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1 And he heard the words of Labans sonnes, saying, Iacob hath taken away all that was our fathers; and of that which was of our fathers, hath hee gotten all this glory.

2 And Iacob behelde the countenance of Laban, and behold, it was not toward him as before.

3 And the LORD said vnto Iacob, Returne vnto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I wil be with thee.

4 And Iacob sent and called Rachel and Leah, to the field vnto his flocke,

5 And said vnto them, I see your fathers countenance, that it is not toward mee as before: but the God of my father hath bene with me.

6 And yee know, that with all my power I haue serued your father.

7 And your father hath deceiued mee, and changed my wages ten times: but God suffered him not to hurt me.

8 If hee said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages, then all the cattell bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ring-straked shalbe thy hire, then bare all the cattell ring-straked.

9 Thus God hath taken away the cattell of your father, and giuen them to mee.

10 And it came to passe at the time that the cattell conceiued, that I lifted vp mine eyes and saw in a dreame, and behold, the rammes which leaped vpon the cattell were ring-straked, speckled and grisled.

11 And the Angel of God spake vnto me in a dreame, saying, Iacob; And I said, Here am I.

12 And hee said, Lift vp now thine eyes, and see, all the rammes which leape vpon the cattell are ring-straked, speckled and grisled: for I haue seene all that Laban doeth vnto thee.

13 I am the God of Bethel, where thou annoyntedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow vnto mee: now arise, get thee out from this land, and returne vnto the land of thy kindred.

14 And Rachel and Leah answered, and said vnto him; Is there yet any portion or inheritance for vs in our fathers house?

15 Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold vs, and hath quite deuoured also our money.

16 For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is ours, and our childrens: now then whatsoeuer God hath said vnto thee, doe.

17 Then Iacob rose vp, and set his sonnes and his wiues vpon camels.

18 And he caried away all his cattell, and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattell of his getting, which hee had gotten in Padan Aram, for to goe to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan.

19 And Laban went to sheare his sheepe: and Rachel had stollen the Images that were her fathers.

20 And Iacob stale away vnawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled.

21 So hee fled with all that hee had, and he rose vp and passed ouer the Riuer, and set his face toward the mount Gilead.

22 And it was tolde Laban on the third day, that Iacob was fled.

23 And hee tooke his brethren with him, and pursued after him seuen dayes iourney, and they ouertooke him in the mount Gilead.

24 And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dreame by night, and saide vnto him, Take heed that thou speake not to Iacob either good or bad.

25 Then Laban ouertooke Iacob. Now Iacob had pitched his tent in the mount: and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mount of Gilead.

26 And Laban said to Iacob, What hast thou done, that thou hast stollen away vnawares to me, and caried away my daughters, as captiues taken with the sword?

27 Wherefore didst thou flie away secretly, and steale away from me, and didst not tell mee? that I might haue sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harpe,

28 And hast not suffered me to kisse my sonnes and my daughters? thou hast now done foolishly in so doing.

29 It is in the power of my hand to doe you hurt: but the God of your father spake vnto mee yesternight, saying, Take thou heed, that thou speake not to Iacob either good or bad.

30 And now though thou wouldest needes bee gone, because thou sore longedst after thy fathers house; yet wherefore hast thou stollen my gods?

31 And Iacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid: for I said, Peraduenture thou wouldest take by force thy daughters from me.

32 With whomsoeuer thou findest thy gods, let him not liue: before our brethren discerne thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee: for Iacob knew not that Rachel had stollen them.

33 And Laban went into Iacobs tent, and into Leahs tent, and into the two maid seruants tents: but he found them not. Then went he out of Leahs tent, and entred into Rachels tent.

34 Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camels furniture, and sate vpon them: and Laban searched all the tent, but found them not.

35 And shee said to her father, Let it not displease my lord, that I cannot rise vp before thee; for the custome of women is vpon mee: and he searched, but found not the images.

36 And Iacob was wroth, and chode with Laban: and Iacob answered and said to Laban, what is my trespasse? what is my sinne, that thou hast so hotly pursued after me?

37 Whereas thou hast searched all my stuffe, what hast thou found of all thy houshold stuffe? set it here before my brethren, and thy brethren, that they may iudge betwixt vs both.

38 This twentie yeeres haue I bene with thee: thy ewes and thy shee goates haue not cast their yong, and the rammes of thy flocke haue I not eaten.

39 That which was torne of beasts, I brought not vnto thee: I bare the losse of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stollen by day, or stollen by night.

40 Thus I was in þe day, the drought consumed mee, and the frost by night, aud my sleep departed from mine eyes.

41 Thus have I bene twentie yeres in thy house: I serued thee fourteene yeeres for thy two daughters, and sixe yeres for thy cattel; and thou hast changed my wages ten times.

42 Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the feare of Isaac had bin with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now emptie: God hath seene mine affliction, and the labour of my hands, & rebuked thee yesternight.

43 And Laban answered and said vnto Iacob, These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and these cattell are my cattell, and all that thou seest, is mine: and what can I doe this day vnto these my daughters, or vnto their children which they haue borne?

44 Now therefore come thou, let vs make a couenant, I and thou: and let it be for a witnesse betweene me and thee.

45 And Iacob tooke a stone, and set it vp for a pillar.

46 And Iacob saide vnto his brethren, Gather stones: and they tooke stones, and made an heape, and they did eate there vpon the heape.

47 And Laban called it Iegar-Sahadutha: but Iacob called it Galeed.

48 And Laban said, This heape is a witnesse betweene mee and thee this day. Therefore was the name of it called Galeed,

49 And Mizpah: for he said, The LORD watch betweene me and thee when we are absent one from another.

50 If thou shalt afflict my daughters, or if thou shalt take other wiues beside my daughters, no man is with vs; See, God is witnesse betwixt mee and thee.

51 And Laban said to Iacob, Behold this heape, and behold this pillar, which I haue cast betwixt me and thee.

52 This heape be witnesse, and this pillar be witnesse, that I will not passe ouer this heape to thee, and that thou shalt not passe ouer this heape, and this pillar vnto me, for harme.

53 The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, iudge betwixt vs. And Iacob sware by the feare of his father Isaac.

54 Then Iacob offred sacrifice vpon the mount, and called his brethren to eate bread, and they did eate bread, and taried all night in the mount.

55 And earely in the morning, Laban rose vp and kissed his sonnes, and his daughters, and blessed them: and Laban departed, and returned vnto his place.

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Commentary for Genesis 31

Jacob departs secretly. (1-21) Laban pursues Jacob. (23-35) Jacob's complaint of Laban's conduct. (36-42) Their covenant at Galeed. (43-55)1-21 The affairs of these families are related very minutely, while (what are called) the great events of states and kingdoms at that period, are not mentioned. The Bible teaches people the common duties of life, how to serve God, how to enjoy the blessings he bestows, and to do good in the various stations and duties of life. Selfish men consider themselves robbed of all that goes past them, and covetousness will even swallow up natural affection. Men's overvaluing worldly wealth is that error which is the root of covetousness, envy, and all evil. The men of the world stand in each other's way, and every one seems to be taking away from the rest; hence discontent, envy, and discord. But there are possessions that will suffice for all; happy they who seek them in the first place. In all our removals we should have respect to the command and promise of God. If He be with us, we need not fear. The perils which surround us are so many, that nothing else can really encourage our hearts. To remember favoured seasons of communion with God, is very refreshing when in difficulties; and we should often recollect our vows, that we fail not to fulfil them.

22-35 God can put a bridle in the mouth of wicked men, to restrain their malice, though he do not change their hearts. Though they have no love to God's people, they will pretend to it, and try to make a merit of necessity. Foolish Laban! to call those things his gods which could be stolen! Enemies may steal our goods, but not our God. Here Laban lays to Jacob's charge things that he knew not. Those who commit their cause to God, are not forbidden to plead it themselves with meekness and fear. When we read of Rachel's stealing her father's images, what a scene of iniquity opens! The family of Nahor, who left the idolatrous Chaldees; is this family itself become idolatrous? It is even so. The truth seems to be, that they were like some in after-times, who sware by the Lord and by Malcham, #Zep 1:5|; and like others in our times, who wish to serve both God and mammon. Great numbers will acknowledge the true God in words, but their hearts and houses are the abodes of spiritual idolatry. When a man gives himself up to covetousness, like Laban, the world is his god; and he has only to reside among gross idolaters in order to become one, or at least a favourer of their abominations.

36-42 If Jacob were willingly consumed with heat in the day, and frost by night, to become the son-in-law of Laban, what should we refuse to endure, to become the sons of God? Jacob speaks of God as the God of his father; he thought himself unworthy to be regarded, but was beloved for his father's sake. He calls him the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac; for Abraham was dead, and gone to that world where perfect love casts out fear; but Isaac was yet alive, sanctifying the Lord in his heart, as his fear and his dread.

43-55 Laban could neither justify himself nor condemn Jacob, therefore desires to hear no more of that matter. He is not willing to own himself in fault, as he ought to have done. But he proposes a covenant of friendship between them, to which Jacob readily agrees. A heap of stones was raised, to keep up the memory of the event, writing being then not known or little used. A sacrifice of peace offerings was offered. Peace with God puts true comfort into our peace with our friends. They did eat bread together, partaking of the feast upon the sacrifice. In ancient times covenants of friendship were ratified by the parties eating and drinking together. God is judge between contending parties, and he will judge righteously; whoever do wrong, it is at their peril. They gave a new name to the place, The heap of witness. After this angry parley, they part friends. God is often better to us than our fears, and overrules the spirits of men in our favour, beyond what we could have expected; for it is not in vain to trust in him.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Genesis 31

  • John
    So here is a firm covenant, before Jehovah, that the border of Syria and Israel is on the mount Gilead? The Golan Heights are much further north? Mmm.
  • John
    Stuff the noun in this early modern context should be associated with the verb and interpreted as their furnishing. Stuffing in the sense of a mattress or pillow、 slang is a misnomer in language it is a class based assessment not a linguistic reality. One of my reasons for reading KJB is for etymology and early modern context since becoming an English teacher overseas and encountering US English
  • BSP
    Verse 5- even when our family members fail to be there for us we can count on Jehovah God being there for us if we draw lose to him.
  • Stan jett
    Leslie: Thanksgiving would not be Thanksgiving without the Turkey and the 'stuffings." (jk) We say stuff all the time down south and we also say Ya'll.
  • A disciple
    Leigh (cont.); "..Did I miss something?" Abraham came into the land of Canaan by God's direction, to pass his days as a stranger and a pilgrim in a country that was to be given to him in the future; and as a watcher and a holy one to be a witness of the ungodly nation which God was about to take away. Jacob knew the high and holy calling of God on his family though his wife lagged a little behind.
  • A disciple
    Leigh; The relatives of Jacob were nothing like the Canaanites, even if they were infected with idols: they were not the same kind that Moses later wrote about, who did every abomination that the LORD hates and therefore had God judged to have them completely and utterly exterminated from the earth. There are nations and people today that simply don't know any better, and the Lord will have mercy.

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