After Laban finishes searching every tent in Jacob’s party and fails to find his god idols, Jacob’s long pent-up anger explodes.
“These twenty years I have been with you;
your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried their young,
and I have not eaten the rams of your flock.
That which was torn by beasts I did not bring to you;
I bore the loss of it.
You required it from my hand,
whether stolen by day or stolen by night.”
Jacob lets Laban know that is he fully aware that Laban had been cheating him and constantly manipulating the terms of their original agreement.
He also lets him know that he more than complied with the legal obligations that were in custom at the time.
These were actually set forth in The Code of Hammurabi.
“If a visitation of God has occurred in a sheepfold or a lion has made a kill, the shepherd shall prove himself innocent in the presence of God, but the owner of the sheepfold shall receive from him the animal stricken in the fold.“-The Code of Hammurabi
Never really being able to accept that he had been outdone by Jacob, Laban’s answer is not surprising:
“Everything you have is mine.”
Nevertheless, the two men agree to make a peace treaty with another.
The treaty making process would have contained the following.
1) A clean animal cut up and divided into piles that Jacob and Laban would walk between signifying their agreement.
2) The setting up of “stone piles” to serve as a witness to the treaty that had been made.
3) A sworn oath which is articulated in verse 53.
4) The partaking of bread together.
What’s interesting is that Jacob and Laban named the pile of stones according to their respective native tongues.
“Jegarsahudutha” is Aramaic.
“Galeed” is Hebrew.
They both mean, “pile of witnesses”.
Jacob promised to treat Laban’s daughters well and to never add to his wives.
Subsequent Scripture shows that he never broke this agreement.
NEXT TIME WE BEGIN GENESIS CHAPTER 32