36 Then Jacob became incensed and brought charges against Laban. “What is my crime?” he said to Laban. “What is my sin, that you have pursued me? 37 You’ve searched all my possessions! Have you found anything of yours? Put it here before my relatives and yours, and let them decide between the two of us. 38 I’ve been with you these 20 years. Your ewes and female goats have not miscarried, and I have not eaten the rams from your flock. 39 I did not bring you any of the flock torn by wild beasts; I myself bore the loss. You demanded payment from me for what was stolen by day or by night. 40 There I was—the heat consumed me by day and the frost by night, and sleep fled from my eyes. 41 For 20 years I have worked in your household—14 years for your two daughters and six years for your flocks—and you have changed my wages 10 times! 42 If the God of my father, the God of Abraham, the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, certainly now you would have sent me off empty-handed. But God has seen my affliction and my hard work,[d] and He issued His verdict last night.”
43 Then Laban answered Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters; the sons, my sons; and the flocks, my flocks! Everything you see is mine! But what can I do today for these daughters of mine or for the children they have borne?44 Come now, let’s make a covenant, you and I. Let it be a witness between the two of us.”
45 So Jacob picked out a stone and set it up as a marker. 46 Then Jacob said to his relatives, “Gather stones.” And they took stones and made a mound, then ate there by the mound. 47 Laban named the mound Jegar-sahadutha, but Jacob named it Galeed.[e]
48 Then Laban said, “This mound is a witness between you and me today.” Therefore the place was called Galeed49 and also Mizpah,[f] for he said, “May the Lord watch between you and me when we are out of each other’s sight. 50 If you mistreat my daughters or take other wives, though no one is with us, understand that God will be a witness between you and me.” 51 Laban also said to Jacob, “Look at this mound and the marker I have set up between you and me. 52 This mound is a witness and the marker is a witness that I will not pass beyond this mound to you, and you will not pass beyond this mound and this marker to do me harm. 53 The God of Abraham, and the gods of Nahor—the gods of their father[g]—will judge between us.” And Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac. 54 Then Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain and invited his relatives to eat a meal. So they ate a meal and spent the night on the mountain. 55 [h]Laban got up early in the morning, kissed his grandchildren and daughters, and blessed them. Then Laban left to return home.
Jacob has had it with his father-in-law and he finally releases all his pent up anger. These two have been going at each other for at least twenty years now, trying to one-up each other. Laban suggests that they bury the hatchet by agreeing upon a covenant between them, which they do and they both call it “pile of witnesses” in their own language.
The terms were that Laban would leave Jacob alone if he treated his wives well and to no other ones, which Jacob adhered to for the rest of his life.
The most interesting thing about this covenant is that in our times, we see husbands and wives, friends, and other Christians using it to mark friendship or a deep connection when it actually meant the exact opposite.
Laban and Jacob were agreeing that God would watch each one of them for the other because they didn’t trust each other as far as they could respectfully throw the other.
Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac. This strange term seems like it is more of a designation or title denoting the awe that we should experience when we are in His presence.
He is after all the Creator of the universe who loves us and actually cares about our short, fragile lives.
There are many passages in Psalms and Proverbs that tell us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. This wisdom is to know God and have Him know us, because we can know God, just like Laban, or think we know Him, and He might not know us. Jesus lets us know this in Matthew:
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
This is something that had lead to my conversion, and I was overjoyed when I learned that a longtime friend of mine just recently gave himself to the Lord. He actually told me that he finally realized that he knew the Lord but that the Lord didn’t know him.
Do you know Him?
Does He know you?