|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.
Verse 3. - And the Lord - Jehovah; since the entire journey to Padan-aram had been conducted under his special care, vide Genesis 28:15 (Hengstenberg), and not because the first three verses of this chapter have been inserted or modified by the Jehovist (Tuch, Block, et al.) - said unto Jacob, probably in a dream (cf. vers. 5, 10, 11). Return unto the land of thy fathers (i.e. Canaan), and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee. So Jehovah had promised at Bethel twenty years before (Genesis 28:15).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the Lord said unto Jacob,.... In answer to a prayer of his; or seeing what difficulties and discouragements Jacob laboured under, he appeared unto him for his encouragement and instruction how to proceed:
return unto the land of thy fathers; the land of Canaan, given to Abraham and Isaac by promise:
and to thy kindred: his father and mother, and brother, who all dwelt in the land of Canaan at this time, or as many as were living: or "to thy nativity" (w), the place where he was born, and to which he must have a natural desire to return: and
I will be with thee; to protect him from any injury that might be attempted to be done unto him, either by Laban or Esau.
(w) "ad natale solum", Tigurine version; "ad nativitatem tuam", Vatablus, Drusius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. the Lord said … Return unto the land of thy fathers—Notwithstanding the ill usage he had received, Jacob might not have deemed himself at liberty to quit his present sphere, under the impulse of passionate fretfulness and discontent. Having been conducted to Haran by God (Ge 28:15) and having got a promise that the same heavenly Guardian would bring him again into the land of Canaan, he might have thought he ought not to leave it, without being clearly persuaded as to the path of duty. So ought we to set the Lord before us, and to acknowledge Him in all our ways, our journeys, our settlements, and plans in life.
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