|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 9. - Thus - literally, and (as the result of this) - God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me. In ascribing to God what he had himself effected by (so-called) fraud, this language of Jacob appears to some inexcusable (Kalisch); in passing over his own stratagem in silence Jacob has been charged with not telling the whole truth to his wives (Keil). A more charitable consideration of Jacob's statement, however, discerns-in it an evidence of his piety, which recognized and gratefully acknowledged that not his own "consummate cunning, 'but Jehovah s watchful care had enabled him to outwit the dishonest craft of Laban (Rosenmüller, Ainsworth, Bush, Candlish, Murphy).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father,.... Not all of them, see Genesis 31:19; but a great part of them; his flock was much lessened by those means, and more were taken away, and came to Jacob's share, than if Laban had abode by the original agreement:
and gave them to me; who has the disposing of all things in the world, whose the world, and all in it, are, and gives of it to the sons of men as he pleases. Jacob takes no notice of any artifice of his, or of any means and methods he made use of, but wholly ascribes all to the providence of God, and points to his wives the hand of God only; and indeed it seems to be by his direction that he took the method he did, as appears from Genesis 31:11.
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