Genesis 31: 43-55: Truce

“43 Laban answered Jacob, “The women are my daughters, the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks. All you see is mine. Yet what can I do today about these daughters of mine, or about the children they have borne? 44 Come now, let’s make a covenant, you and I, and let it serve as a witness between us.” 45 So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar. 46 He said to his relatives, “Gather some stones.” So they took stones and piled them in a heap, and they ate there by the heap. 47 Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha, and Jacob called it Galeed. 48 Laban said, “This heap is a witness between you and me today.” That is why it was called Galeed. 49 It was also called Mizpah, because he said, “May the Lordkeep watch between you and me when we are away from each other. 50 If you mistreat my daughters or if you take any wives besides my daughters, even though no one is with us, remember that God is a witness between you and me.” 51 Laban also said to Jacob, “Here is this heap, and here is this pillar I have set up between you and me. 52 This heap is a witness, and this pillar is a witness, that I will not go past this heap to your side to harm you and that you will not go past this heap and pillar to my side to harm me. 53 May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.” So Jacob took an oath in the name of the Fear of his father Isaac. 54 He offered a sacrifice there in the hill country and invited his relatives to a meal. After they had eaten, they spent the night there. 55 Early the next morning Laban kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then he left and returned home.” NIV

Someone pointed out that Jacob and Laban called a truce, which is better than all out war. But it is best of all when brothers ‘’dwell together in unity!’’ (Psalm 133:1). It wasn’t that these two men were now going to pursue friendly relations. They just agreed not to harm each other, and recognised that God was watching/listening to their commitment. It is a good thing to try to live consciously before God, recognising that He is the unseen observer of our thoughts, motives, actions…of everything.

‘Though these two men were far below the Christian ideal of character, it is evident that they lived in an habitual recognition of God and the eternal sanction of his presence. The Lord was to watch between them. God was to be witness and judge. They looked back on the days of Abraham with reverential awe and loyalty, and commemorated Abraham’s God.’ F.B.Meyer: ‘Devotional Commentary’, p.27.