And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said to him, Take heed that you speak not to Jacob either good or bad.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Either good or bad.—Heb., from good to bad: a proverbial expression, rightly translated in the Authorised Version, but conveying the idea of a more absolute prohibition than the phrase used in Genesis 24:50.Genesis 31:24. Speak not to Jacob either good or bad — The Hebrew is, from good to bad — That is, enter into no altercations, and use no harsh language with him, which may occasion a quarrel. Say nothing against his going on with his journey, for the thing proceedeth from the Lord. The same Hebraism we have, Genesis 24:50. The safety of good men is very much owing to the hold God has on the consciences of bad men, and the access he has to them.
22-24. it was told Laban on the third day—No sooner did the news reach Laban than he set out in pursuit, and he being not encumbered, advanced rapidly; whereas Jacob, with a young family and numerous flocks, had to march slowly, so that he overtook the fugitives after seven days' journey as they lay encamped on the brow of mount Gilead, an extensive range of hills forming the eastern boundary of Canaan. Being accompanied by a number of his people, he might have used violence had he not been divinely warned in a dream to give no interruption to his nephew's journey. How striking and sudden a change! For several days he had been full of rage, and was now in eager anticipation that his vengeance would be fully wreaked, when lo! his hands are tied by invisible power (Ps 76:10). He did not dare to touch Jacob, but there was a war of words.Genesis 31:29; the Targum of Jonathan has it, an angel came; and the Jews (g) say it was Michael; by whom, if they understand the uncreated Angel, the Son of God, it is right:
and said unto him, take heed that thou speak not to, Jacob either good or bad; not that he should keep an entire silence, and enter into no discourse with him on any account, but that he should say nothing to him about his return to Haran again; for it was the will of God he should go onward towards Canaan's land; and therefore Laban should not attempt to persuade him to return, with a promise of good things, or of what great things he would do for him; nor threaten him with evil things, or what he would do to him if he would not comply to return with him.And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said unto him, Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)24. And God came] Cf. Genesis 31:11. For this revelation to Laban the Syrian, compare the revelation to Abimelech, king of Gerar, in Genesis 20:3. It is God, not the “angel of God” (Genesis 31:11), who appears to Laban.
either good or bad] A phrase used by Laban himself in Genesis 24:50.Verses 24, 25. - And God - Elohim is here employed, neither because the section belongs to the fundamental document (Tuch, Bleek, Colenso, et alii), nor because, though Laban had an outward acquaintance with Jehovah (vide ver. 49), his real religious knowledge did not extend beyond Elohim (Hengstenberg), but simply because the historian wished to characterize the interposition which arrested Laban in his wrath as supernatural (Quarry) - came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, - (cf. Genesis 20:3; Job 33:15; Matthew 1:20). This celestial visitation occurred the night before the fugitives were overtaken (vide ver. 29). Its intention was to guard Jacob, according to the promise of Genesis 28:15, against Laban's resentment - and (accordingly God) said unto him, Take heed - literally, take heed for thyself, the verb being followed by an ethical dative, as in Genesis 12:1; Genesis 21:16, q.v. - that thou speak not to Jacob - literally, lest the, speak with Jacob; μή ποτε λαλήσυς μετὰ Ἰακὼβ (LXX.) either good or bad. Literally, from good to bad, meaning that on meeting with Jacob he should not pass from peaceful greetings to bitter reproaches (Bush, Lunge), or say anything emphatic and decisive for the purpose of reversing what had occurred (Keil); or, perhaps more simply, say anything acrimonious or violent against Jacob (Rosenmüller, Murphy), the expression being a proverbial phrase for opposition or interference (Kalisch). (Cf. Genesis 14:50; 2 Samuel 13:23). Then (literally, and) Laban overtook Jacob. Now (literally, and) Jacob had pitched his tent - this was done by means of pins driven into the ground, the verb תָּקַע signifying to fasten, or fix anything by driving (cf. Judges 4:21; Isaiah 22:23, 25) - in the mount (vide supra, ver. 21): and Laban with his brethren (kinsmen, ut supra) pitched - his tent; not ἔστησε τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς (LXX.) - in the mount of Gilead (vide supra, ver. 21).
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