Read 16.) Genesis 30:25 thru 33:20. The twins, Jacob and Esau are now 90. Jacob has been with his uncle and father-in-law, Laban, for 20 years. Read 30:25-36 very carefully; especially 32-36. Jacob asked to take the speckled, spotted and dark sheep and goats as his wages, to which Laban agreed. But, if you study verses 35+36 closely, Laban took all those, meaning he would let Jacob have all future speckled, spotted and dark flocks! The deceiver was once again deceived by one slicker than himself! Beginning at 30:37, thru 31:13 we’re told how that God saw Laban’s injustice, and caused the flocks to reproduce for Jacob super-abundantly! But, notice, too, we once again see this ‘Angel of the Lord’ for a 6th time. With verses 14 thru 23 of chapter 31, Jacob flees from Laban with all God has given to him. He had gotten a 3-day head start, and got as far as Gilead; it taking Laban 7 days to catch-up to them. Jacob had covered nearly 500 of the 600 miles to get home, having pushed everything a punishing 50 miles a day! Keep this in mind.
Then, from 31:25 to the end of the chapter, we have this exchange between Jacob and his uncle and father-in-law, Laban. He’s a real ‘piece of work’! See the ‘great personal injustice done him’, according to verses 26 thru 30; but then note his ‘true colors’ with verses 43 and 44, and 50 thru 53. If anyone has cause for righteous indignation, it was Jacob, as he made his case with verses 36 thru 42. Keep this in mind as you see how misused verse 49 has been! It may sound sweet… entirely divorced of its context. But, as it was originally stated by Laban, it was anything, but sweetness!
Chapters 32 and 33 are important. They have everything to do with the prophecies given in 25:22+23, and especially by Isaac, unto Esau, in 27:38-40. In the 20 years that have passed, Esau had literally subsumed and taken over Edom to the south and east of the Promised Land. Having done so, he’s now a powerful ruler, and can come to Jacob with 400 men. Jacob, in the meantime, had taken 4 wives, and begotten at least some 12 children, and no doubt more. Esau’s not coming to ‘greet’ Jacob in a brotherly manner. Esau is determined that the prophecies never come true! He’ll subsume Jacob and his family, and there will be no servitude on his part unto his younger brother, Jacob, ever! Jacob prays to the Lord with verses 9 thru 11. He ‘reminds’ God of His promises to him, also from 20 years before, back in 28:10 thru 22. This is a true prayer of faith! Jacob puts his plan in place, but it’s not any good. If Esau finds one group, and Jacob is not in it; he’ll simply search ’til he finds the other… and Jacob. Jacob plans even further means of trying to humanly prevent that which he fears, by appeasing Esau with valuable gifts. Will it work? He’s not certain, it will be a long night! Jacob wrestles with God, struggles and prevails. God promises Jacob success; as he prevailed with God, so he will prevail with Esau. He may now go out to Esau in faith! Jacob ‘knows’ Esau means no good, and that’s why he lied to Esau in verse 13 (remember 31:23 and my note above?), and fled to Succoth. These people! But, God still uses and blesses them! It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell