Genesis 31:46
And Jacob said to his brothers, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap: and they did eat there on the heap.
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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. To wit, afterwards, Genesis 31:54, though it be here mentioned by anticipation.

They did eat there upon the heap, or rather by or beside the heap, as the Hebrew particle al is oft understood, as Psalm 23:2 81:7. And Jacob said unto his brethren, gather stones,.... Not to his sons, as the Targum of Jonathan and Jarchi; these would not be called brethren, and were not fit, being too young to be employed in gathering large stones, as these must be, to erect a monument with; rather his servants, whom he employed in keeping his sheep under him, and might so call them, as he did the shepherds of Haran, Genesis 29:4; and whom he could command to such service, and were most proper to be made use of in it; unless it can be thought the men Laban brought with him, whom Jacob before calls his brethren, Genesis 31:37, are meant; and then the words must be understood as spoken, not in an authoritative way, but as a request or direction, which was complied with:

and they took stones, and made an heap; they fetched stones that lay about here and there, and laid them in order one upon another, and so made an heap of them:

and they did eat there upon the heap; they made it like a table, and set their food on it, and ate off of it; or they "ate by" it (o), it being usual in making covenants to make a feast, at least to eat and drink together, in token of friendship and good will. The Chinese (p) call friendship that is most firm and stable, and not to be rescinded, "stony friendship": whether from a like custom with this does not appear.

(o) "apud", "juxta", "prope"; see Nold. Concord. Part. Heb. p. 691. (p) Martin. Hist. Sinic. p. 178.

And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap: and they did eat there upon the heap.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
46. his brethren] i.e. his followers and companions; see Genesis 31:23; Genesis 31:32.

an heap] Heb. gal. What we should now call a “cairn,” on the top of a mountain. Lat. tumulus.Verse 46. - And Jacob said unto his brethren, - Laban's kinsmen and his own (vide ver. 37) - Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap: - Gal, from Galal, to roll, to move in a circle, probably signified a circular cairn, to be used not as a seat (Gerlach), but as an altar (ver. 54), a witness (ver. 48), and a table (ver. 54), since it is added - and they did eat there - not immediately (Lange), but afterwards, on the conclusion of the covenant (ver. 54) - upon the heap. "I have been; by day (i.e., I have been in this condition, that by day) heat has consumed (prostrated) me, and cold by night" - for it is well known, that in the East the cold by night corresponds to the heat by day; the hotter the day the colder the night, as a rule.
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