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Jacob flees from Laban (31:1-55)

As Laban and his sons became increasingly hostile to him, Jacob prepared to leave for Canaan without delay (31:1-13). Leah and Rachel agreed, for they too were angry with Laban. He had used them to make himself rich, but apparently had no intention of giving them a share in the inheritance (14-16). Therefore, when they fled, Rachel stole her father’s household idols, for according to Mesopotamian custom possession of these gave her some right to the inheritance (17-21).Laban was upset to find that Jacob and his family had escaped, but was particularly upset that they had taken his idols with them. However, when he caught up with Jacob he was unable to find his idols (22-35). Jacob could bear Laban’s persecution no longer, and accused him of heartless ingratitude in view of Jacob’s twenty years hard work for him (36-42).Jacob and Laban, equally suspicious of each other, then made an agreement to prevent one from attacking the other. They set up a stone as witness to their agreement and, by eating a sacrificial meal together, bound themselves to their word (43-55).

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