43 And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and these cattle are my cattle, and all that thou seest is mine: and what can I do this day unto these my daughters, or unto their children which they have born?

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

46 And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap: and they did eat there upon the heap.

48 And Laban said, This heap is a witness between me and thee this day. Therefore was the name of it called Galeed;

52 This heap be witness, and this pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm.

53 The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us. And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac.

After Jacob’s impassioned criticism Laban responds with an endearing gesture. He reminds Jacob that his family is Laban’s family, too, and he could not harm Jacob without damaging his daughters and grandchildren as well.

But clearly, a rift has grown between the two men, and Laban proposes a solemn covenant to preserve the peace between them. They erect an altar and make a pledge that neither of them will cross it to the other’s domain with an intention of harm.

Verse 53 I consider to be a particularly significant passage. Laban invokes their two ancestral fathers: Abraham and Nahor, who were brothers, and also Terah, who was the father of them both. These two lines have continued to have interactions from time-to-time, but now it is an end of an era. Laban and Jacob are wise to recognize that the relationship is strained, and so it is best of everybody that the two lines go their separate ways.

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