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Bible Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Genesis 31



1Jacob, displeased with the envy of Laban and his sons, departs secretly.
19Rachel steals her father's images.
22Laban pursues after him, and complains of the wrong.
34Rachel's stratagem to hide the images.
36Jacob's complaint of Laban.
43The covenant of Laban and Jacob at Galeed.

Verse 1
And he heard the words of Laban's sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father's; and of that which was our father's hath he gotten all this glory.
8,9; Job 31:31; Psalms 57:4; 64:3,4; 120:3-5; Proverbs 14:30; 27:4; Ecclesiastes 4:4; Ezekiel 16:44; Titus 3:3
"Glory" is here used for "wealth," riches, or property; since those who possess riches, generally make them the subject of glory. The original word cavod, signifies both "glory" and "weight."
45:13; Esther 5:11; Job 31:24,25; Psalms 17:14; 49:16,17; Ecclesiastes 4:4; Isaiah 5:14; Jeremiah 9:23; Matthew 4:8; 1 Timothy 6:4; 1 Peter 1:24

Verse 2
And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before.
4:5; Deuteronomy 28:54; 1 Samuel 18:9-11; Daniel 3:19
it was
as before
Heb. as yesterday and the day before.
Exodus 4:10; Deuteronomy 19:4; 1 Samuel 19:7; *marg:

Verse 3
And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.
28:15,20,21-29; 32:9; 35:1; 46:2,3; 50:24; Psalms 46:1; 50:15; 90:15
13,18; 13:15; 26:3-5; 28:4,13,15; 30:25
with thee
21:22; 26:24; 28:15; 32:9; Isaiah 41:10; Hebrews 13:5

Verse 5
And said unto them, I see your father's countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me.
I see
the God
3,13,42,53; 32:9; 48:15; 50:17

Verse 6
And ye know that with all my power I have served your father.
38-42; 30:29; Ephesians 6:5-8; Colossians 3:22-25; Titus 2:9,10; 1 Peter 2:18

Verse 7
And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me.
ten times
The Hebrew, asereth monim, is literally, as Aquila renders, "ten numbers;" and Symmachus, "ten times in number;" which probably implies an indefinite number: see ver. 41.
Leviticus 26:26; Numbers 14:22; Nehemiah 4:12; Job 19:8; Isaiah 4:1; Zechariah 8:23
29; 20:6; Job 1:10; Psalms 37:28; 105:14,15; Isaiah 54:17

Verse 8
If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstraked.

Verse 9
Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me.
1,16; Esther 8:1,2; Psalms 50:10; Proverbs 13:22; Matthew 20:15

Verse 10
And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled.
a dream
24; 20:6; 28:12; Numbers 12:6; Deuteronomy 13:1; 1 Kings 3:5
or, he-goats. ringstraked.
The original word, beroodim, from barad, "hail" means marked with white spots like hail; to which our word grisled, from the old french gresle, now grele, hail, perfectly agrees; hence gresle, spotted with white on a dark ground.

Verse 11
And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I.
the angel
5,13; 16:7-13; 18:1,17; 48:15,16
Here am I
22:1; Exodus 3:4; 1 Samuel 3:4,6,8,16; Isaiah 58:9

Verse 12
And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee.
Lift up
I have seen
42; Exodus 3:7,9; Leviticus 19:13; Deuteronomy 24:15; Psalms 12:5; 139:3; Ecclesiastes 5:8; Acts 7:34; Ephesians 6:9

Verse 13
I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred.
the God
28:12-22; 35:7
3; 32:9

Verse 14
And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house?
Ruth 4:11
yet any
2:24; 29:24,29

Verse 15
Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money.
sold us
41; 29:15-20,27-30; 30:26; Exodus 21:7-11; Nehemiah 5:8

Verse 16
For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is ours, and our children's: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do.
which God
1,9; 30:35-43
Psalms 45:10

Verse 17
Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels;
upon camels
24:10,61; 1 Samuel 30:17

Verse 18
And he carried away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten in Padanaram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan.
for to go
27:1,2,41; 28:21; 35:27-29

Verse 19
And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father's.
Heb. teraphim.
30,32; 35:2; Joshua 24:2; Judges 17:4,5; 18:14-24,31; 1 Samuel 19:13; Ezekiel 21:21; Hosea 3:4;
These might have been images devoted to superstitious or idolatrous purposes, as they are termed gods by Laban, in Genesis 31:30. The Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan render it, tzalmanaya, "images"; the LXX and Theodoret, ειδολον [Strong's 1497], "idols;" Aquilla, μορφωματα, "figures;" and the Persian, asterlabha, "astrolabes".

Verse 20
And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled.
unawares to Laban
Heb. the heart of Laban. See references on ver. 27.

Verse 21
So he fled with all that he had; and he rose up, and passed over the river, and set his face toward the mount Gilead.
2:14; 15:18; Joshua 24:2,3
set his
46:28; Numbers 24:1; 2 Kings 12:17; Jeremiah 50:5; Luke 9:51-53
23; Numbers 32:1; Deuteronomy 3:12; Joshua 13:8,9; Judges 10:18; 1 Kings 17:1

Verse 22
And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob was fled.
30:36; Exodus 14:5-31; Job 5:12,13

Verse 23
And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days' journey; and they overtook him in the mount Gilead.
13:8; 24:27; Exodus 2:11,13

Verse 24
And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said unto him, Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.
the Syrian
28:5; Deuteronomy 26:5; Hosea 12:12
10,29; 20:3; 40:5; 41:1; Numbers 12:6; 22:20,26; 1 Kings 3:5; Job 33:15-17,25; Matthew 1:20; 2:12; 27:19
Take heed
42; 24:50; Numbers 24:13; 2 Samuel 13:22; Psalms 105:14,15; Isaiah 37:29
either good or bad
Heb. from good to bad.

Verse 25
Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mount: and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mount of Gilead.
12:8; 33:18; Hebrews 11:9

Verse 26
And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou done, that thou hast stolen away unawares to me, and carried away my daughters, as captives taken with the sword?
36; 3:13; 4:10; 12:18; 20:9,10; 26:10; Joshua 7:19; 1 Samuel 14:43; 17:29; John 18:35
16; 2:24; 34:29; 1 Samuel 30:2

Verse 27
Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp?
3-5,20,21,31; Judges 6:27
steal away from me
Heb. hast stolen me.
20; *marg:
that I
Proverbs 26:23-26
with mirth
24:59,60; Job 21:11-14
Exodus 15:20

Verse 28
And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? thou hast now done foolishly in so doing.
55; 29:13; Exodus 4:27; Ruth 1:9,14; 1 Kings 19:20; Acts 20:37
3,13,24; 1 Samuel 13:13; 2 Chronicles 16:9; 1 Corinthians 2:14

Verse 29
It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt: but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.
the power
Psalms 52:1; John 19:10,11
the God
42,53; 28:13; Joshua 24:2,3; 2 Kings 19:10; Daniel 2:47; 3:28; 6:20,26
Acts 5:38,39; 9:5

Verse 30
And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father's house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?
my gods
19; Exodus 12:12; Numbers 33:4; Judges 6:31; 18:24; 1 Samuel 5:2-6; 2 Samuel 5:21; Isaiah 37:19; 46:1,2; Jeremiah 10:11; 43:12

Verse 31
And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid: for I said, Peradventure thou wouldest take by force thy daughters from me.
26,27; 20:11; Proverbs 29:25

Verse 32
With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them.
This was rash, and might have produced fatal effects; but Jacob was partial to Rachel, and did not suspect her; and he was indignant at being accused of a crime which he deeply abhorred. Scott.
19,30; 44:9-12
23; 13:8; 19:7; 30:33; 1 Samuel 12:3-5; 2 Corinthians 8:20,21; 12:17-19
For Jacob
1 Samuel 14:24-29

Verse 33
And Laban went into Jacob's tent, and into Leah's tent, and into the two maidservants' tents; but he found them not. Then went he out of Leah's tent, and entered into Rachel's tent.

Verse 34
Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel's furniture, and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but found them not.
had taken
The word, car, rendered "furniture," properly denotes "a large round pannier," placed one on each side of a camel, for a person, especially women, to ride in. It is a hamper, like a cradle, having a back, head, and sides, like a great chair. Moryson describes them as "two long chairs like cradles, covered with red cloth, to hang on the two sides of the camel." Hanway calls them kedgavays, which "are a kind of covered chairs, which the Persians hang over their camels in the manner of panniers, and are big enough for one person to sit in." Thevenot, who calls then counes, says that they lay over them a cover, which keeps then both from the rain and sun; and Maillet describes them as covered cages, hanging on each side of a camel. The late Editor of Calmet has furnished a correct delineation of these cars, as seen on one side of a camel, copied from Dalton's Prints of Egyptian Figures.
Heb. felt.

Verse 35
And she said to her father, Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the custom of women is upon me. And he searched, but found not the images.
my lord
18:12; Exodus 20:12; Leviticus 19:3; Ephesians 6:1; 1 Peter 2:18; 3:6
rise up
Leviticus 19:32; 1 Kings 2:19
18:11; Leviticus 15:19

Verse 36
And Jacob was wroth, and chode with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What is my trespass? what is my sin, that thou hast so hotly pursued after me?
was wroth
30:2; 34:7; 49:7; Numbers 16:15; 2 Kings 5:11; 13:19; Proverbs 28:1; Mark 3:5; Ephesians 4:26; James 1:19,20

Verse 37
Whereas thou hast searched all my stuff, what hast thou found of all thy household stuff? set it here before my brethren and thy brethren, that they may judge betwixt us both.
set it here
32; Joshua 7:23; 1 Samuel 12:3,4; Matthew 18:16; 1 Corinthians 6:4,5; 1 Thessalonians 2:10; Hebrews 13:18; 1 Peter 2:12; 3:16

Verse 38
This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten.
30:27,30; Exodus 23:26; Deuteronomy 28:4
the rams
Ezekiel 34:2-4

Verse 39
That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night.
torn of
Exodus 22:10,31; Leviticus 22:8; 1 Samuel 17:34,35; John 10:12,13
I bare
Exodus 22:10-13
or stolen
Luke 2:8

Verse 40
Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes.
Exodus 2:19-22; 3:1; Psalms 78:70,71; Hosea 12:12; Luke 2:8; John 21:15-17; Hebrews 13:7; 1 Peter 5:2-4

Verse 41
Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times.
38; 29:18-30; 30:33-40; 1 Corinthians 15:10; 2 Corinthians 11:26
ten times

Verse 42
Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.
24,29; Psalms 124:1-3
53; 27:33; Psalms 76:11,12; 124:1; Isaiah 8:13
hath seen
12; 11:5; 16:11,13; 29:32; Exodus 3:7; 1 Chronicles 12:17; Psalms 31:7; Jude 1:9

Verse 44
Now therefore come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee.
let us
15:18; 21:22-32; 26:28-31; 1 Samuel 20:14-17
a witness
48,52; 21:30; Deuteronomy 31:19,21,26; Joshua 22:27; 24:25-27; God can put a bridle into the mouth of wicked man to restrain their malice; and then, though they have no love for his people, they will pretend to it, and try to make a merit of necessity. Scott.

Verse 45
And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar.

Verse 46
And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap: and they did eat there upon the heap.
Joshua 4:5-9,20-24; 7:26; 2 Samuel 18:17; Ecclesiastes 3:5
an heap
The word gal, rendered "heap," properly signifies a round heap or circle; probably like the Druidical remains in this country, which have been traced in India, Persia, Western Asia, Greece, and Northern Europe. These usually consist of irregular circles of large stones, with a principal one in the midst; the former probably being used for seats, and the latter for an altar; corresponding to the stone set up as a pillar by Jacob, and the heap of stones collected by his brethren. They appear to have been used, as Gilgal undoubtedly was, (Jos 4:5; Jud 2:1; 3:19; ch. 20. 1 Sa 7:16; 10:8, 17; 11:15; 13:7; 15:33. 2 Sa 19:15, 40. 2 Ki 2:1.) as temples, and as places for holding councils, and assembling the people. For a satisfactory elucidation of this subject, consult the Fragments to Calmet, Nos. 156, 735, 736.

Verse 47
And Laban called it Jegarsahadutha: but Jacob called it Galeed.
i.e., the heap of witness. Chald. Galeed. i.e., the heap of witness. Heb.
Hebrews 12:1

Verse 48
And Laban said, This heap is a witness between me and thee this day. Therefore was the name of it called Galeed;
This heap
Joshua 24:27
or, Gilead.
23; Deuteronomy 2:36; 3:16; Joshua 13:8,9

Verse 49
And Mizpah; for he said, The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.
i.e., a beacon, or watch-tower.
Judges 10:17; 11:11,29
1 Samuel 7:5; 1 Kings 15:22; Hosea 5:1

Verse 50
If thou shalt afflict my daughters, or if thou shalt take other wives beside my daughters, no man is with us; see, God is witness betwixt me and thee.
Leviticus 18:18; Matthew 19:5,6
Judges 11:10; 1 Samuel 12:5; Jeremiah 29:23; 42:5; Micah 1:2; Malachi 2:14; 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:5

Verse 51
And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold this pillar, which I have cast betwixt me and thee;
I have cast
For yarithi, "I have set up," we may read yaritha, "Thou hast set up," with one Heb. and one Sam. MS: see ver. 45.

Verse 52
This heap be witness, and this pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm.

Verse 53
The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us. And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac.
God of Abraham
11:24-29,31; 17:7; 22:20-24; 24:3,4; Exodus 3:6; Joshua 24:2
their father
For avihem, "Their father," several MSS. read avichem, "Your father," for Terah was an idolater: see Jos 24:2.
14:22; 21:23,24; 24:3; 26:28-31
42; Deuteronomy 6:13

Verse 54
Then Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount, and called his brethren to eat bread: and they did eat bread, and tarried all night in the mount.
offered sacrifice
or, killed beasts. did eat.
21:8; 26:30; 37:25; Exodus 18:12; 2 Samuel 3:20,21

Verse 55
And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them: and Laban departed, and returned unto his place.
and kissed
28; 33:4; Ruth 1:14
24:60; 28:1; Numbers 23:5,8,11; Deuteronomy 23:5; Proverbs 16:7
18:33; 30:25; Numbers 24:25; Deuteronomy 32:36; Psalms 76:10; Acts 28:4,5


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Bibliography Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Genesis 31:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

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