Who is Laban?
(white), son of Bethuel, grandson of Nahor, grand-nephew of Abraham, brother of Rebekah, and father of Leah and Rachel. He lived in Haran, the old family home. There he hospitably received Abraham's servant, according to the custom of the country, as head of the house, and took the chief part in betrothing Rebekah to Isaac. Gen 24:29; Gen 25:20. To him Rebekah sent Jacob after their trick had angered Esau, Gen 27:43, Isaac adding the charge that his son was to take a wife of the daughters of Laban. Gen 28:2, 1 Chr 6:5. Laban cordially received him. Gen 29:5, 1 Kgs 16:10, and to gain his valuable services engaged him and allowed him to name his own wages. He asked for Rachel, and through love for her served seven years. At the end of that time Laban cheated him by giving him Leah, Heb 12:23, and afterward he gave him Rachel, for whom Jacob served seven years more. Acts 20:28. In the six additional years during which Jacob remained in Mesopotamia, he managed by artifice and shepherd's skill to transfer the best part of his uncle's flocks to himself. Gen 30. Then, through the jealousy of Laban, now in his old age, and the influence of his sons, and the estrangement of his daughters, and the anger of Jacob at being deceived, and at having his wages changed so often, there came an open rupture. While Laban was absent shearing sheep, Jacob, expecting to be plundered, stealthily fled toward Canaan with his family, and retinue, and flocks, and household goods. Gen 31. Laban followed in wrath and overtook the slow caravan among the mountains of Gilead, Gen 31:25, but God checked him from violence, Prov 31:24. He was again outwitted by Rachel in his search for the teraphim, Gen 31:34; but, after some sharp wrangling, and a falsehood as to the grounds of his displeasure, he and Jacob set up a stone and a cairn as a witness of the covenant proposed by Laban, and a boundary beyond which neither was to pass to harm the other, Gen 31:44; and Laban then took a loving farewell and went back to Mesopotamia, and appeared no more, being only referred to as the past history is brought up. Ex 32:4; Gen 46:18, Gen 46:25. Laban appears first as showing a hearty hospitality, but later as having hardened into a tricky, grasping, unprincipled, harsh, selfish old man.