|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
31:43-55 Laban could neither justify himself nor condemn Jacob, therefore desires to hear no more of that matter. He is not willing to own himself in fault, as he ought to have done. But he proposes a covenant of friendship between them, to which Jacob readily agrees. A heap of stones was raised, to keep up the memory of the event, writing being then not known or little used. A sacrifice of peace offerings was offered. Peace with God puts true comfort into our peace with our friends. They did eat bread together, partaking of the feast upon the sacrifice. In ancient times covenants of friendship were ratified by the parties eating and drinking together. God is judge between contending parties, and he will judge righteously; whoever do wrong, it is at their peril. They gave a new name to the place, The heap of witness. After this angry parley, they part friends. God is often better to us than our fears, and overrules the spirits of men in our favour, beyond what we could have expected; for it is not in vain to trust in him.
Verse 47. - And Laban called it Jegar sahadutha: - A Chaldaic term signifying "Heap of testimony," βουνὸς τῆς μαρτυρίας (LXX.); tumulum testis (Vulgate) - but Jacob called it Galeed - compounded of Gal and 'ed and meaning, like the corresponding Aramaic term used' by Laban, "Heap of witness," βουνὸς μάρτυς (LXX.); acervum testimonii (Vulgate). "It is scarcely possible to doubt," says Kalisch, "that an important historical fact," relating to the primitive language of the patriarchs, "is concealed in this part of the narrative;" but whether that fact was that Aramaic, Syriac, or Chaldee was the mother-tongue of the family of Nahor, while Hebrew was acquired by Abraham in Canaan (Block, Delitzsch, Keil), or that Laban had deviated from the original speech of his ancestors (Jerome, Augustine), or that' Laban and Jacob both used the same language with some growing dialectic differences (Gosman in Lange, Inglis), Laban simply on this occasion giving the heap a name which would be known to the inhabitants of the district (Wordsworth), seems impossible to determine with certainty. The most that ran be reasonably inferred from the term Jegar-sahadutha is that Aramaic was the language of Mesopotamia (Rosenmüller); besides this expression there is no other evidence that Laban and Jacob conversed in different dialects; while it is certain that the word Mizpah, which was probably also spoken by Laban, is not Chaldee or Aramaic but Hebrew.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Laban called it Jegarsahadutha,.... Which in the Syriac and Chaldee languages signifies "an heap of witness"; it being, as after observed, a witness of the covenant between Laban and Jacob:
but Jacob called it Galeed; which in the Hebrew tongue signifies the same, "an heap of witness"; or "an heap, the witness", for the same reason. Laban was a Syrian, as he sometimes is called, Genesis 25:20, wherefore he used the Syrian language; Jacob was a descendant of Abraham the Hebrew, and he used the Hebrew language; and both that their respective posterity might understand the meaning of the name; though these two are not so very different but Laban and Jacob could very well understand each other, as appears by their discourse together, these being but dialects of the same tongue.
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