May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us." So Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac.
1. An oath of God is a just means of confirmation to a lawful covenant for setting things out of doubt.
I. ENTIRE SEPARATION FROM TEMPTATION IS THE ONLY SAFETY. Very imperfect knowledge in the Mesopotamian family. Rachel's theft of the household gods a sign of both moral and spiritual deficiency. The religion of Jacob and his descendants must be preserved from contamination. Intercourse with the unenlightened and unsanctified, though necessary for a time and in some degree, must not be suffered to obscure the higher light, or surround us with practical entanglements which hinder our faithfulness to God.
II. WHEREVER THE SPIRITUAL LIFE IS FEEBLE IT IS WELL THAT THERE SHOULD BE SOLEMN PUBLIC ACTS OF COVENANT AND TESTIMONY. We want the Galeed and the Mizpah, the heap of witness and the watch-tower of faith. Many united together in the covenant, and thus became witnesses in whose presence the oath was taken. We are helped to faithfulness by the publicity of our vows. But the higher the spiritual life, the less we shall call in material things to support it. Jacob with Laban is not the true Jacob. All dependence upon the symbol and rite is more or less compromise.
III. THE CONTACT OF THE HIGHER FORM OF RELIGION WITH THE LOWER ONE, OF THE MEANS OF PREPARING THE WORLD FOR THE TRUTH. Laban and his family types of the lower order of religious knowledge and life. The covenant between the father-in-law and son-in-law in the name of the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor points to a rising light in the Mesopotamian family. We may be sure that the influence of Christianity will be supreme wherever it is brought face to face with men's religions. That influence may be embodied in matters of common life, in covenants between man and man, in laws and commercial regulations and social arrangements.
IV. THE SEED OF THE DIVINE LIFE IS PLANTED IN THE SOIL OF NATURE, BUT REVEALS ITS SUPERIORITY TO NATURE BY BRINGING ALL THINGS AND MEN INTO SUBJECTION TO ITSELF. Jacob, Rachel, and afterwards Joseph, present to the Spirit of God elements of character which require both elevation and renovation. The grace is given. On a natural foundation inherited from others God rears by his grace a lofty structure. The crafty and the thoughtful are often nearly allied. It is one of the spiritual dangers to which specially energetic and subtle minds are exposed, that they may so easily fall into an abuse of their superior mental quickness to the injury of their moral purity and simplicity. Jacob and Laban making their covenant together, and erecting their witnessing monuments, are another illustration of the homage which even very imperfect characters pay to the God of truth. They appeal to him, and they do so in the presence of a world which they know will justify God, and not the sinner. The God of Abraham, the God of Nahor, the God of Isaac, judged between them. Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount, and invited his brethren to a sacrificial banquet; and it was in that atmosphere of mingled reverence for God and human affection that the heir of the covenant bade farewell to all that held him in restraint. and set his face once more towards the land of promise. - R.
The Lord watch between me and thee.1. Injurious persons are most apt to suspect the innocent for doing wrong.
2. Wicked men would not have others wrong their children though they do it themselves.
3. Nature denieth polygamy though men's lusts design and plead for it.
4. Want of human witness to require fealty is no ground of breaking covenant security.
5. God Himself is witness to the covenants of men, and will see right to be done by them or judge for it.
6. The most fraudulent men may be strict upon others to press on them the testimony of God (ver. 50).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
2. Guilty fear makes men solicitous and intent to save themselves.
3. Sinful solicitousness for safety is full of words to little purpose (ver. 51).
4. Jealousy groundless contents not itself with God's witness, but will have visible assurance.
5. Wickedness may sometimes be content not to do harm to others when it is afraid itself.
6. The most injurious are most solicitous to secure themselves from the innocent, who think no harm unto them (ver. 52).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
2. Superstitious men, though convinced of the true way of God, yet worship and swear in old corrupt ways.
3. Oaths taken by false gods, or the true in false ways, are yet binding.
4. in making peace with idolaters it is lawful to take their corrupt swearing, but net to follow it.
5. True saints, when called to swear, must do it in the true fear of the true God.
6. It is just for saints to glorify God by swearing in just cases and making Him Judge (ver. 53).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)1. It is suitable unto a day of peacemaking for God's servants to make a feast.
2. The spirits of good men are free and ingenious even to such as have been adversaries to them.
3. Friendly invitations and communion are the best issue of hot debates.
4. The power of God so overrules as to make persecutors sleep under the shelter of such whom they have oppressed (ver. 54).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)1. The purposes of wicked men are not in their own hands to effect them. Laban goeth changed home.
2. Furious pursuits of the innocent God turneth to early departures of their enemies.
3. Overruling Providence can make unnatural men show natural affection.
4. Wicked men are convinced there cometh good to men only from the blessing of God.
5. Ungodly ones may use forms of blessing when yet they can procure none from God.
6. God turns oppressors to their own with rebukes who thirsted after the possessions of the innocent (ver. 55). So God delivereth His out of temptations.
(G. Hughes, B. D.)I. The ordinary use of this word is not quite the same as its original use. It is generally used as a kind of bond or link between parted friends; whereas it was first used as a SAFEGUARD AND WARNING between two men who were in some sort enemies, or, at least, but doubtful friends, and one of them very suspicious of the other.
1. When two men part, as Laban and Jacob parted, and their circumstances are such that, while absent from one another, one of them, or perhaps each of them, will have it in his power to injure the other in any way, in such a case let this word act as a wholesome warning: "Mizpah," a beacon or watch-tower. The Lord Himself is such. He overlooks all.
2. A servant must often be free from the ken of master or mistress. But there is an eye on that servant always — the all-seeing eye of God. He stands as a watch-tower between servant and master or mistress, marking and judging how each fulfils his part. Is the master or mistress kind, just, considerate? Is the servant faithful and true, honest, upright, diligent?
3. Men have many dealings with one another in business. The Lord stands and overlooks each bargain.
II. But though the original application of the word was such, yet it may very well be applied also in that other way in which it is so often used. When those who love one another are called to part — when friends, for instance, go from each other, when brothers and sisters separate, when children leave home, when even a husband is called to a distance, perhaps to a foreign land, and that for a long time — it is A GREAT COMFORT to remember that the Lord is as a watch-tower between those thus parted. The closest and dearest of all bonds is that of having one Father, one Saviour, one Spirit, one hope now, one eternal home hereafter. Those thus united are hardly absent, even when parted in the body.
(F. Bourdillon, M. A.)
(F. Bourdillon, M. A.).
PeopleAram, Isaac, Jacob, Laban, Leah, Nahor, Rachel
PlacesCanaan, Euphrates River, Galeed, Gilead, Jegar-sahadutha, Mizpah, Paddan-aram
TopicsBetwixt, Fear, Isaac, Jacob, Judge, Nahor, Oath, Sware, Sweareth, Swore
Outline1. Jacob, displeased with the envy of Laban and his sons, departs secretly.
19. Rachel steals her father's household gods.
22. Laban pursues after him, and complains of the wrong.
34. Rachel's plan to hide the images.
36. Jacob's complaint of Laban.
43. The covenant of Laban and Jacob at Galeed.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesGenesis 31:53
1245 God of the fathers
LibraryGen. xxxi. 11
Of no less importance and significance is the passage Gen. xxxi. 11 seq. According to ver. 11, the Angel of God, [Hebrew: mlaK halhiM] appears toJacob in a dream. In ver. 13, the same person calls himself the God of Bethel, with reference to the event recorded in chap. xxviii. 11-22. It cannot be supposed that in chap xxviii. the mediation of a common angel took place, who, however, had not been expressly mentioned; for Jehovah is there contrasted with the angels. In ver. 12, we read: "And behold …
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament
Appendix xvi. On the Jewish views About Demons' and the Demonised,' Together with Some Notes on the Intercourse Between Jews and Jewish Christians in the First Centuries.
How the Rude in Sacred Learning, and those who are Learned but not Humble, are to be Admonished.
Epistle Xlix. To Anastasius, Bishop of Antioch .
The Great Shepherd
And He had Also this Favour Granted Him. ...
A Treatise of the Fear of God;
Meditations for the Morning.
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