Genesis 31:27
Why did you flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and did not tell me, that I might have sent you away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp?
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Genesis 31:27. I might have sent thee away with mirth and with songs — Not as Rebekah was sent away out of the same family above one hundred and twenty years before, with prayers and blessings, but with sport and merriment; which was a sign that religion was much decayed in the family.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.Laban's expostulation and Jacob's reply. What hast thou done? Laban intimates that he would have dismissed him honorably and affectionately, and therefore, that his flight was needless and unkind; and finally charges him with stealing his gods. Jacob gives him to understand that he did not expect fair treatment at his hands, and gives him leave to search for his gods, not knowing that Rachel had taken them.26-30. Laban said … What hast thou done?—Not a word is said of the charge (Ge 31:1). His reproaches were of a different kind. His first charge was for depriving him of the satisfaction of giving Jacob and his family the usual salutations at parting. In the East it is customary, when any are setting out to a great distance, for their relatives and friends to accompany them a considerable way with music and valedictory songs. Considering the past conduct of Laban, his complaint on this ground was hypocritical cant. But his second charge was a grave one—the carrying off his gods—Hebrew, "teraphim," small images of human figures, used not as idols or objects of worship, but as talismans, for superstitious purposes. No text from Poole on this verse. Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me?.... Intimating as if he should not have been against his departure, if he had but acquainted him with it, and the reasons of it; so that he had no need to have used such privacy, and go away like a thief by stealth, as if he had done something he had reason to be ashamed of:

and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth,

and with songs, with tabret and with harp: pretending that he would have given him leave to depart; and not only have dismissed him from his house and service in an honourable way, but very cheerfully and pleasantly: he would have got a band of music, men singers and women singers, and others to play on musical instruments, as the tabret and harp; and so had a concert of vocal and instrumental music, which would have shown that they parted by consent, and as good friends: whether this was an usual custom in this country, of parting with friends, I cannot say, but it seems to be very odd; for usually relations and friends, that have a cordial affection for each other, part with grief and tears: by this Laban appears to be a carnal man, and had but little sense of religion, as well as acted the hypocritical part.

Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp?
27. steal away from me] Heb. didst steal me; cf. Genesis 31:20.

sent thee away] The same word as in Genesis 12:20, “And they brought him on the way.” The suggestion of a musical accompaniment is rhetorical. The “tabret” (tôph) is the “timbrel” or “tambourine.”"Thus Jacob deceived Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled;" - לב גּנב to steal the heart (as the seat of the understanding), like κλέπτειν νοο͂ν, and גּנב with the simple accus. pers., Genesis 31:27, like κλεπτειν τίνα, signifies to take the knowledge of anything away from a person, to deceive him; - "and passed over the river (Euphrates), and took the direction to the mountains of Gilead."
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