B'resheet (Genesis) Chapter 31

B'resheet 31:1-2 Now Ya'akov heard the words of Lavan's sons, saying, "Ya'akov has taken away all that was our father's, and from what belonged to our father he has made all this wealth." And Ya'akov saw the attitude of Lavan, and behold, it was not friendly toward him as formerly.

Lavan and his sons were becoming jealous of Ya'akov and the great wealth he was accumulating while living with them.

B'resheet 31:3 Then the L-RD (Adonai) said to Ya'akov, "Return to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you."

Six years earlier, Ya'akov wanted to return to the Promised Land but he was prevented. Now it was G-d's timing for him to return.

B'resheet 31:4-9 So Ya'akov sent and called Rachel and Leah to his flock in the field, and said to them, "I see your father's attitude, that it is not friendly toward me as formerly, but the G-d of my father has been with me. And you know that I have served your father with all my strength. Yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times; however, G-d did not allow him to hurt me. If he spoke thus, 'The speckled shall be your wages,' then all the flock brought forth speckled; and if he spoke thus, 'The striped shall be your wages,' then all the flock brought forth striped. Thus G-d has taken away your father's livestock and given them to me.

Called Rachel and Leah - Ya'akov calls his wives to a private meeting place where they can not be overheard and could make plans for their exit.

Changed my wages ten times - Here we learn more about what has occurred over the last six years. Apparently Lavan saw how the breeding was constantly going in Ya'akov's favor and requested a change in the terms of their contract several times.

HaShem was the one that caused the animals to come out the way they did in Ya'akov's favor.

B'resheet 31:10-13 And it came about at the time when the flock were mating that I lifted up my eyes and saw in a dream, and behold, the male goats which were mating were striped, speckled, and mottled. Then the angel of G-d said to me in the dream, 'Ya'akov,' and I said, 'Here I am.' "And he said, 'Lift up, now, your eyes and see that all the male goats which are mating are striped, speckled, and mottled; for I have seen all that Lavan has been doing to you. 'I am the G-d of Bethel (Beit-El), where you anointed a pillar, where you made a vow to Me; now arise, leave this land, and return to the land of your birth.' "

The angel of G-d - Sometimes the "Angel of G-d" is just a regular angel. In this case we see He is much more. He says, "I am the G-d of Beit-El." This is another theophany, a pre-Bethlehem appearance of Yeshua.

B'resheet 31:14-16 And Rachel and Leah answered and said to him, "Do we still have any portion or inheritance in our father's house? "Are we not reckoned by him as foreigners? For he has sold us, and has also entirely consumed our purchase price. Surely all the wealth which G-d has taken away from our father belongs to us and our children; now then, do whatever G-d has said to you."

The corresponding Hebrew letter to this chapter is Tet -serpent; objective good-that which appears evil but is for our improvement.

Rachel and Leah support their husband's decision.

B'resheet 31:17-18 Then Ya'akov arose and put his children and his wives upon camels; and he drove away all his livestock and all his property which he had gathered, his acquired livestock which he had gathered in Paddan-aram, to go to the land of Canaan to his father Isaac.

They leave without saying good-bye.

B'resheet 31:19-21 When Lavan had gone to shear his flock, then Rachel stole the household idols that were her father's. And Ya'akov deceived Lavan the Aramean, by not telling him that he was fleeing. So he fled with all that he had; and he arose and crossed the Euphrates River, and set his face toward the hill country of Gilead.

Rachel stole the household idols - Why did she do this? We do not know for certain. There are a couple of possibilities.

  1. Most of the idols in that day were of feminine goddesses, goddesses of fertility. She may have felt that they would help her produce more children.
  2. The possessor of the family idols meant that individual would become the head of the family when the current head of the house passed away. She may have wanted to secure this position for Ya'akov over her brothers.

Again Ya'akov tries to outwit Lavan but it works out for the good.

B'resheet 31:22-23 When it was told Lavan on the third day that Ya'akov had fled, then he took his kinsmen with him, and pursued him a distance of seven days' journey; and he overtook him in the hill country of Gilead.

The hill country of Gilead - The hill country of Gilead is on the east side of the Jordan River. These hills are in modern day Jordan.

So Jacob had been traveling for 10 days at this point in time. Once they where in the hills it would have been harder for Jacob's family and herds to travel quickly.

B'resheet 31:24-29 And G-d came to Lavan the Aramean in a dream of the night, and said to him, "Be careful that you do not speak to Ya'akov either good or bad." And Lavan caught up with Ya'akov. Now Ya'akov had pitched his tent in the hill country, and Lavan with his kinsmen camped in the hill country of Gilead. Then Lavan said to Ya'akov, "What have you done by deceiving me and carrying away my daughters like captives of the sword? "Why did you flee secretly and deceive me, and did not tell me, so that I might have sent you away with joy and with songs, with timbrel and with lyre; and did not allow me to kiss my sons and my daughters? Now you have done foolishly. It is in my power to do you harm, but the G-d of your father spoke to me last night, saying, 'Be careful not to speak either good or bad to Ya'akov.'

Lavan has an encounter with the one true G-d.

Like captives of the sword - Lavan must have thought that Rachel and Leah would never have agreed to leave him willingly.

Sons and my daughters - Daughters and Grandchildren