahadutha: but Jacob called it Galeed. 31:48 And Laban said, This heap is a witness between me and thee this day. Therefore was the name of it called Galeed; 31:49 And Mizpah; for he said, The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.

Laban demands that Jacob take no other wives or afflict his daughters in Canaan; then Laban pledges that he will not pass beyond the pillar and stones to come unto Jacob in anger.

31:50 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. 31:51 And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold this pillar, which I have cast betwixt me and thee: 31:52 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.

31:53 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.

31:54 Then Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount, and called his brethren [the people with Laban to eat with his own family] to eat bread: and they did eat bread, and tarried all night in the mount.

In the morning Laban said his good byes and went back to his home.

31:55 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 had left his family and his brother Esau, fleeing alone and penniless from the just wrath of his brother, after he had bought the birthright and stolen the blessing from his brother Esau.

As a young man Jacob must have heard of God’s prophecy regarding himself from his mother and had sought its fulfillment by his own worldly dishonest ways, instead of obeying the Word of God and waiting on God to bless him in God’s own way and time.

Today the spiritually called out mainly rely on their own ways and traditions, instead of learning and living by every Word of God.  Just like Jacob we are trying to achieve eternal life in the spiritual Promised Land by our own ways, by doing what we think is right and following our own false traditions; instead of trusting and faithfully keeping the whole Word of God.

Yet after more than 20 years Jacob had been humbled and been made rich through many trials, and it is through many trials that the spiritually called out are humbled and made spiritually rich.

Most of today’s spiritual Israel is now about to go into a grave trial that will humble us and teach us to exalt the whole Word of God above all else. 

Just as Jacob learned during his trials, I am quite certain that most of us will also be humbled and learn; and that we will become rich with the spiritual gold tried in the fire of affliction.


Genesis 32

Certain angels from God meet Jacob on his journey

Genesis 32:1 And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 32:2 And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God’s host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim.

Jacob sends messengers to his brother Esau: this time he calls Esau his lord and calls himself the servant of Esau.  Jacob has grown up and learned many lessons over his twenty years with Laban!

Brethren, we are all unfinished products who still have much to learn to become truly godly people;  let us examine and correct ourselves so that we might spiritually grow to become ever more like God our Father in heaven and like the Son, by zealously keeping the whole Word of God.

32:3 And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom. 32:4 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: 32:5 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.

The messengers returned to Jacob and told him that Esau was coming with 400 men.  Now Esau went forth to greet and welcome Jacob, but Jacob because of his guilt was terrified and took steps to save at least half of his family.

32:6 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. 32:7 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; 32:8 And said, If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape.

After doing what he could physically, Jacob then calls out to God in real sincere repentance as he remembers his guilt against his brother.  Jacob at last was humbled and understood his true personal wickedness and need for God. Jacob deeply repented and began to rely on the eternal instead of living by his own ways.

Jacob finally learned that he could not inherit the birthright or the blessings by doing his own ways, and that only by being zealously faithful to God and God’s Word would he be saved and inherit the promises.

Brethren, we also need to learn this lesson to exalt the Eternal and live by his Word, above our own leaders and our own ways. God’s promises are conditional on our faithfulness to do his will and to live by every Word of God.

32:9 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: 32:10 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. 32:11 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. 32:12 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.

Jacob then sends presents of peace and repentance ahead of him to Esau; as is fitting for a godly person.  Physically Jacob repented and gave gifts to his brother who he had sinned against.

Spiritually we are to likewise humble ourselves before God against who we have sinned and sincerely repent; and we must then give God the gift of faithful loving obedience to our Awesome Father and his Son. 

32:13 And he lodged there that same night; and took of that which came to his hand a present for Esau his brother; 32:14 Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams, 32:15 Thirty milch camels with their colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals.

32:16 And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove [flock] by themselves; and said unto his servants, Pass over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove.

Jacob had separated each gift so that they reached Esau one after the other and not all together.

Spiritually this represents the continual giving of the gift of our passionate love and wholehearted faithful lifelong [eternal] keeping of the Word of God.

32:17 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? 32:18 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. 32:19 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.

As the heart of Esau was melted by the display of humility and generous love form Jacob; so we will become acceptable to God our Father through our sincere repentance, the application of the Passover sacrifice of the Lamb of God, and by our personal loving gift of continual HOT ZEAL for all God’s Will and Word to learn them and to keep them.

Brethren, God has given us more that we could ever even begin to repay; all He asks is that we return his love by doing what he has recorded in his Word for our own good.

32:20 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. 32:21 So went the present over before him: and himself lodged that night in the company.

Jacob then sent his most precious possessions ahead of himself, and in doing this Jacob trusted in the mercy of God to motivate reconciliation with his brother Esau.

32:22 And he rose up that night, and took his two wives [Rachel and Leah] , and his two womenservants [Bilhah and Zilpah], and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok. 32:23 And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had

When Jacob was alone in the night an angel came to him and wrestled with him.

32:24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. 32:25 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. 32:26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.

Just as Jacob would not let go; we are never to let go of our zeal for the whole Word of God for therein lies a great blessing!  IF we are faithful to cleave to every Word of God with all our hearts and minds and with all the strength that a merciful God gives us; then we shall inherit the birthright and promises of our calling!

32:27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.

The name “Jacob” means usurper or supplanter and refers to the evil nature of Jacob when he trusted in himself and his own ways before he learned to be faithful to God.  The word “Israel” means to be strong with God; as in trusting and obedient to, and so having power [influence] with.

32:28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power [persevered] with God and with men, and hast prevailed.

No man ever prevails OVER God; instead we prevail over evil with God’s help

The word “power” is not best translation.  Best translation is “as a prince you have persevered [and not given up]”.  Jacob was no quitter. 

See Strong’s numbers.

Genesis 32:28 And he said 559 8799, Thy name 8034 shall be called 559 8735 no more Jacob 3290, but Israel 3478: for as a prince hast thou power [properly persevered] 8280 8804 with God 430 and with men 582, and hast prevailed 3201 8799.(Israel: that is, A prince of God)

The meaning is that by persevering and cleaving to God and not letting go of God [never quitting] he has prevailed; and received a blessing. 

This is an allegory that we are to persevere in the pursuit of godliness and cleave to God and never let go of God; so that WITH God’s help we can prevail against Satan and sin like true prince of God, and so receive God’s blessing.

The life of Jacob is a marvelous example of God’s ability to perform his will and mold us into the vessels he wants us to be. 

This man Jacob left his home a selfish usurper, liar and thief and returned home a humble godly man: Having learned perseverance through his dedicated love for Rachel, and through that perseverance he learned humility, and through humility he learned godliness. 

God provided the lessons and Jacob persevered and would not give up.  Then on his return to his own land God met with Jacob and tested him one last time to see if he was a quitter or if he would remain in his new found commitment to godliness.

Jacob sought the name of the angel [messenger], who refused to reveal his name; he was likely the Elohim who later became Jesus Christ.

32:29 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. 32:30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.

Jacob limped as he journeyed in the morning.

32:31 And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted [limped] upon his thigh.

32:32 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.


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