31 And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid: for I said, Peradventure thou wouldest take by force thy daughters from me.
Jacob afraid and God with him ? Yes. Jacob knew that, though God was with him, God looked to Jacob to arrange his affairs with discretion, as the spirit of God testifies in all the Proverbs of Solomon ; and, not knowing in detail what God might in His wisdom permit, he naturally feared when circumstances were threatening, and adopted the course that appeared wise.
Human action is the basis of divine supervision in human affairs. If a man were to lie down in sloth, the angels would have nothing to work on, so to speak, as regarded that man's matters. The co-workership of God and man is a delightful fact of experience and revelation - in affairs both present and future, both spiritual and temporal.
Ways of Providence Ch 6
32 With whomsoever thou findest thy god, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them.
...in her clinging to these gods of her idolatrous ancestors we can see the type of Israel's self-destructive course all down through their history. *
"The Law of Moses (which was 430 years after) cannot disannul the Covenant of Abraham."
Rachel took her Syrian father's gods. Israel's downfall was that she turned to the gods of their idolatrous ancestors. Of King Ahaz, for example, it is recorded that he worshipped Syrian gods, and (2 Chr. 28:23)-
"They were the ruin of him and of all Israel."
Rachel in dying gives birth to a son. The nation, too, died in giving birth to their long-waited son of whom the prophet Isaiah had spoken: "Unto us a Son is born" (9:6).
They, like Rachel, called him the "son of their sorrow," but his Father called him, "The Son of My Right Hand." In both cases, too, the son was born at Bethlehem-Ephrata. And there
Rachel-the natural Israel-was buried, having fulfilled her purpose. The Spirit by Jeremiah says-
"A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to becomforted, because they were not" (31:15).
Matthew fittingly applies this to Herod's murder of the children at the birth of Jesus, but that was but a symbolic fulfilment of what was to happen to Rachel's children because of the birth of this son and their treatment of him.
Jeremiah's context makes it clear that this weeping of Rachel is the long desolation of natural Israel. But to Rachel and her children the prophet says (Jer. 31:16)-
"Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; they shall come again from the land of the enemy. *
We hope too that Rachel will "come again from the land of the enemy." We cannot presume to pass ultimate judgment in any case, especially not in view of the brief record we have here. We can but attempt to faintly trace the marvellous types and shadows that show the hand and wisdom of God in the affairs of men.
Rachel's children will in God's mercy, be finally purified and redeemed by the life-work of the great son of Leah whom we meet weekly to remember, who will not rest until he has removed all enmity and sorrow from the family of Jacob.
Bro Growcott - A New Name