|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
31:22-35 God can put a bridle in the mouth of wicked men, to restrain their malice, though he do not change their hearts. Though they have no love to God's people, they will pretend to it, and try to make a merit of necessity. Foolish Laban! to call those things his gods which could be stolen! Enemies may steal our goods, but not our God. Here Laban lays to Jacob's charge things that he knew not. Those who commit their cause to God, are not forbidden to plead it themselves with meekness and fear. When we read of Rachel's stealing her father's images, what a scene of iniquity opens! The family of Nahor, who left the idolatrous Chaldees; is this family itself become idolatrous? It is even so. The truth seems to be, that they were like some in after-times, who sware by the Lord and by Malcham, Zep 1:5; and like others in our times, who wish to serve both God and mammon. Great numbers will acknowledge the true God in words, but their hearts and houses are the abodes of spiritual idolatry. When a man gives himself up to covetousness, like Laban, the world is his god; and he has only to reside among gross idolaters in order to become one, or at least a favourer of their abominations.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone,.... Or, "in going wouldest go" (i), was determined upon it, and in haste to do it:
because thou sore longedst after thy father's house, or "desiring didst desire it" (k); had a vehement desire for it, which Laban signifies he should not have opposed, if he had let him know his mind: but be it so that he had ever so great desire to leave him and return to his father's house, says he:
yet, wherefore, hast thou stolen my gods? what reason had he for that? if he took away himself, his wives, his children, his goods, what business had he with his gods? he could not claim these as his, meaning the images or teraphim before mentioned, Genesis 31:19; by which it appears that Laban was some way or other guilty of idolatry in the use of these images; looking upon them as types, or representations of God, as Josephus (l) calls them, and worshipped God in them, or along with them and by them; for he could never think they were truly and really gods, that could not preserve themselves from being stolen away, and that must be a poor god that a man may be robbed of.
(i) "eundo ivisti", Pagninus, Montanus, Drusius. (k) "desiderando desiderabis", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Drusius, Piscator. (l) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 19. sect. 9.
Genesis 31:30 Parallel Commentaries
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