Jacob Flees to Laban

5th century, with medieval and modern restorations
Nave, Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

See Genesis 29:1-14. Upper register: Rachel (in the red dress) announces to her father Laban (far left) the arrival of her cousin Jacob. The men on the right in the upper image are the shepherds whom Jacob first questioned about Laban upon his arrival in Mesopotamia.

Lower register: Laban embraces Jacob (left of center) and leads him to his house (right of center).

Presumably the woman to the right of Laban in the upper image and glowering from the far left in the lower image is Leah, the only other woman mentioned in the story. The gray of her coif or headscarf may be the mosaicist's way of reminding the viewer that she was the older sister of Leah, whose coif or headscarf is dark.

This is part of the extensive series of Old Testament scenes portrayed in mosaics along the two walls of the nave. To view the other scenes follow this link.

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Photographed at the basilica by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.