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Throughout the Old Testament, it is evident that the peoples of that day, regarded gods, deities, spirits or angelic powers of various kings as having territorial jurisdiction. Household gods: Such as those stolen by Rachel from her father, Laban was small portable of ancestors or family deities. The possession of these images symbolized the holder’s claim to leadership and property. They were symbols of the right of inheritance. If Jacob possessed Laban’s idols, he might legally claim to be Laban’s heir. This may have been the reason Rachel took them from her father’s house.
Laban was outraged when he found Jacob’s family and the idols, gone. He pursued them but Jacob insisted that he was innocent of the theft. Laban searched Jacob’s tent and into Leah’s tent and into the tent of the two maidservants, but he did not find them. He entered Rachel’s tent. There Rachel sat upon the saddle in which she had hidden the images. After searching her tent, she said to her father, ‘Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise before you, for the way of women is upon me.’ The ruse worked and Laban gave up the search and Laban and Jacob parted after swearing a ceremonial friendship, a covenant of peace.
Why was Laban so incensed about the idols being stolen? He looked to these idols for his success and power. Rachel took the idols for the same reasons. The magic of theses idols had replaced the presence of Jehovah.
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