Jacob and his father-in-law Laban did not get along very well. 

After working for Laban for twenty years, Jacob was told by God to leave him and go back to his father’s home.  So he packed up his wives and his children and gathered together all the livestock he had earned while working for Laban, and he left without telling him. 

Three days later, Laban found out that Jacob had run away, and he went after him.   There was a big chase and after seven days, Laban caught up with Jacob.

What did you mean to do to secretly steal away from me?  I would have sent you off with drum and lyre music.  You didn’t even let me kiss my grandchildren goodbye!  You’re lucky because your God visited me last night and told me not to yell at you.”

Now here’s something interesting.  Jacob the trickster complained to his father-in-law that Laban had tricked him!   For 20 years, said Jacob, he had worked for Laban and the ewes never lost their lambs and none of the flock were eaten by lions.  He worked day and night, he said.  And in return Laban had changed his wages ten (in some translations 100) times!  If it hadn’t been for God, said Jacob, you’d have sent me off empty handed!

Okay, said Laban.  We’ll make a treaty, you and I, and you can go.  But if I ever hear you mistreated my daughters, or took other wives, watch out!

Now something strange happened during this episode.  Before they left, Rebecca, Jacob’s wife, had stolen her father’s gods.  When Laban asked after them, Jacob, not knowing about Rebecca’s theft, told Laban to search all his tents.  When Laban came to Rebecca’s tent, she was sitting on a camel saddle – and guess what was underneath?  She said to her daddy “I can’t get up because “the manner of women is upon me,” meaning she had her period.  So Laban searched the tent and didn’t find the gods.  Which was a good thing because Jacob had promised to kill whoever had them.

Food for Thought

Why do you think Jacob left without saying goodbye?