Questions to Consider
1. What are some things you remember about Jacob’s, Leah’s, and Rachel’s personalities and family dynamics that can give you some insight for today’s lesson? Briefly review lesson 23 (link above) or other previous lessons if necessary.
2. Carefully examine 30:25-34, and summarize the dialog and negotiation between Jacob and Laban in your own words. What does Jacob want to do? Why does he want to go? What does he initially ask for from Laban? Does Laban want him to go? Why or why not? What offers are made? What do they eventually settle on?
3. What does the name “Jacob” mean? (use your footnotes) In which incidents in today’s passage did Jacob live up to his name? In which incidents were the tables turned and Jacob became the deceived instead of the deceiver? (A little trivia for you: In Hebrew, Laban’s name means “white.” Is he wearing the good guy’s “white hat” in this passage?)
4. What’s this crazy stuff Jacob is doing with the sticks and breeding the sheep and goats (30:37-43)? Research time! Check out these links from the MacArthur Study Bible, CCEL Commentaries, and Bible Hub commentaries. How does Jacob’s success (30:43) demonstrate that God provides for His people’s needs?
5. Imagine that you are Rachel or Leah listening to what Jacob has to say in 31:4-13. How was it a show of respect and dignity to his wives that Jacob sat them down and explained all of this before uprooting them from the only home they had ever known? Were they hearing more about how Laban did Jacob wrong or how God did Jacob right? What was Jacob teaching them about God? Make a list of the attributes of God (ex: kindness, provider, etc.) that are showcased in this passage. After making this list, write down some ways you have seen each of these attributes of God in your own life.
6. How did Rachel and Leah respond to the news that they were moving? (31:14-16) What motivated this response – their desire to be godly, submissive wives, or another reason?
7. Considering Jacob’s and Laban’s words and actions in 31:17-43, how do you think Rachel and Leah felt about their father? What do you think would have happened if Laban had found the idols Rachel stole? (31:29,32) The passage doesn’t specifically say, but what are some of the reasons Rachel might have stolen the gods?
8. Carefully examine 31:44-54 in the context of all that has transpired between Jacob and Laban in this passage. Have you ever seen a set of Mizpah necklaces? They are usually shared by best friends, close loved ones, or boyfriends and girlfriends on the occasion of an impending temporary absence as a fond blessing that anticipates a happy reunion in the future. Knowing what you now know about the Mizpah (31:49) is this the correct usage and context of this verse? What is the correct understanding of this verse?
9. How does Jacob’s redeeming and rescuing of Rachel and Leah from Laban point to Christ as Redeemer and Rescuer? In what ways does it point further ahead to Christ taking Christians Home at the second coming?
Review the meaning of Jacob’s name from question 3. Write down your observations about the meaning of Jacob’s name as it compares to his statement in 30:33, and to Proverbs 22:1. Think about your own reputation – is it godly? Honest? Ethical? Why is it important for Christians to have an honest reputation? Examine 2 Corinthians 5:20, and consider how your reputation impacts your representation of Christ to others. What are some other New Testament Scriptures that address the importance of a godly reputation?
Suggested Memory Verse
Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you.”