Genesis 31:19
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father's household gods.

New Living Translation
At the time they left, Laban was some distance away, shearing his sheep. Rachel stole her father's household idols and took them with her.

English Standard Version
Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel stole her father’s household gods.

New American Standard Bible
When Laban had gone to shear his flock, then Rachel stole the household idols that were her father's.

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

Holman Christian Standard Bible
When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father's household idols.

International Standard Version
Meanwhile, Laban had been out shearing his sheep. While he was away, Rachel stole her father's personal idols.

NET Bible
While Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole the household idols that belonged to her father.

New Heart English Bible
Now Laban had gone to shear his sheep: and Rachel stole the teraphim that were her father's.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
When Laban went to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father's idols.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Now Laban was gone to shear his sheep. And Rachel stole the teraphim that were her father's.

New American Standard 1977
When Laban had gone to shear his flock, then Rachel stole the household idols that were her father’s.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And Laban had gone to shear his sheep; and Rachel stole the idols of her father.

King James 2000 Bible
And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father's.

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

American Standard Version
Now Laban was gone to shear his sheep: and Rachel stole the teraphim that were her father's.

Douay-Rheims Bible
At that time Laban was gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel stole away her father's idols.

Darby Bible Translation
And Laban had gone to shear his sheep. And Rachel stole the teraphim that [belonged] to her father.

English Revised Version
Now Laban was gone to shear his sheep: and Rachel stole the teraphim that were her father's.

Webster's Bible Translation
And Laban went to shear his sheep; and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father's.

World English Bible
Now Laban had gone to shear his sheep: and Rachel stole the teraphim that were her father's.

Young's Literal Translation
And Laban hath gone to shear his flock, and Rachel stealeth the teraphim which her father hath;
Study Bible
Jacob Flees from Laban
18and he drove away all his livestock and all his property which he had gathered, his acquired livestock which he had gathered in Paddan-aram, to go to the land of Canaan to his father Isaac. 19When Laban had gone to shear his flock, then Rachel stole the household idols that were her father's. 20And Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean by not telling him that he was fleeing.…
Cross References
Genesis 31:20
And Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean by not telling him that he was fleeing.

Genesis 31:30
"Now you have indeed gone away because you longed greatly for your father's house; but why did you steal my gods?"

Genesis 31:34
Now Rachel had taken the household idols and put them in the camel's saddle, and she sat on them. And Laban felt through all the tent but did not find them.

Genesis 31:35
She said to her father, "Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise before you, for the manner of women is upon me." So he searched but did not find the household idols.

Genesis 35:2
So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, "Put away the foreign gods which are among you, and purify yourselves and change your garments;

Judges 17:5
And the man Micah had a shrine and he made an ephod and household idols and consecrated one of his sons, that he might become his priest.

Judges 18:17
Now the five men who went to spy out the land went up and entered there, and took the graven image and the ephod and household idols and the molten image, while the priest stood by the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men armed with weapons of war.

1 Samuel 15:23
"For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king."

1 Samuel 19:13
Michal took the household idol and laid it on the bed, and put a quilt of goats' hair at its head, and covered it with clothes.

2 Kings 23:24
Moreover, Josiah removed the mediums and the spiritists and the teraphim and the idols and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, that he might confirm the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD.
Treasury of Scripture

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

images. Heb. teraphim.

Genesis 31:30,32 And now, though you would needs be gone, because you sore longed …

Genesis 35:2 Then Jacob said to his household, and to all that were with him, …

Joshua 24:2 And Joshua said to all the people, Thus said the LORD God of Israel, …

Judges 17:4,5 Yet he restored the money to his mother; and his mother took two …

Judges 18:14-24,31 Then answered the five men that went to spy out the country of Laish, …

1 Samuel 19:13 And Michal took an image, and laid it in the bed, and put a pillow …

Ezekiel 21:21 For the king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the head …

Hosea 3:4 For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, …

(19) Laban went to shear his sheep.--The sheep-shearing was a joyous time, when the hard toil of the shearers was relieved by feasting ( 1Samuel 25:8 ). Laban's flocks, apparently, were also at some distance from Haran, and his sons and men-servants would all be with him, busily occupied in the work. Apparently, too, Laban's wealth was not seriously diminished, though it had not of late increased; and his repeated change of the hire proves that he was quite able to take care of himself. But why was not Jacob present, as he had chief charge of Laban's flocks? Possibly, he was expected there, and was missed; but, more probably, as the result of the growing estrangement between them, caused by the too rapid increase of Jacob's riches, Laban and his sons had gradually taken the management of their flocks into their own hands.

Images.--Heb., teraphim, called Laban's gods in Genesis 31:30, and we find that their worship continued throughout the Old Testament history. Micah sets up teraphim, as well as a molten and a graven image, and an ephod (Judges 18:17). Though in 1Samuel 15:23, where the Authorised Version has idolatry, teraphim are spoken of in strong terms of condemnation, yet Michal possessed them, and placed them in David's bed. We gather from this that they had a head shaped like that of a man, but, probably, a dwarf trunk, as she seems to have put more than one in the bed to represent David's body (1Samuel 19:13). So, too, here Rachel hides them under the camel's furniture (Genesis 31:34), which proves that they, in this case, were of no great size. In the history of the thorough reformation carried out by King Josiah we find the mention of teraphim among the things put away (2Kings 23:24). We learn, nevertheless, from Zechariah 10:2, that they were still used for divination; and from Hosea 3:4 that both pillars and teraphim had long been objects of ordinary superstition among the ten tribes. As Nebuchadnezzar divines by them (Ezekiel 21:21) they were possibly of Chaldean origin; and, probably, were not so much worshipped as used for consultation. Women seem to have been most given to their service, and probably regarded them as charms, and told fortunes by them; and here Rachel stole them upon the supposition that they would bring prosperity to her and her husband.

Verse 19. - And Laban went - or, Now Laban had gone, probably to the other station, which was three days journey from Jacob's flocks (vide Genesis 30:36; and cf. Genesis 31:22) - to shear his sheep. In this work he would probably be detained several days, the time of shearing being commonly regarded as a festal season (cf. Genesis 38:12; 1 Samuel 25:4; 2 Samuel 13:23), at which friendly entertainments were given. Whether Jacob's absence from the festivities is to be explained by the dissension existing between him and Laban, which either caused him to be uninvited or led him to decline the invitation (Kurtz), or by the supposition that he had first gone and subsequently left the banquet (Lange), the fact that Laban was so engaged afforded Jacob the opportunity he desired for making his escape. And Rachel had stolen (or, "and Rachel stole," availing herself likewise of the opportunity presented by her father's absence) the images that were her father's. The teraphim, from an unused root, taraph, signifying to live comfortably, like the Sanscrit trip, Greek τρέφειν, Arabic tarafa (Gesenius, Furst, sub voces), appear to have been small human figures (cf. Genesis 31:34), though the image in 1 Samuel 19:13 must have been nearly life-size, or at least a full-sized bust, sometimes made of silver (Judges 17:4), though commonly constructed of wood (1 Samuel 19:13-16); they were worshipped as gods (εἰδωλα, LXX.; vide, Vulgate, cf. Genesis 31:30), consulted for oracles (Ezekiel 21:26; Zechariah 10:2), and believed to be the custodians and promoters of human happiness (Judges 18:24). Probably derived from the Aramaeans (Furst, Kurtz), or the Chaldeans (Ezekiel 21:21, Kalisch, Wordsworth), the worship of teraphim was subsequently denounced as idolatrous (1 Samuel 15:23; 2 Kings 13:24). Cf. with Rachel's act that ascribed to AEneas: -

"Effigies sacrae divum, Phrygiique Penates,
Quos mecum a Troja, mediisque ex ignibus urbis,"
Extuleram"


(Virg., 'AEn.,' 3. 148-150). Rachel's motive for abstracting her father's teraphim has been variously ascribed to a desire to prevent her father from discovering, by inquiring at his gods, the direction of their flight (Aben Ezra, Rosenmüller), to protect herself, in case, of being overtaken, by an appeal to her father s gods (Josephus), to draw her father from the practice of idolatry (Bazil, Gregory, Nazisnzen, Theodoret), to obtain children for herself through their assistance (Lengerke, Gerlach), to preserve a memorial of her ancestors, whose pictures these teraphim were (Lightfoot); but was probably due to avarice, if the images were made of precious metals (Pererius), or to a taint of superstition which still adhered to her otherwise religious nature (Chrysostom, Calvin, 'Speaker's Commentary ), causing her to look to these idols for protection (Kalisch, Murphy) or consultation (Wordsworth) on her journey. And Laban went to shear his sheep,.... Which were under the care of his sons, and were three days' distance from Jacob's flocks; this gave Jacob a fair opportunity to depart with his family and substance, since Laban and his sons were at such a distance, and their servants with them also:

and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father's; afterwards called gods, which he made use of in an idolatrous and superstitious manner, one way or other: they seem to be a kind of "penates", or household gods; in the Hebrew they are called "teraphim"; and which De Dieu thinks were the same with "seraphim" (z); and were images of angels, consulted on occasion, and placed in the house for the protection of it, and to increase the substance thereof: some take them to be plates of brass describing the hours of the day, a sort of sundials; or were such forms, that at certain times were made to speak, and show things to come: but they rather seem to be images of an human form, as say the Jewish writers, and as seems from 1 Samuel 19:13; and which it is supposed were made under certain constellations, and were a sort of talismans, and were consulted as oracles, and in high esteem with the Chaldeans and Syrians, a people given to astrology, and by which they made their divinations; See Gill on Hosea 3:4 and also See Gill on Zechariah 10:2; and therefore Rachel took them away, that her father might not consult them, and know which way Jacob fled, as Aben Ezra; but this looks as if she had an opinion of them, and that they had such a power of discovering persons and things that were attributed to them: and indeed some think she took them away from an affection and veneration for them, supposing she should not be able to meet with such in Canaan in Isaac's family; and what is observed in Genesis 35:2 seems to countenance this; but one would think she had been better instructed by Jacob during his twenty years' conversation with her; and besides, had she been tinctured with such sort of superstition and idolatry, she would never have used them so indecently, as to have sat upon them in the circumstances in which she was, Genesis 31:34; it is more to her credit and character to say with Jarchi, that she did this to take off her father from the idolatrous worship of them, and to convince him that they were no gods; since they could not inform him of the designs of Jacob, and of his flight, nor secure themselves from being carried away by her; unless it can be thought that she took them because of the metal of which they were made, gold or silver, being willing to have something of her father's goods as her portion, which she thought she had a right unto, or in recompence of her husband's service. Dr. Lightfoot (a) thinks she took them for a civil use, to preserve the memory of some of her ancestors, of which these were the pictures, and Laban had idolized; but whether pictures were so early is questionable.

(z) So Hyde, Hist. Relig. Ver. Pers. c. 20. p. 272. (a) Works, vol. 1. p. 696. 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.
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