Genesis 31:15
Are we not counted of him strangers? for he has sold us, and has quite devoured also our money.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) He hath sold us.—There is a marked asperity towards their father in the answer of Jacob’s wives, and not only the petted Rachel but the neglected Leah joins in it. Now, though his sale of them to Jacob had been more open than Oriental good manners usually allowed, and though he seems to have acted meanly in giving no portion with them, yet these were old sores, long since healed and forgiven. Laban must have been stingy, grasping, and over-reaching in recent times, to have kept the memory of old wrongs so fresh in the minds of his daughters.

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.His wives entirely accord with his view of their father's selfishness in dealing with his son-in-law, and approve of his intended departure. Jacob makes all the needful preparations for a hasty and secret flight. He avails himself of the occasion when Laban is at a distance probably of three or more days' journey, shearing his sheep. "Rachel stole the teraphim." It is not the business of Scripture to acquaint us with the kinds and characteristics of false worship. Hence, we know little of the teraphim, except that they were employed by those who professed to worship the true God. Rachel had a lingering attachment to these objects of her family's superstitious reverence, and secretly carried them away as relics of a home she was to visit no more, and as sources of safety to herself against the perils of her flight.14. Rachel and Leah answered—Having heard his views, they expressed their entire approval; and from grievances of their own, they were fully as desirous of a separation as himself. They display not only conjugal affection, but piety in following the course described—"whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do" [Ge 31:16]. "Those that are really their husbands' helpmeets will never be their hindrances in doing that to which God calls them" [Henry]. Are we not confuted of him strangers? as if we had no more right to his estate than strangers? Instead of a good part of his estate, which by the law of God and nature belongs to us, 2 Corinthians 12:14, wherewith he should have endowed us upon our marriage, he hath made sale of us for this fourteen years’ hard service, seeking only his own, not our advantage. He hath not only withheld from us, but spent upon himself, that money which he got by thy care and industry, whereof a considerable part was due in equity to us and to our children. Are we not accounted of him strangers?.... He had not treated them as children, nor even as freeborn persons; but as if they were foreigners that he had taken in war, or bought of others; or at least, that they were born bondmaids in his house, and so had a right to sell them as he had:

for he hath sold us; he had sold them to Jacob for fourteen years' service, as if they had been his slaves, instead of giving dowries with them as his children:

and hath quite devoured also our money; that which he got by the servitude of Jacob, instead of giving it to them as their portion; he spent it on himself and his sons, and there was nothing left for them.

Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath {e} sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money.

(e) For they were given to Jacob as payment for his service, which was a kind of sale.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. strangers] i.e. foreigners, people of another kindred or country.

sold us] Referring to the bargain by which Jacob had obtained his two wives at the price of fourteen years’ service (Genesis 29:15-20; Genesis 29:27).

our money] Better, as marg., the price paid for us. Laban had taken to himself the full profits of Jacob’s fourteen years’ service as the gift, or mohar, to the bride’s family; but had assigned nothing of it as the dowry or gift to the two brides. Cf. Genesis 24:53. This conduct they imply was contrary to usual custom, and was part of his stinginess. It was too late now to expect him to give anything back.

18 (P). all his substance] It would appear that this verse, taken from P, is the brief summary of Jacob’s departure given in that narrative. The words for “substance” and “his getting,” the mention of “Paddan-aram,” and the redundancy of the language, are characteristic of P.

to Isaac his father] The narrative of JE (Genesis 27:1, Genesis 28:21) would suggest that Isaac had died long previously.אביכם: for אביכן as in Genesis 32:16, etc. - "Ten times:" i.e., as often as possible, the ten as a round number expressing the idea of completeness. From the statement that Laban had changed his wages ten times, it is evident that when Laban observed, that among his sheep and goats, of one colour only, a large number of mottled young were born, he made repeated attempts to limit the original stipulation by changing the rule as to the colour of the young, and so diminishing Jacob's wages. But when Jacob passes over his own stratagem in silence, and represents all that he aimed at and secured by crafty means as the fruit of God's blessing, this differs no doubt from the account in Genesis 30. It is not a contradiction, however, pointing to a difference in the sources of the two chapters, but merely a difference founded upon actual fact, viz., the fact that Jacob did not tell the whole truth to his wives. Moreover self-help and divine help do not exclude one another. Hence his account of the dream, in which he saw that the rams that leaped upon the cattle were all of various colours, and heard the voice of the angel of God calling his attention to what had been seen, in the words, "I have seen all that Laban hath done to thee," may contain actual truth; and the dream may be regarded as a divine revelation, which was either sent to explain to him now, at the end of the sixth year, "that it was not his stratagem, but the providence of God which had prevented him from falling a victim to Laban's avarice, and had brought him such wealth" (Delitzsch); or, if the dream occurred at an earlier period, was meant to teach him, that "the help of God, without any such self-help, could procure him justice and safety in spite of Laban's selfish covetousness" (Kurtz). It is very difficult to decide between these two interpretations. As Jehovah's instructions to him to return were not given till the end of his period of service, and Jacob connects them so closely with the vision of the rams that they seem contemporaneous, Delitzsch's view appears to deserve the preference. But the עשׂה in Genesis 31:12, "all that Laban is doing to thee," does not exactly suit this meaning; and we should rather expect to find עשׂה used at the end of the time of service. The participle rather favours Kurtz's view, that Jacob had the vision of the rams and the explanation from the angel at the beginning of the last six years of service, but that in his communication to his wives, in which there was no necessity to preserve a strict continuity or distinction of time, he connected it with the divine instructions to return to his home, which he received at the end of his time of service. But if we decide in favour of this view, we have no further guarantee for the objective reality of the vision of the rams, since nothing is said about it in the historical account, and it is nowhere stated that the wealth obtained by Jacob's craftiness was the result of the divine blessing. The attempt so unmistakeably apparent in Jacob's whole conversation with his wives, to place his dealing with Laban in the most favourable light for himself, excites the suspicion, that the vision of which he spoke was nothing more than a natural dream, the materials being supplied by the three thoughts that were most frequently in his mind, by night as well as by day, viz., (1) his own schemes and their success; (2) the promise received at Bethel; (3) the wish to justify his actions to his own conscience; and that these were wrought up by an excited imagination into a visionary dream, of the divine origin of which Jacob himself may not have had the slightest doubt. - In Genesis 31:13 האל has the article in the construct state, contrary to the ordinary rule; cf. Ges. 110, 2b; Ewald, 290.
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