a. The Chase. We pick up the story three days after Jacob leaves Paddan-aram with his family. Remember that Laban had left to go help his sons to shear his sheep. Also remember that Laban, six years prior had set up his sons a three days journey away with the separate flock that he had taken and given to his sons in violation of the wage agreement. And so, Laban is there sheering the sheep when the news of Jacob’s departure makes the three days journey to him. Laban does not leave immediately after them though. We can assume that Laban knows that Jacob has a bunch of little ones and he is driving all of his animals and that would slow him down. And so, Laban gathers together some of his kinsmen and they make the preparations to leave. We can tell from the rest of the story that Laban is in a rage and this seems to be why he drives hard after Jacob. It only takes him seven days to make the over 300-mile journey from Paddan-aram to the hill country of Gilead. This is doable and shows us that when Laban finally is able to chase Jacob down he does not, as they say, spare the whip. When he arrives in the hill country, Laban and his kinsmen make camp and prepare their incursion into Jacob’s camp. But something happens during the trip that will affect what is about to happen. b. The Dream. Somewhere along the journey, Laban has a dream. This is not a normal dream but is a special encounter with God. There is no mistaking or guessing whether it was God or not. When God spoke to a person in a dream they knew exactly what was going on and in detail. Remember that God has done this before and will do this again with others that were pagans. The only thing that we have recorded of the dream is that God speaks to Laban and says, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.” A while back I mentioned this would come up again. In Genesis 24:50 when Abraham’s servant had asked to take Rebekah with him to be Isaac’s wife, Laban and Bethuel said, “The thing has come from the Lord; we cannot speak to you bad or good.” Moses will also record this same idea coming from Balaam who said that even if Balak gave him a house of money he could not speak good or bad of his own will because the Lord had spoken. This phrase clearly refers to a tying of the hands of these people. They desire to do something, in our story Laban wants to hurt Jacob, but God says that that is not his will. And so, Laban’s will is overridden by God’s will. God is with Jacob and he is protecting him. God does not change Laban’s heart but he does bind his hands. We must remember that if we are followers of God then he protects us from the evil that people intend against us. The wicked are only able to act against God’s people if it furthers God’s purposes and will bring about good in the life of the Christian.