Genesis 31:35
And she said to her father, Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before you; for the custom of women is on me. And he searched but found not the images.
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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.After the search for the teraphim has proved vain, Jacob warmly upbraids Laban. "The camel's saddle." This was a pack-saddle, in the recesses of which articles might be deposited, and on which was a seat or couch for the rider. Rachel pleads the custom of women as an excuse for keeping her seat; which is admitted by Laban, not perhaps from the fear of ceremonial defilement Leviticus 15:19-27, as this law was not yet in force, but from respect to his daughter and the conviction that in such circumstances she would not sit upon the teraphim. "My brethren and thy brethren" - their common kindred. Jacob recapitulates his services in feeling terms. "By day the drought;" caused by the heat, which is extreme during the day, while the cold is not less severe in Palestine during the night. "The fear of Isaac" - the God whom Isaac fears. Judged - requited by restraining thee from wrong-doing.34. Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel's furniture, and sat upon them—The common pack saddle is often used as a seat or a cushion, against which a person squatted on the floor may lean.Quest. How could that occasion hinder her from rising up to her father?

Answ. 1. It might be attended in her, as it was and is in some other women, especially in those hot countries, with a great flux of blood, or with more than ordinary infirmity and sickness; and this Laban might know to be usual with her by former observation or information.

2. She offers this as a reason, not why she could not rise up to show a civility to him, but why she could not rise up from his face, or from before him, as the words in the Hebrew sound, i.e. so as to give way to him that he might come and search there for the images; because menstruous women were anciently esteemed polluted, and to pollute the things which they touched or sat upon, as you may see by Leviticus 15:19-22; which law, though it were not yet given and written, yet that, as well as divers other ceremonial rites, might be enjoined by God, and observed by sober heathens at that time, especially by such as were akin to Abraham, as Laban and his family were, who by that means might easily come to the knowledge of such matters. Add to this, one of the seven precepts given to the sons of Noah, was that of uncovering nakedness; which both Jewish and Christian writers take to be a very comprehensive expression, and to include all such things as have a natural turpitude in them, among which this is confessed to be one. And the words thus understood contain a solid and satisfactory reason why Laban should not now come near her, nor search the things which she sat upon, which had been an uncivil and immodest thing. And she said to her father,.... As he approached nearer to her, having searched her tent all over:

let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee: she addresses him with great honour and respect; calling him her lord, being her father, though an unkind one, and entreats him not to be displeased that she did not rise up and yield that obeisance to him which was due from her to a father:

for the custom of women is upon me; her menstrues; which before the law of Moses were reckoned a pollution, and such persons were not to be touched or come near unto, and everything they sat upon was unclean, and not to be touched also; Leviticus 15:19,

and he searched; all about her, and around her; but did not oblige her to get up, nor could he imagine that ever the images could be under her in such circumstances:

but found not the images; and so left off searching; nor do we find that he searched the flock for any of his cattle there, knowing full well Jacob's honesty and integrity.

And she said to her father, Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the custom of women is upon me. And he searched but found not the images.
35. rise] i.e. in honour to her father. For the custom of rising to do honour to age, see Leviticus 19:32.Verse 35. - And she said to her father, - "covering theft by subtlety and untruth" (Kalisch), and thus proving herself a time daughter of Laban, as well as showing with how much imperfection her religious character was tainted - Let it not displease my lord - literally, let it not burn with anger (יִחַר, from חָרָה, to glow, to burn) in the eyes of my lord (Adoni) - that I cannot rise up before thee; - Oriental politeness required children to rise up in the presence of their parents (vide Leviticus 19:32; and cf. 1 Kings 2:19). Hence Rachel's apology was not unnecessary - for the custom of women - (literally, the way of women; a periphrasis for menstruation (cf. Genesis 18:11) which, under the law, required females, as ceremonially unclean, to be put apart (Leviticus 15:19). That, prior to the law, this particular statute concerning women was in force among the Aramaeans appears from the present instance; and that it was not exclusively Jewish, but shared in by other nations of antiquity, is the opinion of the best authorities (vide Kurtz, 'History of the Old Covenant,' § 79; 'Sacrificial Worship of the Old Testament,' § 213; Keil in loco; both of whom quote Bahr's 'Symbolik of the Mosaic Cultus,' 2. 466). Roberts mentions that under similar circumstances with Rachel no one in India goes to the temple or any religious ceremony ('Oriental Illustrations,' p. 37) - is upon me. It is just possible Rachel may have been speaking the exact truth, though the probability is she was guilty of fabrication. And he searched (everywhere except among the camel's furniture, partly from fear of defilement, but chiefly as regarding it impossible that Rachel in her then state would sit upon his gods), but found not the images (teraphim). The three times repeated phrase "he found not," emphasizes the completeness, of Lahan's deception. ידי לאל ישׁ: "there is to God my hand" (Micah 2:1; cf. Deuteronomy 28:32; Nehemiah 5:5), i.e., my hand serves me as God (Habakkuk 1:11; Job 12:6), a proverbial expression for "the power lies in my hand."
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