4113. In that he told him not that he was fleeing. That this signifies by the separation, is evident without explication. By "Jacob stole the heart of Laban, in that he told him not that he was fleeing," is meant in the historical sense that Jacob deprived Laban of the hope of getting possession of all things that were his, and reduced him to a state of distress. For Laban had believed that because Jacob served him, all things that were Jacob's became his; not only his daughters who were Jacob's wives, and their sons, but also his flocks, according to the known and received law of that time, as found in Moses:
If thou buy a Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve, and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If his master give him a wife, and she bear him sons and daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out with his body (Exod. 21:2, 4).
That he had so thought, is manifest from Jacob's words in what follows in this chapter:
Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the Dread of Isaac had been with me, surely now hadst thou sent me away empty (Gen. 31:42);
and from Laban's:
Laban answered and said unto Jacob, The daughters are my daughters, and the sons are my sons, and the flock is my flock, and all that thou seest is mine (Gen. 31:43);
not considering that Jacob was not a bought servant, nor indeed a servant at all, and that he was of a more noble family than he, and also that he had received as his reward both his wives and his flock; so that the law did not apply to Jacob. Now as Jacob by his fleeing had deprived Laban of this hope, and thus had reduced him to a state of distress, it is said that he "stole the heart of Laban the Aramean, by not telling him that he was fleeing." But by these words in the internal sense is signified the change by the separation of the state signified by "Laban" in respect to good. Concerning change of state by separation, see what has been said just above (n. 4111).