It happened, when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, that I may go to my own place, and to my country. Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me go; for you know my service with which I have served you.”
Laban said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, stay here, for I have divined that Yahweh has blessed me for your sake.” He said, “Appoint me your wages, and I will give it.”
He said to him, “You know how I have served you, and how your livestock have fared with me. For it was little which you had before I came, and it has increased to a multitude. Yahweh has blessed you wherever I turned. Now when will I provide for my own house also?”
He said, “What shall I give you?”
Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything. If you will do this thing for me, I will again feed your flock and keep it. I will pass through all your flock today, removing from there every speckled and spotted one, and every black one among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats. This will be my hire. So my righteousness will answer for me hereafter, when you come concerning my hire that is before you. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and black among the sheep, that might be with me, will be counted stolen.”
Laban said, “Behold, let it be according to your word.”
Laban is an interesting character. He realizes that God is blessing Him because of Jacob, but he fails to give Jacob, the man God blesses, freedom. It isn’t very rational. It cannot go well in the long run for a person who enslaves God’s chosen people. It may seem to go well for a while, but later it will have a huge cost when God judges those who hurt his loved ones.
It is interesting how this story is a foreshadowing of the future condition of the Hebrews in Egypt. As soon as Joseph was born, Jacob is asked to stay as a servant to serve Laban in a land not his own. We will see this pattern again. Jacob asks to be let go to go to the land that God had given him but Laban would not accept the offer.
Satan still uses this same pattern in the world today. Good, hardworking people develop the land and built up cities but after a while, others begin to feel entitled to property even though they didn’t work for it at all. They begin to enslave those who love God and still work for a living. The day finally comes when God takes those who suffer under oppression away from those who oppress them. No Christian should ever participate in a scheme, whether promoted by the government or not, that obtains wealth off of the backs of workers, to give to those who didn’t work for it. Socialism is still a form of slavery because it takes the wages of the workers and gives it to those who did not work for the money. God is aware that this is happening and the time will come when His people will be released. We can trust God to take care of us in the mean time, as we shall see in this record.