The Pasuk says ” ….עֵד הַגַּל הַזֶּה – This pile (of stones) shall be a witness…”(31:52)
Many Midrashim mention that Yaakov thrust a sword into the wall as a second witness. The Da’as Zkeinim mentions this and then points out that Bilam ben Be’or’s downfall was with these two, a wall and a sword. Why is this relevant?
He quotes a Gemara in Sanhedrin (105.) that “תנא הוא בעור הוא כושן רשעתים הוא לבן הארמי – Be’or is the same person as Lavan the Aramean and Kushan Reshasaim (an evil king in judges)”, both of whom were mockers and scoffers who caused great difficulties for the Jews. Bilam was Lavan’s son.
Bilam was damaged by a wall, (Numbers 22:25) as it says “וַתִּלְחַץ אֶת-רֶגֶל בִּלְעָם, אֶל-הַקִּיר – and his foot was crushed against the wall”, and killed by the sword (ibid. 31:8) “וְאֵת בִּלְעָם בֶּן-בְּעוֹר, הָרְגוּ בֶּחָרֶב – also Bilam son of Be’or was slain by the sword”.
There is a terrifying story in the Gemara quoted by Rashi and Tosfos (Taanis 8.) that a young boy found a girl who’d fallen into a deep pit, and promised to rescue her on the condition that she marry him. She consented, and they made the pit she was in and a passing animal witnesses. He rescued her and they went their separate ways, and years later he married another woman, who bore him two sons. Unfortunately, one died falling into a pit, and another was killed by this animal. The woman asked why these bizarre misfortunes had befallen them, and he remembered the witnesses and his vow. His wife told him to divorce her and find this girl, which he did.
This is similar to the case of Bilam in that the witnesses came back to “remind” them of their duties, a clear demonstration of measure for measure.
Perhaps we can suggest an additional point to ponder: when Yakov entered Lavan’s house, he clearly did not have sons, as otherwise why would he send his daughters to tend the sheep, surely a man’s job? (We see this too by Yisro’s daughters). Yet in this week’s Sedra he clearly has sons (31:1). Lavan only had daughters until the blessing that Yakov brought with him gave him sons, and his own son broke his vow that nothing should befall his daughters.
These are a fulfilment of the Pasuk “יַד הָעֵדִים תִּהְיֶה בּוֹ בָרִאשֹׁנָה לַהֲמִיתוֹ – The hand of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death”.