Dave Burnette's Commentary

Genesis Chapter 31

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Moses
Date Penned: (1450-1410 BC)
Overview: The Record of God's Chosen People (c 23-50)
Theme: The Story of Jacob (c 29-36)
Message: Jacob Returns Home (v 1-55)

Genesis 31 Commentary

(31:1- 2) Jacob's wealth made Laban's sons jealous - It is sometimes difficult to be happy when others are doing better than we are. To compare our success with that of others is a dangerous way to judge the quality of our lives. By comparing ourselves to them, We may be giving jealousy a foothold. We can avoid jealousy by rejoicing in others' successes (Romans 12:15).

(31:4-13) God Blesses Jacob despite Labans treatment - God's Power is not limited by lack of fair play. He has the ability to meet our needs and make us thrive even though others mistreat us. To give in and respond unfairly in return is to be no different from your enemies.

(31:14-15) Laban receives the fruit of his actions -  Leaving home was not difficult for Rachel and Leah because their father had treated them as poorly as he had Jacob. According to custom, they were supposed to receive the benefits of the dowry Jacob paid for them, which was 14 years of hard work. When Laban did not give them what was rightfully theirs, they knew they would never inherit anything from their father. Thus they wholeheartedly approved of Jacob's plan to take the wealth he had gained and leave.

(31:19) Laban's Idols -  Many people kept small wooden or metal idols in their homes. These idols were called teraphim, and they were thought to protect the home and offer advice in times of need. They had legal significance as well, for when they were passed on to an heir, the person who received them could rightfully claim the greatest part of the family inheritance. No wonder Laban was concerned when he realized his idols were missing (31:30). Most likely Rachel stole her father's idols because she rightfully claimed the greatest part of the family inheritance.

(31:32) Jacob makes a Dangerous Vow -  Jacob was so sure that no one had stolen Laban's idols that he vowed to kill the offender. Jacob did not know that Rachael took them and this statement put Rachel in serious jeopardy. Even when you are absolutely sure about a matter, it is safer to avoid rash statements or vows.

(31:38-42) Jacob's Hard Work pays off - Jacob made it a habit to do more than was expected of him. When his flocks were attacked he took the losses rather than splitting them with Laban. He worked hard even after several pay cuts. His diligence eventually paid off; his flocks began to multiply. We learn that our hard work (1) pleases God, (2) earns recognition and advancement, (3) enhances your reputation, (4) builds others' confidence in you, (5) gives you more experience and knowledge, and (6) develops your spiritual maturity.

(31:49) Jacob and Laban make a Vow to God -  To be binding, an agreement had to be witnessed by a third party. In this case, Jacob and Laban used God as their witness that they would keep their word.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

God's Favor

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter, making application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. There are many applications we can make from each day's text. Today we Continue in the book of Genesis with Chapter 31, and in today's text, we see that although Jacob reaped what He sowed, He still sees the blessings of the Lord on his life because of His relationship with God. What Jacob did on his own failed - but what God did in his life prospered. We see Jacob's life made Laban's sons jealous, causing Jacob to return home. Even with Laban mistreating Jacob, God increased Jacob's wealth. Seeing this makes me wonder if Jacob had not sinned against God, what would have been the potential for blessings in his life? In making an application, we can see the benefits in the life of a Child of God. The gifts are not always a huge bank account but a good family, Godly friends, a loving Church, and your basic needs, which are priceless. Our decisions to obey God can multiply these blessings in our lives. I am not talking about a prosperity Gospel but a Loving Father who favors His Children for following Him. How about you? Are you a child of God? If so, do you see the blessings of God in your life? My challenge to you is to take an inventory of your life, have a thankful heart, and make decisions to obey God's Word because you love Him, and if you do, I believe that you will see God's Favor upon your life. 


Genesis 31

Genesis 31

 1And 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.

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

 3And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.

 4And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock,

 5And 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.

 6And ye know that with all my power I have served your father.

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

 8If 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.

 9Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me.

 10And 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.

 11And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I.

 12And 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.

 13I 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.

 14And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house?

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

 16For 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.

 17Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels;

 18And 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.

 19And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father's.

 20And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled.

 21So he fled with all that he had; and he rose up, and passed over the river, and set his face toward the mount Gilead.

 22And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob was fled.

 23And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days' journey; and they overtook him in the mount Gilead.

 24And 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.

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

 26And 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?

 27Wherefore 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?

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

 29It 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.

 30And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father's house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?

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

 32With 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.

 33And 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.

 34Now 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.

 35And 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.

 36And 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?

 37Whereas 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.

 38This 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.

 39That 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.

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

 41Thus 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.

 42Except 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.

 43And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and these cattle are my cattle, and all that thou seest is mine: and what can I do this day unto these my daughters, or unto their children which they have born?

 44Now therefore come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee.

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

 46And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap: and they did eat there upon the heap.

 47And Laban called it Jegarsahadutha: but Jacob called it Galeed.

 48And Laban said, This heap is a witness between me and thee this day. Therefore was the name of it called Galeed;

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

 50If 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.

 51And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold this pillar, which I have cast betwixt me and thee:

 52This 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.

 53The 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.

 54Then 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.

 55And 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.