Genesis 31:19, Household idols. Heb. teraphim, from rapha meaning “to heal, make healthful.” The ancient pagans viewed these idols superstitiously as good luck charm for good health and prosperity.
But there is more. In ancient Babylon, each family had a shrine where it worshipped its household gods, which were in the shape of clay figurines. These family gods served as guardian angels of the home, and would be left to the eldest son, who, acting as the family high priest, would perpetuate the family’s idol worship after the father’s death. The theft of these household idols left Laban in a very agitated state in that he was willing to pursue Jacob to retrieve them, by force, if necessary.
The reason is that these gods conferred the right of primogeniture (to the firstborn son), and acted as a title deed to the father’s inheritance. Thus, Rachel must have stolen her brother’s inheritance thereby making Jacob the legal heir of Laban’s estate (Manners and Customs of Bible Lands, pp. 119–120, by Fred H. Wight; TWOT, p. 980).
Genesis 31:43, These daughters are my daughters. Laban claims that Jacob’s wives and children belonged to him. Laban was also steeped in the idolatry of Babylon having in his possession idols or images called teraphim (Gen 31:19, 34–35). Is there a modern counterpart to this? Does modern Babylon want to control and possess the wives and children of redeemed Israel, indoctrinate them in its pagan religious system and then keep Jacob’s modern descendants from returning to their spiritual and physical homeland and birthright inheritance, and from returning to the Torah-faith of their fathers?
Are governmental systems (e.g., public education and Child Protective Services, social welfare programs, various government regulations that have greatly diminished or eliminated many of our personal freedoms), socio-political organizations (e.g. ACLU, UN) and greedy corporate systems (banking systems that enslave people through debt, corrupters of our food supplies that destroy people’s health, pharmaceutical companies and the mainstream medical establishment that enslaves people’s minds and bodies through drugs) modern-day Labans who want to kill, steal and destroy for the benefit of money and power?
Revelation 18:13 says that Babylon the Great traffics in the souls of men. This speaks at some level of the modern day enslavement of men—of their religious expression, freedom of thought and action.
Laban and Balaam. It is quite possible that the false prophet Balaam, who heard from YHVH and had a sense of righteousness, though was still steeped in paganism, was a descendant of Laban. Both Laban and Balaam were from Aram (part of greater Babylon) and only 280 years separated them. One of the Aramaic Targums (Targum Jonathan) equates Balaam with Laban, while other scholars view Balaam as Laban’s grandson. Both were involved in a mixed-religious system—some truth and some error, some good and some evil. This is the nature of religious Babylon (meaning “mixture” or “confusion”). A mixture of what? Of good and evil. Remember the tree by that name in the Garden of Eden? Who was the one who enticed man to indulge in that fruit in rebellion to YHVH’s commands? Is not religious Babylon of today, out of which YHVH is calling his people (Rev 18:4), just that—a mixture of truth and pagan lies? How else, for example, do we account for the name of the Christian festival called Easter or Ishtar named after the Babylonian sex goddess of fertility? Or how else do we account for the Christmas tree phallus symbol that also originated from Babylonian sex worship? Or how about the Easter egg (an ancient Babylonian fertility or sex symbol) or the egg on the Jewish Passover Seder plate? All these are symbols of pagan sex worship. As YHVH called Jacob away from Babylon back to Beth-el (the House of El), and as YHVH turned Jacob’s heart back to the ways of his fathers, is not the same YHVH likewise now calling his people to come out of religious Babylon (Rev 18:4), to separate themselves from that which is unclean or not kosher (2 Cor 6:17)? Yes, YHVH is now calling the modern descendants of Jacob (redeemed Israelites) to remember the Torah of Moses his servant and to listen to the spirit of Elijah as the children’s hearts turn back to the fathers (Mal 4:4–6).