36 And Jacob was wroth, and chode with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What is my trespass? what is my sin, that thou hast so hotly pursued after me?

38 This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten.

39 That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night.

40 Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes.

41 Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times.

42 Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.

This is quite the tirade from Jacob! We saw him run from his old home in fear of Esau and we saw him steal away quietly from his second home in fear of Laban. Now, though, being chased by Laban seems to have been one terror too many. At long last he comes out and expresses all his frustration and hurt.

I can’t help but imagine Jacob has inwardly yearned to give this speech to his father-in-law for a long time. One affliction after another spills out of him in a rapid-fire rant. He bore the loss of every goat, he served for twenty years, he had his wages changed ten times, he exposed himself to the elements, and after all this Laban would have left him empty-handed if it hadn’t been for the intervention of God!

These are the words of a man who is not worried about what happens to the relationship afterwards. Laban already told Jacob that he has been commanded by God to do him no harm, so he is emboldened to say whatever is in his heart without restraint.

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