Rachel and Leah answered him, “We no longer have any inheritance from our father’s possessions; and he considers us foreigners, since he has sold us; moreover, he has consumed everything he received in exchange for us. Nevertheless, the wealth which God has taken away from our father has become ours and our children’s anyway; so whatever God has told you to do, do.”–Genesis 31:14-16
Jacob’s wives Rachel and Leah are furious with their father Laban.
They are more than happy to pick up and go.
The reason is because Laban did not follow the usual betrothal customs of the time.
Under normal circumstances, a large part of the bride-price would go to the bride.
However, Laban ended up pocketing all the fruits of Jacob’s fourteen years of labor.
He treated his daughters like chattel.
Rather than properly marrying them off, he sold them for profit, as though they were not his flesh and blood.
In contrast, notice the respect Jacob showed his wives.
The first thing he did after God told him it was time to get going is consult with them.
And it is clear by their response that Jacob had taken their feelings into very serious consideration.
This was an important decision…for they would be separating from their family, forever.
However, Rachel will exact sweet revenge on her father by stealing the family gods.
According to Mesopotamian tradition, the person in possession of the family gods by default held claim to the family wealth and authority.
No doubt Rachel was planning to hold on to these prized possessions until Laban passed away.
Then she would appear to her family with the symbolic keys to the family safety box containing the will and rights to the family estate.
This was way above petty theft.
On top of that, the people of those times believed those idols were real and actually represented deities.
At the time, people prayed to these idols for healing, rain, protection etcetera.
Without those gods, Laban’s entire future was in jeopardy and he knew it.