“Now Rebekah had a brother whose name was Laban; and Laban ran outside to the man at the spring. When he saw the ring and the bracelets on his sister’s wrists, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, “This is what the man said to me,” he went to the man; and behold, he was standing by the camels at the spring.” Gen. 24:29-30
We would do well to pay attention to action words in the scriptures, as they help paint a more full picture of the scene at hand. For instance, in Gen. 18 we have a tent buzzing with hospitable energy; Genesis 22, the offering of Isaac, is full of vivid, action-packed suspense. Here in Gen. 24 we’ve already seen a lot of action with Rebekah and the camels.
And now, here comes Rebekah’s brother Laban, not walking, but running to meet the mystery guest. Since the reader has the benefit of knowing what happens with Laban in the near future with Jacob, we may read this story a bit differently. The first thing mentioned about Laban is that he takes note of the jewelry bestowed upon his sister.
Also consider that in verse 31, he informs the servant that he has already prepared the house for him to stay. Granted, Laban is part of Abraham’s family, and they all appear to practice such hospitality (even as Lot did), however he had no idea the stranger needed, or even wanted a place to stay. Yet he made these preparations even before talking to Abraham’s servant. More likely Laban saw him from afar, noted his wealth (camels were not common like donkeys, it was rare that Abraham had them) and decided he would like such an individual to stay for a while.
If Isaac represents the Messiah, and Rebekah represents the church, who does Laban represent?