11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.

12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s brother, and that he was Rebekah’s son: and she ran and told her father.

13 And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things.

14 And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month.

The similarities between Jacob’s story and Abraham’s servant continue, as each of them are joyously welcomed into the home of their kin. Laban, Jacob’s maternal uncle, agrees to let his nephew live with them indefinitely. Though the man has been a complete stranger to them all his life, there is an immediate bond created by their family heritage.

As someone who is both a nephew and an uncle, I find it far easier to relate to this hospitality when I put myself in the shoes of the uncle. By that I mean, if I were to approach any of my uncles to ask if I could live with them, I would feel anxious and unsure about whether they would be willing to accommodate me. If, on the other hand, any of my nephews ever came to me for help, I would absolutely do whatever I could for them. I suppose that I am better able to feel the bonds that flow downward than upward.

Indeed, I wonder how many of get into trouble in our youth simply because we underestimate what lengths our elder kin would go to to save us if they only knew. Out in the wilderness, Jacob also seemed very unsure about whether there would be anyone to receive and support him, but after this episode it is clear that he never had anything to worry about.

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