Genesis 31:20
And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) Jacob stole away unawares.Heb., stole the heart. But the heart was regarded by the Hebrews as the seat of the intellect, and so to steal a man’s understanding, like the similar phrase in Greek, means to elude his observation.

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.Laban hears of his flight, pursues, and overtakes him. "Stole the heart," κλέπτειν νοῦν kleptein noun. The heart is the seat of the understanding in Scripture. To steal the heart of anyone is to act without his knowledge. The river. The Frat, near which, we may conclude, Jacob was tending his flocks. Haran was about seventy miles from the river, and therefore, Laban's flocks were on the other side of Haran. "Toward mount Gilead;" about three hundred miles from the Frat. "On the third day." This shows that Laban's flocks kept by his sons were still three days' journey apart from Jacob's. His brethren - his kindred and dependents. "Seven days' journey." On the third day after the arrival of the messenger, Laban might return to the spot whence Jacob had taken his flight. In this case, Jacob would have at least five days of a start; which, added to the seven days of pursuit, would give him twelve days to travel three hundred English miles. To those accustomed to the pastoral life this was a possible achievement. God appears to Laban on behalf of Jacob, and warns him not to harm him. "Not to speak from good to bad" is merely to abstain from language expressing and prefacing violence.20. Jacob stole away—The result showed the prudence and necessity of departing secretly; otherwise, Laban might have detained him by violence or artifice. Heb. Stole away the heart of Laban, to wit, his daughters, his cattle, and his gods, upon which his heart was vehemently set, as Micah’s was, Judges 18:24. But if this had been meant, it had been imputed to Rachel, and not to Jacob, who knew nothing of the gods. Or rather, stole away from the heart, & c., the Hebrew eth being put for meeth, as Genesis 4:1 49:25 1 Kings 8:43, compared with 2 Chronicles 6:33 Micah 3:8, i.e. without the knowledge and consent of Laban, which sense is confirmed by the words next following, and by Genesis 31:26,27, and by the like use of the phrase, 2 Samuel 19:3. Thus he fled, because he knew Laban’s selfish, and unrighteous, and cruel disposition, that he would always hinder him from departing, either by fraudulent pretences or by open force, nor suffer so great a diminution in that estate, which he thought one time or other he might in good measure recover to himself. And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian,.... Went away without his knowledge, or giving him any notice of it; he was too cunning for Laban the Syrian; notwithstanding his astrology and superstitious arts, which the Syrians are addicted to, he had no foresight of this matter: or he "stole away the heart of Laban" (b), that which his heart was set upon; not his gods, these Rachel stole away; nor his daughters, for whom he does not appear to have had any great affection and respect; but rather the cattle and goods Jacob took with him, which Laban's eye and heart were upon, and hoped to get into his possession by one means, or at one time or another; but the former sense, that he "stole from" his heart (d), or stole away without his knowledge, seems best to agree with what follows:

in that he told him not that he fled; or that he designed to go away, and was about to do it.

(b) "furatus est cor", Tigurine version, Pagninus, Montanus, Munster, Vatablus, Drasius, Cartwright. (d) "Furatus a corde Labanis", Piscator.

And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
20. stole away, &c.] Heb. stole the heart of Laban the Aramean. Cf. Genesis 31:26. Jacob outwitted Laban; fled secretly, and got three days’ start. For the phrase, cf. the Greek κλέπτειν νοῦν, “to steal the mind,” i.e. to deceive; see 2 Samuel 15:6.Verse 20. - And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, - literally, stole the heart of Laban the Syrian, he deceived his mind and intelligence, like κλέπτειν νόον, Horn., ' II.,' 14. 227 (el. vers. 26, 27); hence - ἔκρυψε (LXX.); so Calvin, Rosenmüller, Keil, Gesenius, and others. Lange fancifully understands by the heart of Laban which Jacob stole either Laban's daughters or his favorite Rachel Gerlach contrasts Jacob's stealing with that of Rachel, in which Jacob, had no part. The exact import of Jacob s stealing is declared by the words that follow - in that he told him not (Lunge and Bush interpret הִגֹּיִד impersonally, as signifying in that or because it was not told; but in this among expositors they stand alone) that he fled. The two wives naturally agreed with their husband, and declared that they had no longer any part or inheritance in their father's house. For he had not treated them as daughters, but sold them like strangers, i.e., servants. "And he has even constantly eaten our money," i.e., consumed the property brought to him by our service. The inf. abs. אכול after the finite verb expresses the continuation of the act, and is intensified by גם "yes, even." כּי in Genesis 31:16 signifies "so that," as in Deuteronomy 14:24; Job 10:6.
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