Day 2: Vayetze/Genesis 29:1-20
When making deals, receiving promises, or entering into covenant with others, the only tangible evidence or proof that these will be honored is the word given by each party. One would think that Yacov wouldn’t have to worry about Laban honoring his deal for marriage to Rachel since he is Yacov’s uncle. The love Yacov had for Laban’s younger daughter was so strong that he willingly agrees to work for seven years, as a bachelor. Even while in love, Yacov was smart enough to specify the younger daughter, mentioning her by name, Rachel, in the wage agreement.
The legal system of that day, and through the time of Boaz and future patriarchs, was found at the gates of the city. Unfortunately for Yacov, Laban pretty much had the gates of Haran, specifically Paddan-Aram or Nahor, possessed by himself and his family. While not conclusive, it could appear that the rationale for watering the flocks in the middle of the day, and having such a large stone in front of the well so that many men would need to roll it away, was sanctioned by Laban for sole control over the region. Laban was well known and well versed in Haran’s legal system as he would have probably been the main elder in the gate of the city. Yacov had little chance to avert being swindled by Laban since it would be the word of a semi-stranger against the corrupt judge in the gate.
After defining the terms of seven years of service for the younger daughter, Rachel, Yacov was overjoyed to serve this term of duty. The time would come, however, for Laban to uphold his end of the deal.
What would happen? Would Laban be true to his word? If he acted deceptively, what recourse would Yacov have?
Since we know the outcome ahead of time, there really was no recourse for Yacov, except to walk away. YHVH, though, was in control and would have His way in establishing the twelve tribes of Israel and taking away a large sum of Laban’s wealth through crafty integrity, an ironic fate for Laban to endure!
Back at the well, when Yacov first arrived at Haran, a large stone was used to cover the well. So large, in fact, it would have taken several men to roll the stone away and reveal the living water inside. This is a great picture of the tomb of Messiah. The chief priests and rabbis of Yeshua’s day were afraid of a rebellious uprising or the lore of a resurrection. So, they placed a large stone over Yeshua’s grave. Like Laban, they trusted in their own knowledge and strength to pervert justice and to control the people. That large stone would be rolled away when YHVH sanctioned it, not man, and certainly not the politicians. Yeshua would be revealed as the Living Water to the nations in His timing and in His strength. The Living Water that no stone or man could hold back.
Our dealings with others will most certainly let us down. We will most certainly let others down. If our own hearts deceive us, should we expect more from others?
It should not be assumed that everyone is out to get us or to have their own way in our lives; yet, it should be noted that most individuals do have self-serving motives or are not altruistic. The best of humanity can still let us down, with unkept promises or failed integrity. Even the righteous fail to be integrous all the time.
With this in mind, it’s still impossible not to dwell among men or to have dealings with fellow man, especially in this day and age. Moreover, Torah implicitly reminds us that we are not to be individual isolationists—the true gospel is shared by human interaction. Our trust and hope and strength must be from and focused back toward YHVH our Elohim. He alone sustains us, not man’s words, promises, or actions. Mankind will let us down; moreover, we will let them down, too. Our words need to be yes, yes or no, no. We should not be rash in our words, nor be rash in accepting other’s words. In the end, however, it is YHVH Who will portion out reward and judgment in all matters of right and wrong, vows kept, promises broken.
Dwell upon Romans 3:3-4, “What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of YHVH, will it? May it never be! Rather, let YHVH be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, ‘That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you [are] judged.'”