Posts Tagged ‘Laban’


Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran.”—Genesis 28:10

The Torah portion for this week, Vayetze, is from Genesis 28:10–32:3 and Hosea 12:13–14:10.

This week’s Torah portion is called Vayetze, which means ‘and he left.’ The portion could have just as easily been called Vayelech, ‘and he set out,’ and indeed later on down the line we do encounter another reading with that title. But this week’s selection isn’t about going places: It’s about knowing when to leave them.

The reading begins with Jacob leaving his hometown of Beersheba in order to escape his brother’s fury. In last week’s Torah reading, Jacob was able to attain the blessings of the firstborn by tricking his father, Isaac, leaving Esau feeling cheated, even though he had sold Jacob his birthright earlier. Jacob knew that he had to leave if he was going to survive.

Jacob ended up living with his mother’s brother, Laban, where he and Laban’s daughter, Rachel, fell in love. Laban made Jacob work seven years for Rachel’s hand in marriage, and then Laban pulled a last-minute stunt and switched Leah (Rachel’s older sister) for Rachel.

Jewish tradition teaches that Jacob and Rachel had anticipated this possibility and had made up secret signs to exchange under the wedding canopy. But when Rachel realized the amount of humiliation that her sister Leah would feel if she was exposed during the wedding, she relayed the signals to Leah and the wedding went off without a hitch. After all those years of waiting, Rachel could have held her ground, but she walked away in order to spare her sister the pain. In fact, Jacob worked another seven years in order to marry his true love, Rachel.

The Torah portion ends decades after it began with Jacob trying to leave Laban’s home. Laban made his leaving difficult, but Jacob persevered. Once again, he knew it was time to leave and nothing was going to stop him.

This week’s theme is all about knowing when to walk away — physically or emotionally. So much time and energy is wasted because we stay in relationships that are hurtful, or we stay away from loved ones because we can’t let go of past hurts. It’s important to know when it’s time to move on and change directions. But leaving is hard and change can be frightening. So we stay in jobs that drain us and live in places that no longer suit us. True, the unknown is uncomfortable. But it’s even more uncomfortable to stay stooped in a space where you don’t fit and no longer belong.

This week, take the challenge of leaving something behind: a bad habit, a toxic relationship, a never-ending argument, a dead-end job, the computer, the phone – know when to walk away. While it’s important to know where you are headed in life, it’s just as important to know when it’s time to leave the place you are right now.

http://www.holylandmoments.org/devotionals/taking-leave


In time Jacob became very wealthy, and he had large flocks, slaves, and asses. But he heard Laban‘s sons say, “Jacob has taken all that was our father’s, and from that which was our father’s he has gotten all this wealth.” He also saw that Laban did not act toward him the same as before. So Jacob rose and put his sons and his wives upon the camels and drove away all his cattle. He deceived Laban, for he did not tell him that he was fleeing away. So he fled across the river Euphrates, with all that he had, and set out on his way toward Mount Gilead.

Then Jacob sent messengers before him to his brother Esau. And he gave them this command, “Say to my lord Esau: ‘Your servant Jacob declares, I have lived with Laban and have stayed until now. I have oxen and asses, flocks and slaves, and I have sent to tell my lord, in order that I may win your favor.'” The messengers returned to Jacob with the report, “We came to your brother Esau, even as he was coming to meet you with four hundred men.”

Then Jacob was greatly alarmed and worried. So he divided the people that were with him and the flocks and the herds and the camels into two parts and said, “If Esau comes to the one and attacks and destroys it, then the other which is left can escape.”

Jacob also prayed, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear that he will come and attack me and kill the mothers and the children.”

Then Jacob took as a present for his brother Esau, two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, thirty milch camels and their young, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female asses and ten young asses. These he put, each drove by itself, in the care of his servants and said to them, “Go on before me and leave a space between the droves.”

He gave those in front this command: “When my brother Esau meets you and asks you, ‘To whom do you belong? and where are you going? and whose are these before you?’ then you shall say, ‘To your servant Jacob; it is a present sent by him to my lord Esau; and Jacob himself is just behind us.'” Jacob also commanded the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves, to make the same answer, and to say, “Jacob himself is just behind us.” For he said to himself, “I will please him with the present that goes before me, and then, when I meet him, perhaps he will welcome me.” So he sent the present over before him; but he himself spent that night in the camp.

Later that night he rose up and took his two wives, his two maid servants, and his eleven children, and sent them over the river Jabbok.

Jacob was left alone, and one wrestled with him until daybreak. When he saw that he did not win against Jacob, he struck the socket of his hip, and the socket of Jacob’s hip was strained, as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let thee go unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” He answered, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall be no longer Jacob, but Israel, which means Struggler with God; for you have struggled with God and with men and have won.” So he blessed him there. And Jacob called the place Penuel, which means Face of God, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, and my life has been saved.”

When Jacob looked up, he saw Esau coming with four hundred men. And he put the maid servants and their children in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and her son Joseph in the rear. Then Jacob himself went in front of them, and he bowed down to the ground seven times, as he drew near to his brother. Esau ran to meet him, threw his arms about his neck, and kissed him, and they wept.

When Esau looked up and saw the women and the children, he said, “Who are these with you?” Jacob answered, “The children whom God has so kindly given me.” Then the maid servants with their children came up and bowed down to the ground. Leah and her children also came and bowed down, and afterward Joseph and Rachel came up and bowed down before Esau.

Esau asked, “What do you mean by all this company which I met?” Jacob answered, “To win your friendship, my lord.” Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have.” But Jacob replied, “No, if now I have won your favor, receive this present from me to show that you are my friend. Take, I beg of you, the gift that I bring to you, for God has been generous to me, and I have enough.” So he urged Esau until he took it.

Then Esau said, “Let me at least leave with you some of the people who are with me.” But Jacob replied, “What need is there? Let me only enjoy your friendship, my Lord.” So Esau turned back that day on his way to Seir.

http://kids.ochristian.com/Childrens-Bible/Meeting-A-Brother-Who-Had-Been-Wronged.shtml


Then Jacob went on his journey and arrived at the land of the children of the East. And he looked and saw a well in the field, and there were three flocks of sheep lying down by it; for from that well they watered the flocks; but there was a large stone over the well. When all the flocks were gathered there, they used to roll away the stone and water the sheep and then put the stone back in its place over the well.

Jacob said to the men, “My friends, from where do you come?” They said, “We are from Haran.” Then he said to them, “Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?” And they said, “We know him.” And he said to them, “Is all well with him?” And they said, “All is well; indeed, this is Rachel his daughter coming with the sheep.” And he said, “See, the sun is still high! It is not time for the cattle to be gathered together. Water the sheep and feed them.” But they said, “We cannot until all the flocks are gathered together, and they roll away the stone from the well; then we will water the sheep.”

While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep; for she was a shepherdess. When Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban, his mother’s brother, and Laban’s sheep, he went up and rolled the stone from the well and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. Then Jacob kissed Rachel and wept aloud. And when Jacob told Rachel that he was a relative of her father and that he was Rebekah‘s son, she ran and told her father.

As soon as Laban heard about Jacob, his sister’s son, he ran to meet him, put his arms around him, kissed him many times, and brought him to his home. When Jacob told Laban all about these things, Laban said to him, “Surely you are my bone and my flesh.” So he remained with him a whole month.

Then Laban said to Jacob, “Should you serve me for nothing simply because you are related to me? Tell me what shall be your wages?” Now Laban had two daughters: the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful. Jacob loved Rachel, and so he said, “I will serve you seven years for Rachel your younger daughter.” And Laban said, “It is better for me to give her to you than to give her to any other man. Stay with me.” So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days, because he loved her so.

Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my time is up, and let me marry her.” So Laban gathered all the men of the place and made a feast. In the evening he took Leah his daughter and brought her to him, and Jacob received her as his wife.

When in the morning Jacob found it was Leah, he said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?” Laban said, “It is not the custom among us to give the younger in marriage before the older. Remain with this one during the marriage week, then we will give you the other also for the service which you shall give me during seven more years.” Jacob did so: he remained with Leah during the marriage week. Then Laban gave him Rachel his daughter to be his wife, but Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah. So he had to serve Laban seven years more.

http://kids.ochristian.com/Childrens-Bible/The-Deceiver-Deceived.shtml


Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing which his father had given him. And Esau said to himself, “My father will soon die; then I will kill Jacob, my brother.”

When the words of her older son Esau were told to Rebekah, she sent for her younger son Jacob and said to him, “Your brother, Esau, is going to kill you. Now therefore, my son, listen to me: run away to my brother Laban at Haran and stay with him for a time until your brother is no longer angry and he forgets what you have done to him. Then I will send and bring you back. Why should I lose both of you in one day?”

Then Jacob set out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. And when he arrived at a certain place, he passed the night there, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones from its place and put it under his head and lay down to sleep. Then he dreamed and saw a ladder set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and the angels of God were going up and down on it.

Jehovah also stood beside him and said, “I am Jehovah, the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your children. See, I am with you, and will keep you wherever you go and will bring you again to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he said, “Surely Jehovah is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was filled with awe and said, “This place is the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

So Jacob rose early in the morning and took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil upon the top of it. And he named that place Bethel, which means House of God. Jacob also made this promise, “If God will be with me and protect me on this journey which I am making and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, and if I return safe and sound to my father’s house, then Jehovah shall be my God, and this stone which I have set up as a pillar shall be a house of God. And of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give a tenth to thee.”

http://kids.ochristian.com/Childrens-Bible/Jacobs-Dream.shtml


When Abraham was very old and Jehovah had blessed him in every way, Abraham said to the eldest of his household servants, who had charge of all his affairs, “Put your hand under my hip, while I make you promise by Jehovah, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not let my son marry one of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live, but that you will go to my own country and to my relatives and there get a wife for my son Isaac.” The servant said to him, “Perhaps the woman will not be willing to follow me to this land. Must I then take your son back to the land from which you came?” Abraham said to him, “See to it that you do not take my son back there. Jehovah, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from my native land and who solemnly promised me, ‘To your children I will give this land,’ will send his angel before you and there you will get a wife for my son. But if the woman is not willing to come with you, then you will be free from this promise to me; only never take my son back there.” So the servant put his hand under Abraham’s hip and made the promise.

Then the servant took ten of his master’s camels and set out with precious gifts from his master. So he went to the town of Nahor. And he made the camels kneel down outside the town by the well in the evening, at the time when women go out to draw water. Then he said, “O Jehovah, the God of my master Abraham, give me, I pray thee, success to-day, and show kindness to my master Abraham. Here I am standing by the spring of water, and the daughters of the men of the town are coming out to draw water. May that young woman to whom I shall say, ‘Please let down your water-jar that I may drink’; and who answers, ‘Drink and I will also water your camels,’ may she be the one thou hast chosen for thy servant Isaac. By this I shall know that thou hast shown kindness to my master.”

Then even before he was through speaking, Rebekah, who was the grand-daughter of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, came out with her water-jar upon her shoulder. She was very beautiful and unmarried. She went down to the spring, filled her jar, and came up. Then the servant ran to meet her and said, “Please let me drink a little water from your jar.” She answered, “Drink, sir,” and quickly let down her water-jar from her shoulder upon her hand and gave him a drink.

When she had finished giving him a drink she said, “I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.” So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough and ran again to the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels. Meanwhile the man was silently gazing at her in order to find out whether Jehovah had made his journey successful or not.

As soon as the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold ring, five ounces in weight, and put it in her nose, and put on her arms two golden bracelets weighing five ounces, and said, “Whose daughter are you? Tell me, I beg of you. Is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?” She answered, “I am the grand-daughter of Milcah and Nahor. We have plenty of straw and feed, and there is a place for you to spend the night.”

Then the man bowed his head and worshipped Jehovah, saying, “Blessed be Jehovah, the God of my master Abraham, who has continued to show his mercy and his faithfulness toward my master. As for me, Jehovah has led me on the way to the house of my master’s relatives.”

Then the young woman ran and told these things to her mother’s family. Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban; and Laban ran out to the man at the spring. And when he saw the bracelets on his sister’s hands and the ring, and when he heard Rebekah say, “This is what the man said to me,” he went to the man, who was still standing by the camels at the spring, and said, “Come in, you who are blessed by Jehovah! Why do you stand outside? For I have cleared the house and have room for the camels.” So he brought the man into the house and took the packs off the camels and furnished straw and feed for them, and water to wash his feet and the feet of the men who were with him.

But when food was set before him to eat, he said, “I will not eat until I have made known my errand.” They answered, “Speak.” He said, “I am Abraham’s servant; and Jehovah has blessed my master greatly, so that he has become very rich. He has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, servants, and camels and asses. Now Sarah, my master’s wife, had a son when she was old, and my master has given him all that he has. My master also made me promise, saying, ‘Do not let my son marry one of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live, but go to my father’s home and to my relatives and there find a wife for my son.’

“When I said to my master, ‘What if the woman will not follow me?’ he said to me, ‘Jehovah, whom I love and serve, will send his angel with you and make you successful, and you will find for my son a wife from among my relatives and my father’s family. Then you shall be free from your promise to me. But if you go to my family and they do not give her to you, you shall also be free from your promise to me.’ So I came to-day to the spring and said, ‘O Jehovah, the God of my master Abraham, see, I am standing by the spring of water, if thou wilt make the errand on which I am going successful, then let the young woman who comes to draw, to whom I say, Please give me a little water from your jar to drink, and who shall say to me, Drink, and I will also draw for your camels, let that one be the woman whom Jehovah has chosen for my master’s son.’

“Even before I was through speaking, Rebekah came out with her water-jar on her shoulder and went down to the spring and drew water. And when I said to her, ‘Please let me drink,’ she quickly let down her water-jar from her shoulder and answered, ‘Drink, and I will also water your camels.’ So I drank, and she also watered the camels. Then I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ And she said, ‘The grand-daughter of Nahor and Milcah.’ So I put the ring in her nose and the bracelets on her arms. And I bowed my head and worshipped and blessed Jehovah the God of my master Abraham who had led me on the right way to find the daughter of my master’s brother for his son. Tell me whether or not you will deal kindly and truly with my master, so that I shall know what to do!”

Then Laban and his family answered, “The matter is in the hands of Jehovah. We cannot say either ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ See, Rebekah is before you; take her and go and let her be the wife of your master’s son, as Jehovah has said.”

When Abraham’s servant heard their words, he bowed to the ground before Jehovah. Then he brought out gold and silver ornaments and clothing and gave them to Rebekah. He also gave costly gifts to her brother and to her mother. And he and the men who were with him ate and drank and spent the night there.

When they rose in the morning, the servant said, “Send me away to my master.” But Rebekah’s brother and mother answered, “Let the young woman stay with us a month or at least ten days; after that she may go.” But he said to them, “Do not delay me, for Jehovah has given me success. Send me away that I may go to my master.”

Then they said, “We will call the young woman and ask her.” So they called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” She answered, “I will go.” So they sent away their sister Rebekah and her nurse with Abraham’s servant and his men.

They also blessed Rebekah, saying to her, “Our sister! may your children and their children become thousands and thousands!” Then Rebekah set out with her maids and, riding upon the camels, they followed the man. So the servant took Rebekah and went away.

Now Abraham had given all that he had to Isaac and had breathed his last, dying in a good old age, satisfied with living. In the evening, when Isaac had gone out in the field to meditate, he looked up and saw camels coming. Rebekah too looked up, and when she saw Isaac, she quickly alighted from the camel and said to the servant, “Who is this man walking in the field to meet us?” When the servant said, “It is my master,” she took her veil and covered her face. Then the servant told Isaac all that he had done. And Isaac brought Rebekah to the tent of Sarah his mother, and she became his wife; and he loved her.

http://kids.ochristian.com/Childrens-Bible/How-Rebekah-Became-The-Wife-Of-Isaac.shtml