Genesis 31:54
Then Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount, and called his brethren to eat bread: and they did eat bread, and tarried all night in the mount.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(54) Jacob offered sacrifice.—The meaning is, that Jacob slaughtered cattle, and made a feast: but as animals originally were killed only for sacrifice, and flesh was eaten on no other occasion, the Hebrew language has no means of distinguishing the two acts.

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.The covenant is then completed. And Mizpah. This refers to some prominent cliff from which, as a watch-tower, an extensive view might be obtained. It was in the northern half of Gilead Deuteronomy 3:12-13, and is noticed in Judges 11:29. It is not to be confounded with other places called by the same name. The reference of this name to the present occurrence is explained in these two verses. The names Gilead and Mizpah may have arisen from this transaction, or received a new turn in consequence of its occurrence. The terms of the covenant are now formally stated. I have cast. The erection of the pillar was a joint act of the two parties; in which Laban proposes, Jacob performs, and all take part. "The God of Abraham, Nahor, and Terah." This is an interesting acknowledgment that their common ancestor Terah and his descendants down to Laban still acknowledged the true God even in their idolatry. Jacob swears by the fear of isaac, perhaps to rid himself of any error that had crept into Laban's notions of God and his worship. The common sacrifice and the common meal ratify the covenant of reconciliation.

- Jacob Wrestles in Prayer

3. מחנים machănāyı̂m, Machanaim, "two camps."

22. יבק yaboq, Jabboq; related: בקק bāqaq "gush or gurgle out" or אבק 'ābaq in niphal, "wrestle." Now Wady Zurka.

29. ישׂראל yı̂śrā'ēl, Jisrael, "prince of God."

31. פניאל penı̂y'ēl equals פנוּאל penû'ēl, Peniel, Penuel, "face of God."

After twenty years spent in Aram, Jacob now returns to Kenann. As his departure was marked by a great moment in his spiritual life, so he is now approaching to a crisis in his life of no less significance

52. This heap be witness—Objects of nature were frequently thus spoken of. But over and above, there was a solemn appeal to God; and it is observable that there was a marked difference in the religious sentiments of the two. Laban spake of the God of Abraham and Nahor, their common ancestors; but Jacob, knowing that idolatry had crept in among that branch of the family, swore by the "fear of his father Isaac." They who have one God should have one heart: they who are agreed in religion should endeavor to agree in everything else. Then Jacob offered sacrifice; either to give God thanks for the great mercies and deliverances vouchsafed to him, or to beg God’s blessing upon the present treaty, and upon their whole family. But it is not so probable that Jacob would choose that time for the offering of sacrifices when Laban was present, whom he could neither honestly admit to them, nor conveniently exclude from them. And therefore, seeing the same Hebrew word signifies killing as well as sacrificing, as appears from Numbers 22:40 1 Samuel 28:24 1 Kings 1:9 2 Chronicles 18:2, &c., I rather understand it of his killing of beasts, in order to a feast which he made for his brethren, whom he called, as it here follows, to eat bread, & c., under which phrase all meats are usually comprehended in Scripture, as hath been already noted, and will appear hereafter. And this practice was usual in those times, to confirm covenants by a feast. See Genesis 26:30.

Then Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount,.... On Mount Gilead, not in a religious way, in which he could not join with Laban, or admit him to it; but in a civil way he "slew a slaughter" (s), or rather made one; that is, as Jarchi explains it, he slew cattle for a feast, as it was usual to make feasts for the several parties concerned in covenant, see Genesis 26:30,

and called his brethren, to eat bread; the, men that came with Laban, and him also, these he invited to his feast, for all sorts of food is called bread:

and they did eat bread, and tarried all night in the mount; this affair between Laban and Jacob had took up the whole day, at evening they feasted together upon the covenant being made, and then tarried all night to take their rest.

(s) "et mactavit mactationem", Drusius, Cartwright, Schmidt, Ainsworth.

Then Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount, and called his brethren to eat bread: and they did eat bread, and tarried all night in the mount.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
54. offered a sacrifice] Lit. “killed a sacrifice.” The killing of an animal for sacrifice was the occasion of a feast. The sacrifice consisted not only in an offering to the Deity, but also in the eating of portions of the sacrificial victim by both the contracting parties of the covenant; cf. Genesis 26:30.

eat bread] i.e. to take a meal. To partake of food together was the sign of restored friendship and trust between disputing parties.

Verse 54. - Then Jacob offered sacrifice - literally, slew a slaying, in ratification of the covenant - upon the mount, and called his brethren (Laban's followers, who may have withdrawn to a distance during the interview) to eat bread. The sacrificial meal afterwards became an integral part of the Hebrew ritual (Exodus 14:3-8; Exodus 29:27, 28; Leviticus 10:14, 15). And they did eat bread, and tarried all night in the mount. Genesis 31:54These words of Jacob "cut Laban to the heart with their truth, so that he turned round, offered his hand, and proposed a covenant." Jacob proceeded at once to give a practical proof of his assent to this proposal of his father-in-law, by erecting a stone as a memorial, and calling upon his relations also ("his brethren," as in Genesis 31:23, by whom Laban and the relations who came with him are intended, as Genesis 31:54 shows) to gather stones into a heap, which formed a table, as is briefly observed in Genesis 31:46, for the covenant meal (Genesis 31:54). This stone-heap was called Jegar-Sahadutha by Laban, and Galeed by Jacob (the former is the Chaldee, the latter the Hebrew; they have both the same meaning, viz., "heaps of witness"),

(Note: These words are the oldest proof, that in the native country of the patriarchs, Mesopotamia, Aramaean or Chaldaean was spoken, and Hebrew in Jacob's native country, Canaan; from which we may conclude that Abraham's family first acquired the Hebrew in Canaan from the Canaanites (Phoenicians).)

because, as Laban, who spoke first, as being the elder, explained, the heap was to be a "witness between him and Jacob." The historian then adds this explanation: "therefore they called his name Gal'ed," and immediately afterwards introduces a second name, which the heap received from words that were spoken by Laban at the conclusion of the covenant (Genesis 31:49): "And Mizpah," i.e., watch, watch-place (sc., he called it), "for he (Laban) said, Jehovah watch between me and thee; for we are hidden from one another (from the face of one another), if thou shalt oppress my daughters, and if thou shalt take wives to my daughters! No man is with us, behold God is witness between me and thee!" (Genesis 31:49, Genesis 31:50). After these words of Laban, which are introduced parenthetically,

(Note: There can be no doubt that Genesis 31:49 and Genesis 31:50 bear the marks of a subsequent insertion. But there is nothing in the nature of this interpolation to indicate a compilation of the history from different sources. That Laban, when making this covenant, should have spoken of the future treatment of his daughters, is a thing so natural, that there would have been something strange in the omission. And it is not less suitable to the circumstances, that he calls upon the God of Jacob, i.e., Jehovah, to watch in this affair. And apart from the use of the name Jehovah, which is perfectly suitable here, there is nothing whatever to point to a different source; to say nothing of the fact that the critics themselves cannot agree as to the nature of the source supposed.)

and in which he enjoined upon Jacob fidelity to his daughters, the formation of the covenant of reconciliation and peace between them is first described, according to which, neither of them (sive ego sive tu, as in Exodus 19:13) was to pass the stone-heap and memorial-stone with a hostile intention towards the other. Of this the memorial was to serve as a witness, and the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father (Terah), would be umpire between them. To this covenant, in which Laban, according to his polytheistic views, placed the God of Abraham upon the same level with the God of Nahor and Terah, Jacob swore by "the Fear of Isaac" (Genesis 31:42), the God who was worshipped by his father with sacred awe. He then offered sacrifices upon the mountain, and invited his relations to eat, i.e., to partake of a sacrificial meal, and seal the covenant by a feast of love.

The geographical names Gilead and Ramath-mizpeh (Joshua 13:26), also Mizpeh-Gilead (Judges 11:29), sound so obviously like Gal'ed and Mizpah, that they are no doubt connected, and owe their origin to the monument erected by Jacob and Laban; so that it was by prolepsis that the scene of this occurrence was called "the mountains of Gilead" in Genesis 31:21, Genesis 31:23, Genesis 31:25. By the mount or mountains of Gilead we are not to understand the mountain range to the south of the Jabbok (Zerka), the present Jebel Jelaad, or Jebel es Salt. The name Gilead has a much more comprehensive signification in the Old Testament; and the mountains to the south of the Jabbok are called in Deuteronomy 3:12 the half of Mount Gilead; the mountains to the north of the Jabbok, the Jebel-Ajlun, forming the other half. In this chapter the name is used in the broader sense, and refers primarily to the northern half of the mountains (above the Jabbok); for Jacob did not cross the Jabbok till afterwards (Genesis 32:23-24). There is nothing in the names Ramath-mizpeh, which Ramoth in Gilead bears in Joshua 13:26, and Mizpeh-Gilead, which it bears in Judges 11:29, to compel us to place Laban's meeting with Jacob in the southern portion of the mountains of Gilead. For even if this city is to be found in the modern Salt, and was called Ramath-mizpeh from the even recorded here, all that can be inferred from that is, that the tradition of Laban's covenant with Jacob was associated in later ages with Ramoth in Gilead, without the correctness of the association being thereby established.

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