a. Laban has no answer. After the stern rebuke of Jacob, Laban speaks up. Notice that he does not offer a rebuttal. He does not argue against Jacob’s accusations of his cheating. He does not argue against Jacob’s work ethic. He speaks nothing about it because he can say nothing. Remember that God has already told Laban that he is not allowed to speak good or evil. This did not leave Laban speechless though. He has spoken more in this chapter than Jacob. But his words have no power. Proverbs 16:5 says, “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished. So, what is his tactic? b. Laban claims Jacob’s family. Laban turns and says, “The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine.” Remember what Leah and Rachel were complaining about? They said that they were treated as foreigners in the household. Laban comes out and says these are my daughters and their children are my children. Now, there are several ways to read his statement and since we don’t know his motivation we can’t be sure of the tone of this. Is he saying this because he’s been busted and now he is owning up to his error? He should have been treating them as his own all along which is a little too late now that they have already left. People will often fake affection when it is to their advantage. Or is Laban saying that everything that Jacob is taking is his? These are his daughters, Jacob’s children are his children and the flocks belong to him. These are his possessions which is a very worldly view. In reality, none of what Laban was seeing was his. Jacob had worked hard to earn Leah’s and Rachel’s hands in marriage. He had worked hard for the flocks which were his payment for keeping Laban’s sheep. Worldly people like Laban will often claim for themselves things that they have no right to. c. Laban wants a covenant. Next, Laban proposes that Jacob and he enter into a covenant. Notice that Jacob follows Proverbs 26:4, “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.” Jacob does not enter into a war of words nor does he correct him. Jacob has said his piece and allows Laban to continue to speak, though Jacob had a good case to protest. Jacob does not insist that Laban submit to him and doesn’t force him to apologize for rifling through all of his stuff. Jacob shows some serious patience with his uncle.