Genesis 31:44
Now therefore come you, let us make a covenant, I and you; and let it be for a witness between me and you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.Laban, now pacified, if not conscience-stricken, proposes a covenant between them. Jacob erects a memorial pillar, around which the clan gather a cairn of stones, which serves by its name for a witness of their compact. "Jegar-sahadutha." Here is the first decided specimen of Aramaic, as contradistinguished from Hebrew. Its incidental appearance indicates a fully formed dialect known to Jacob, and distinct from his own. Gilead or Galeed remains to this day in Jebel Jel'ad, though the original spot was further north.44. Come thou, let us make a covenant—The way in which this covenant was ratified was by a heap of stones being laid in a circular pile, to serve as seats, and in the center of this circle a large one was set up perpendicularly for an altar. It is probable that a sacrifice was first offered, and then that the feast of reconciliation was partaken of by both parties seated on the stones around it. To this day heaps of stones, which have been used as memorials, are found abundantly in the region where this transaction took place. Both to our own consciences of our mutual obligations, and to God against either of us who shall break it, that he may severely punish us for it. Now therefore, come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou,.... Let us be good friends, and enter into an alliance for mutual safety, and make an agreement for each other's good. Laban perceiving that Jacob's God was with him, and blessed him, and made him prosperous, and protected him, was fearful, lest, growing powerful, he should some time or other revenge himself on him or his, for his ill usage of him; and therefore was desirous of entering into a covenant of friendship with him:

and let it be for a witness between me and thee; that all past differences are made up, and former quarrels subside, and everything before amiss is forgiven and forgotten, and that for the future peace and good will subsist; of which a covenant made between them would be a testimony.

Now therefore {i} come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee.

(i) His conscience reproved him for his misbehaviour toward Jacob, and therefore moved him to seek peace.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
44. a covenant] Cf. Genesis 26:28.

a witness] Heb. ‘ed. This word gives the keynote to the transaction, and introduces the play on the word Gilead in Genesis 31:47. But “a covenant” is not “a witness.” Surely some words have dropped out. Several commentators suggest: “And let us make a heap, and let it be for a witness.”As Laban found nothing, Jacob grew angry, and pointed out the injustice of his hot pursuit and his search among all his things, but more especially the harsh treatment he had received from him in return for the unselfish and self-denying services that he had rendered him for twenty years. Acute sensibility and elevated self-consciousness give to Jacob's words a rhythmical movement and a poetical form. Hence such expressions as אחרי דּלק "hotly pursued," which is only met with in 1 Samuel 17:53; אחטּנּה for אחטּאנּה "I had to atone for it," i.e., to bear the loss; "the Fear of Isaac," used as a name for God, פּחד, σέβας equals σέβασμα, the object of Isaac's fear or sacred awe.
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