Jacob, displeased with the envy of Laban and his sons, departs secretly, 1-21. Rachel steals her father's images, 19. Laban pursues after him and complains of the wrong, 22-33. Rachel's stratagem to hide the images, 34, 35. Jacob's complaint of Laban, 36-42. The covenant of Laban and Jacob at Galeed, 43-55.
1 And he heard the words of Laban's sons, saying, "Jacob has taken away all that was our father's, and from that which was our father's he has obtained all this glory." 2 And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and behold, it was not toward him as before. 3 And the LORD said to Jacob, "Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you." 4 And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah into the field to his flock, 5 And said to them, "I see your father's countenance, that it is not toward me as before, but the God of my father has been with me. 6 And you know that with all my power I have served your father. 7 And your father has deceived me and changed my wages ten times, but God did not allow him to hurt me. 8 If he said, 'The speckled shall be your wages,' then all the flock bore speckled. And if he said, 'The striped shall be your hire,' then all the flock bore striped. 9 Thus God has taken away the flock of your father and given them to me. 10 And it came to pass at the time that the flock conceived, that I lifted up my eyes and saw in a dream, and behold, the rams which leaped upon the flock were striped, speckled, and grizzled. 11 And the angel of God spoke to me in a dream, saying, 'Jacob.' And I said, 'Here I am.' 12 And he said, 'Lift up now your eyes and see, all the rams which leap upon the flock are striped, speckled, and grizzled, for I have seen all that Laban does to you. 13 I am the God of Beth-el, where you anointed the pillar and where you vowed to me a vow. Now arise, depart from this land, and return to the land of your kindred.'" 14 And Rachel and Leah answered and said to him, "Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house? 15 Are we not counted by him strangers? For he has sold us and has also quite consumed our money. 16 For all the riches which God has taken from our father, that is ours and our children's. Now then whatever God has said to you, do."
17 Then Jacob arose and set his sons and his wives upon camels. 18 And he carried away all his cattle and all his goods which he had gained, the cattle of his getting, which he had gained in Padan-aram, to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan. 19 And Laban went to shear his sheep, and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father's. 20 And Jacob deceived Laban the Syrian, in that he did not tell him that he was about to depart. 21 So he fled with all that he had, and he arose and passed over the river and set his face toward the mountain of Gilead.
22 And it was told to Laban on the third day that Jacob had fled. 23 And he took his brothers with him and pursued after him seven days' journey, and they overtook him in the mountains of Gilead. 24 And God came to Laban, the Syrian, in a dream by night and said to him, "Take heed that you do not speak to Jacob either good or bad."
25 Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent on the mountain, and Laban, with his brothers, pitched on the mountain of Gilead. 26 And Laban said to Jacob, "What have you done that you have deceived me and carried away my daughters as captives taken with the sword? 27 Why did you flee away secretly, and steal away from me and not tell me so that I might have sent you away with mirth, with songs, with tambourine, and with harp, 28 And have not allowed me to kiss my sons and my daughters? You have now done foolishly in so doing. 29 It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, 'Take heed that you do not speak to Jacob either good or bad.' 30 And now, you have gone away because you earnestly longed after your father's house, yet why have you stolen my gods?" 31 And Jacob answered and said to Laban, "Because I was afraid, for I thought it may be that you would take your daughters from me by force. 32 With whomever you find your gods, do not let him live. Before our brothers, discern what is yours with me and take it." For Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them.
33 And Laban went into Jacob's tent, into Leah's tent, and into the two maid-servants' tents, but he did not find them. Then he went out of Leah's tent and entered into Rachel's tent. 34 Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel's saddle and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but did not find them. 35 And she said to her father, "Do not let it displease my lord that I cannot rise up before you, for the custom of women is upon me." And he searched, but did not find the images.
36 And Jacob was angry and chided with Laban. And Jacob answered and said to Laban, "What is my trespass? What is my sin that you have so eagerly pursued after me? 37 Whereas you have searched all my stuff, what have you found of all your household-stuff? Set it here before my brothers and your brothers so that they may judge between us both. 38 These twenty years I have been with you. Your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried their young, and the rams of your flock I have not eaten. 39 That which was torn by beasts, I did not bring to you. I bore the loss of it. From my hand you required it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night. 40 Thus I was: in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night, and my sleep departed from my eyes. 41 Thus I have been twenty years in your house. I served you fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times. 42 Unless the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac had been with me, surely you had now sent me away empty. God has seen my affliction and the labor of my hands and he rebuked you last night."
43 And Laban answered and said to Jacob, "These daughters are my daughters, these children are my children, the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine. But what can I do this day to these daughters of mine, or to their children which they have borne? 44 Now therefore, come, let us make a covenant—I and you—and let it be for a witness between me and you." 45 And Jacob took a stone and set it up for a pillar. 46 And Jacob said to his brothers, "Gather stones." And they took stones and made a heap, and they ate there upon the heap. 47 And Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha, but Jacob called it Galeed. 48 And Laban said, "This heap is a witness between me and you this day." Therefore, the name of it was called Galeed, 49 And Mizpah, for he said, "May the LORD watch between me and you when we are absent one from another. 50 If you afflict my daughters, or if you take other wives besides my daughters, and no man is with us, behold, God is witness between me and you." 51 And Laban said to Jacob, "Behold this heap and behold this pillar which I have cast between me and you. 52 This heap is a witness and this pillar is a witness that I will not pass over this heap to you and that you shall not pass over this heap and this pillar to me for harm. 53 May the God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us." And Jacob swore by the fear of his father Isaac. 54 Then Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mountain and called his brothers to eat bread. And they ate bread and tarried all night on the mountain. 55 And early in the morning Laban arose, kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them. And Laban departed and returned to his place.
Matthew Henry Commentary - Genesis, Chapter 31[➚]