Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar. Jacob said to his relatives, “Gather stones.” They took stones, and made a heap. They ate there by the heap. Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha, but Jacob called it Galeed. Laban said, “This heap is witness between me and you this day.” Therefore it was named Galeed and Mizpah, for he said, “Yahweh watch between me and you, when we are absent one from another. If you afflict my daughters, or if you take wives besides my daughters, no man is with us; behold, God is witness between me and you.” Laban said to Jacob, “See this heap, and see the pillar, which I have set between me and you. May this heap be a witness, and the pillar be a witness, that I will not pass over this heap to you, and that you will not pass over this heap and this pillar to me, for harm. The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.” Then Jacob swore by the fear of his father, Isaac. Jacob offered a sacrifice in the mountain, and called his relatives to eat bread. They ate bread, and stayed all night in the mountain. Early in the morning, Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them. Laban departed and returned to his place.
Jacob doesn’t strike me as a guy who who would mistreat his wives, but it appears that Laban thought otherwise. Not only that, Laban was afraid that Jacob might come back and attack him, so he made Jacob promise that he wouldn’t cross to the other side of this pile of rocks that they set up. Jacob doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who would want to steal all of Laban’s stuff either. Where did Laban get the idea that Jacob was like this? All he did was run for freedom.
I think that Laban was judging Jacob as if Jacob was like he was. Laban might be tempted to take Jacob’s stuff so Laban protected himself from someone who might be like himself. What a frustrating life it is to be bad and have to protect yourself from people like yourself. It was Laban who sold his daughters. It was Laban who was cheating Jacob. It was Laban who thought that, even though he had agreed to sell things to Jacob that everything still belonged to him somehow. Laban projected his problem onto Jacob and accused him of it. This appears to be happening to the Jews again today. It’s insanity of a horrifying sort to the onlooker.
It is interesting that Laban was so desperate to find his gods but when he was filled with fear about Jacob, he invoked Yahweh. All of us are like Laban when we don’t believe God. We become filled with fear and inconsistency. God’s word is very plain and clear, but, in our desire to justify our idols, we complicate our own lives and end up living in fear instead. Trusting in God leads to sanity, not trusting in God leads to insanity. May God help us with our unbelief.