Chapter 31: ‘
Jacob notices that Laban’s sons are getting angry and bitter over how wealthy he’s becoming while working for Laban, and wouldn’t you know it? Right around then as they’re eyeing Jacob and stroking the hilts of their swords menacingly, Jacob hears from God that it’s time to leave and head back to Canaan. Good timing, Lord!
Jacob asks his wives if they can go and they’re like, “Phppt… yeah, this place sucks. He sold us and spent all the money he should have kept for our dowry. Screw him.”
So Jacob leaves town with everything he has and doesn’t tell Laban who is out sheering sheep at the time and Rachel makes off with Laban’s gods. Which is really funny to say. You’d think if they were really gods, they could have stopped her.
Anyway, Laban finds Jacob and his stuff missing and goes off to murder him and steal his stuff, but God vetoes that idea. Laban yells at Jacob for a bit. Jacob yells at Laban. Laban spends time looking for his gods. Maybe they just didn’t like you, Laban.
Marduk: “Yeah, screw that guy.”
He keeps looking and finds Rachel sitting on her camel which is a bit odd. Rachel has hidden his gods under her saddle. Dramatic tension.
But fortunately, Rachel knows what era she lives in and tells her dad she can’t get down because she’s on her period and all the guys go, “Ewwww…. Woman things….” And they leave her alone and stay away from her because girl cooties.
Jacob and Laban make a pillar of rocks and agree that Jacob will stay on his side and Laban will stay on his side.
So for the record, that’s now two blood relatives that want to kill Jacob. The hero of our story, folks.
As Jacob is coming home, he’s getting close to Esau’s place, so he sends envoys to his brother telling him, “Hey, uh, I’m rich now… so don’t worry about my share of dad’s stuff… you can… you can keep that for yourself. U mad bro?”
And Esau replies by gathering 400 guys together to go out and meet Jacob. Jacob freaks and decides to give religion another try.
“Oh Lord… help?”
He puts together a quick gift for Esau and sends his family away hoping they’ll be able to escape a slaughter, then falls asleep and wrestles with God all night. God cripples Jacob. God wants to leave. Jacob won’t let him go without a blessing. God says, “Okay, your name is Israel now. Happy?” And Israel lets him go.
Jacob and Esau meet and Esau runs up and hugs him and kisses him. They both cry at the reunion.
Esau once again seems like a pretty stand-up guy. He declines Jacob’s gift, but Jacob insists he take it. He offers to escort his brother to their location, presumably protecting them from bandits, but Jacob declines and the two brothers end up parting with Jacob implying that he’ll meet Esau down in Seir, but going away from his brother’s lands and settling in Sukkoth and then Shechem where he buys some land and settles down.
Personally, I’d like to hear more about Esau, he seems like he’d be a bit more heroic and over the top like Hercules or Achilles or some Greek hero.
But instead, we’re going to stick with Jacob and get a tale of genocide next chapter. Yea?