A. Jacob’s complaint—verses 1-8.
a. Why had Laban’s countenance changed?—verse 2. What do we read of Laban’s sons? Why did they complain? Were they carnal as their father, afraid, perhaps, that their inheritance was suffering?
b. Who commanded Jacob to return to the land of his fathers? Would Jacob’s departure be difficult and did the Lord command him in order to comfort him and strengthen him?
c. What was Jacob’s complaint against Laban? How did Laban try to deceive Jacob?
d. How does Jacob explain his prosperity?
1/ To whom does he ascribe his tremendous wealth? Verse 9
2/ What is the thrust of verses 10-12? What does the angel of the Lord show Jacob? Remembering that the rams of verse 12 are Laban’s rams, were these rams not of a solid colour? Why does the angel call them what he did in verse 12? Does he describe them, not from the viewpoint of what they were, but from the viewpoint of what God intended them to bring forth?
3/ Does not the angel, therefore, ascribe Jacob’s wealth, not to Jacob’s sagacity and cunning, but solely to the Lord?
e. What is the meaning of the expression, “I am the God of Bethel”, in verse 18? Does this expression mean that God would remember His promise at Bethel?—see ch. 28:13-15.
2. The answer of Leah and Rachel to Jacob’s complaint—verses 14-16.
a. Was there any love lost between them and their father? Why not?
b. What is meant in verses 15-16? Do they not say, first, that their father took their possessions, using them for his own carnal interest and, then, secondly, that it has become theirs? However, how did it become theirs? Did Laban give it to them? Who?
c. So, they are more than ready to leave with Jacob.
B. Laban’s pursuit of Jacob—verses 19-44.
1. Jacob steals away, unawares to Laban.
a. Did Laban intend harm to Jacob?—see verses 23, 29, 42. Did Laban intend Jacob to be empty handed?
b. Why did it take Laban only 7 days to overtake Jacob? Where did he overtake him?
2. Laban’s hypocrisy.
a. Is it true what we read in verse 26, that Jacob carried them away, as captives and with a sword?
b. Is it true what we read in verses 27-28? Would Laban have sent them away with mirth, etc? Did he intend to impoverish Jacob? Would the departure have been a fond farewell?
c. Who prevented Laban from doing harm to Jacob?—see verse 29. Notice that Laban speaks of the “God of your father”. Indeed, was the Lord Laban’s God?
d. And what disturbs Laban according to verse 30? Of what sin is he guilty?
3. Verses 31-36.
a. Why did Jacob leave Laban secretly?—verse 31. Did Jacob have a reason for fearing this? Should he have been afraid?—see verse 31. Why did not Jacob tell Laban what we read in verse 31? Would this impress Laban?
b. What did Jacob not know according to verse 32? What does this reveal to us of Rachel?
c. Why did not Laban find his gods?
4. Jacob’s exposure of Laban—verses 36-42.
a. What challenge does he hurl at Laban in verses 36-37?
b. Notice what we read in verses 38-41. Does verse 38 imply a Divine condemnation of Laban? Is it not God Who prevents animals from casting their young? Notice what we read in verses 39-40. What does Jacob mean when he speaks of Laban’s changing his wages 10 times? Is 10 a symbolical number? What does it symbolize? Does it mean that Laban put forth every effort to impoverish Jacob?
c. Why does Jacob speak of the God of Abraham and of Isaac in verse 42? What is the meaning of this Name? Does it mean that that God took care of Jacob, had given him His promise and was faithful to that promise?
d. Is Jacob’s indignation of verse 42 justified? Is it wholly justified? Was Jacob wholly blameless at the house of his uncle? But, was it justified in principle? Did not God increase Laban’s wealth tremendously the first 14 years, for Jacob’s sake? And Jacob was faithful to Laban?
5. Laban’s answer in verses 43-44.
a. This answer indicates that Laban has little to say. Jacob’s reproach had cut him to the quick.
b. Is it true what he says in verse 43? All these things may have been his? Were they his now?
c. And in a tone of self-sympathy, he asks the question in verse 43.
d. What does Laban propose in verse 44?