Laban was Rebecca’s brother and the head of her household, and she was subject to his will, until she was betrothed. Rebecca became betrothed when she accepted the bracelets and rings from Abraham’s servant. When she ran back home to tell her family what had just happened at the well, she was already betrothed to Isaac.
Laban certainly appeared to be a nice guy; he ran to meet the servant, offered his barn and feed for the camels, and a meal for Abraham’s servant and the men with him. He did not object to the servant’s gifts, and he did not object tot Rebecca’s betrothal at that time (Gen. 24:42-51). It seemed as if Laban was all in favor of yielding to the servant’s wishes.
The next morning, Abraham’s servant prepared to return to Canaan with Rebecca, and this is when Laban tried to throw a monkey wrench in Yahweh’s plan. He wanted the servant and Rebecca to delay their return to Canaan by at least ten days, but the servant protested because he wanted to leave immediately. The issue was only resolved when Rebecca herself agreed to leave at once (Gen. 24:58). Rebecca was able to speak for herself because she was betrothed; Laban no longer had any say over what she did, although he tried his best to keep her under his control.
Why would Laban try to delay Rebecca’s marriage to Isaac? I think that the evil one was behind this, and I’ll try to explain why…
Yahweh had promised Abraham many descendants, who would be His chosen people. These descendants would come through Isaac. If Isaac’s marriage to Rebecca could somehow be prevented, that would thwart Yahweh’s promise to Abraham and stop the line of Yahweh’s holy people before it would even begin (or so the evil one might think).
If Laban had been successful in delaying Rebecca’s departure for those ten days, that would have given him plenty of time to prevent the marriage by, say, finding another husband for Rebecca, marrying her himself, or whatever other dirty deed he could think up. From the evil one’s perspective, anything that might have delayed or prevented Isaac’s marriage would have meant that Yahweh’s promise to Abraham would not be fulfilled.
Fast forward a few years. This time it’s Jacob who comes to Laban’s house, again looking for a bride. Jacob falls in love with Rachel (who would become the mother of Joseph), and wishes to marry her. Laban delays Jacob’s marriage to Rachel two times; first by making him work seven years to earn her hand in marriage, and then again by substituting Leah in Rachel’s place, and making Jacob work another seven years to get the right girl. Laban tried to keep Jacob from realizing the blessing Yahweh had given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob himself, but Yahweh turned things around and used Laban’s deceit and delaying tactics to make sure that Jacob had many sons.
I think that the evil one, through Laban, tried to keep Yahweh’s promise from being fulfilled, and to keep Yahweh’s chosen people from ever becoming a nation. Whenever we delay our response to the Holy One’s call, we give the evil one an opportunity to thwart Yahweh’s plans. However, we know that nothing can keep Yahweh and Yeshua from being victorious over sin and death!
As long as we are willing to immediately obey the call of the Ruach Hakodesh, as long as we trust Him to do what he says, as long as we remain obedient to Yahweh, we will not give the evil one any chance to put a stop to Yahweh’s plans!