Laban caught up with Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mountain, and Laban with his relatives encamped in the mountain of Gilead. Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done, that you have deceived me, and carried away my daughters like captives of the sword? Why did you flee secretly, and deceive me, and didn’t tell me, that I might have sent you away with mirth and with songs, with tambourine and with harp; and didn’t allow me to kiss my sons and my daughters? Now have you done foolishly. It is in the power of my hand to hurt you, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Take heed to yourself that you don’t speak to Jacob either good or bad.’ Now, you want to be gone, because you greatly longed for your father’s house, but why have you stolen my gods?”
Jacob answered Laban, “Because I was afraid, for I said, ‘Lest you should take your daughters from me by force.’ Anyone you find your gods with shall not live. Before our relatives, discern what is yours with me, and take it.” For Jacob didn’t know that Rachel had stolen them.
Laban went into Jacob’s tent, into Leah’s tent, and into the tent of the two female servants; but he didn’t find them. He went out of Leah’s tent, and entered into Rachel’s tent. Now Rachel had taken the teraphim, put them in the camel’s saddle, and sat on them. Laban felt about all the tent, but didn’t find them. She said to her father, “Don’t let my lord be angry that I can’t rise up before you; for I’m having my period.” He searched, but didn’t find the teraphim.
It’s not a big surprise that after 20 years of dirty dealing that Jacob, Laban and his daughters didn’t trust each other. This is not what families are supposed to be like at all. Instead of loving and giving to each other, they are running away, robbing and hiding from each other.
To make matters worse, Jacob’s favorite wife, Rebekah, appears to have had a secret idolatry problem. She sneaked into her fathers place before she left and stole the family objects of worship. Rebekah came dangerously close to losing her life. This is a very realistic story from a human perspective, isn’t it?
Jacob is sure that nothing is wrong, even though he was being deceived by his own wife, and while Laban sifts through Jacob’s stuff, Rebekah is faking her period so that her father doesn’t discover what she is sitting on. Evidently, Rebekah was trained by one of the best swindlers around and now Laban was reaping what he sowed.
Jacob’s life of deception and running away had really taken a toll on his relationships with people. When we deceive all we gain is distrust. No matter how much money this family had, they didn’t have the most important thing: love. Fortunately, God loved them and when God loves us, things get better.