Bible Study Notes Rev. Betsy Perkins
Jacob’s Journey Home
The divisiveness of stuff becomes increasingly apparent in the family at Paddan Aram. Can trust ever be restored? Is reconciliation possible?
Jacob Flees from Laban (31:1-21)
o What were the signs that pushed Jacob to finally leave Paddan Aram?
o What does Jacob acknowledge about God when speaking to his wives? What is the message of his dream?
o What did Rachel take with her when she left home? Why? Does that change our understanding of what she says about God in vs.16?
o Rachel steals Laban’s gods in verse 19. Then in verse 20, the literal translation reads that Jacob “steals the heart of Laban.” What is Jacob’s final deception of Laban? Why does Jacob feel they need to flee in secret?
Laban Gives Chase (31:22-55)
o What is the warning that God gives Laban as he gives chase to Jacob?
o What is Laban’s biggest regret about the way that Jacob left? What is his complaint?
o What does Jacob vow will be the consequence for the one who stole Laban’s idols?
o John Goldingay writes, “No one can afford to trust anyone in this family.” Who becomes the deceiver now? How does Jacob feel? How does Laban feel?
o What is the purpose of the agreement/covenant between Laban and Jacob?
o Jegar Sahadutha = witness heap in Aramaic; Galeed = witness heap in Hebrew
o In what ways do families today try to restore trust when it has been broken? Jesus has given us a ministry of reconciliation (read 2 Corinthians 5:18-19). How can we fulfill that ministry in families that are torn with resentment, anger, fear and grief?
In light of this passage and our discussion, what one truth about God and about yourself stand out as something to “take to heart” this week?
Are there steps you will take, by God’s grace, to more fully apply it to your life?
Resources: Robert Alter, Genesis, 1996
John Goldingay, Genesis for Everyone, 2010
Max Lucado, Life Lessons with Max Lucado: Book of Genesis, 1997