LABAN (lay' buhn) Personal name meaning “white.” 1. Rebekah's brother (Genesis 24:29) and father of Leah and Rachel (Genesis 29:16). Laban lived in the city of Nahor which was probably close to the metropolis of Haran (also called Paddan-aram in Genesis 25:20; Genesis 28:2), Abrahams ancestral home (Genesis 12:4). Laban is known primarily from the two stories in Genesis 24:1,Genesis 29-31.
In Genesis 24:1, Laban is directly responsible for the betrothal of Rebekah to Isaac. After Abraham's steward relates that he has come to find a wife for Isaac, Laban and his father give their permission for the marriage (Genesis 24:1: 50-51). In Genesis 29-31, Jacob flees to his uncle Laban's house after stealing the birthright from Esau. Laban agrees to give his daughter, Rachel, as payment for Jacob's seven years of labor. However, Laban deceives Jacob making him marry the older daughter, Leah. After Jacob works an additional seven years, Laban allows him to marry Rachel (Genesis 29:15-30).
2. Town used to locate Moses' speeches in Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 1:1). It is sometimes identified with Libnah (Numbers 33:20). See Libnah. Assyrian and Egyptian texts mention its location on Canaan's southern border perhaps near the brook of Egypt at Sheikh ez-Zuweid or the nearby tell Abu Seleimeh. See Rebekah; Jacob; Leah; Rachel.
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.