Socio-cultural background: Nibley cites a story from antiquity which has interesting parallels for the presentation of the brothers before Laban:
"Compare this with the now classic story of Wenamon's interview with the rapacious Zakar Baal, governor of Byblos, almost exactly five-hundred years before. The Egyptian entered the great man's house and "found him sitting in his upper chamber, leaning his back against a window," even as Laman accosted Laban "as he sat in his house." When his visitor desired of the merchant prince and prince of merchants that he part with some cedar logs, the latter flew into a temper and accused him of being a thief ("Behold thou art a robber!" says Laban), demanding that he produce his credentials. Zakar Baal then "had the journal of his fathers brought in, and had them read it before him," from which it is plain that the important records of the city were actually stored at his house and kept on tablets. From this ancient "journal of his fathers": the prince proved to Wenamon that his ancestors had never taken orders from Egypt, and though the envoy softened his host somewhat by reminding him that Ammon, the lord of the universe, rules over all kings, the hard-dealing official "thrust him out" and later even sent his servants after him - not, however, to slay him, but with the more generous afterthought of bringing him something in the way of refreshment as he sat sorrowing. With cynical politeness the prince offered to show Wenamon the graves of some other Egyptian envoys whose missions had not been too successful, and when the business deal was finally completed, Zakar Baal, on a legal technicality, turned his guest over to the mercies of a pirate fleet lurking outside the harbor" (Nibley, Lehi in the Desert 1950, p. 110-111).