|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
31:1-21 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.
Verses 17, 18. - Then (literally, and) Jacob rose up (expressive of the vigor and alacrity with which, having obtained the concurrence of his wives, Jacob set about fulfilling the Divine instructions), and set his sons - his children, as in Genesis 31:1; Genesis 32:12, including Dinah, if by this time she had been born (vide Genesis 30:21) - and his wives upon camels. Since neither were able to undertake a journey to Canaan on foot, his oldest son being not more than thirteen years of age and his youngest not more than six. One camel, vide Genesis 12:16. And he carried away - the verb נָהֵג, to pant, which is specially used of those who are exhausted by running (Gesenins, sub voce), may perhaps indicate the haste with which Jacob acted - all his cattle, - Mikneh, literally, possession, from kanah, to procure, always used of cattle, the chief wealth of a nomad (cf. Genesis 13:2; Genesis 26:14) - and all his goods which he had gotten, - Recush, literally, acquisition, hence substance, wealth in general, from racash, to acquire (vide Genesis 14:11, 16, 21; Genesis 15:14), which, however, is more specifically described as - the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten (both of the above verbs, kanah and racash, being now employed) in (i.e. during his stay in) Padan-aram, for to go to Issac his father in the land of Canaan.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then Jacob rose up,.... And went with them to Laban's house, where his children were, as is plain from Rachel's theft, Genesis 31:19,
and set his sons and his wives upon camels; which were his own, see Genesis 30:43; creatures fit for travelling; on these he set his wives, Rachel and Leah, and his concubine wives, Bilhah and Zilpah; for these went with him, as appears from Genesis 33:6; and "his sons", or rather "his children": for they were not all sons, there was one daughter, and they were all young; his eldest son Reuben could not be much more than twelve years of age, and his youngest son Joseph about six.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
17. Then Jacob rose up—Little time is spent by pastoral people in removing. The striking down the tents and poles and stowing them among their other baggage; the putting their wives and children in houdas like cradles, on the backs of camels, or in panniers on asses; and the ranging of the various parts of the flock under the respective shepherds; all this is a short process. A plain that is covered in the morning with a long array of tents and with browsing flocks, may, in a few hours, appear so desolate that not a vestige of the encampment remains, except the holes in which the tent poles had been fixed.
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