Genesis 31:30
And now, though you would needs be gone, because you sore longed after your father's house, yet why have you stolen my gods?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Genesis 31:30. Wherefore hast thou stolen my gods? — Foolish man! to call those his gods that could be stolen! Could he expect protection from them that could neither resist nor discover their invaders? Happy are they who have the Lord for their God. Enemies may steal our goods, but not our God.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. Laban could not be so senseless as to take those for true gods which could be stolen away; but he called them gods, because they were the means or representations whereby he worshipped his gods. And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone,.... Or, "in going wouldest go" (i), was determined upon it, and in haste to do it:

because thou sore longedst after thy father's house, or "desiring didst desire it" (k); had a vehement desire for it, which Laban signifies he should not have opposed, if he had let him know his mind: but be it so that he had ever so great desire to leave him and return to his father's house, says he:

yet, wherefore, hast thou stolen my gods? what reason had he for that? if he took away himself, his wives, his children, his goods, what business had he with his gods? he could not claim these as his, meaning the images or teraphim before mentioned, Genesis 31:19; by which it appears that Laban was some way or other guilty of idolatry in the use of these images; looking upon them as types, or representations of God, as Josephus (l) calls them, and worshipped God in them, or along with them and by them; for he could never think they were truly and really gods, that could not preserve themselves from being stolen away, and that must be a poor god that a man may be robbed of.

(i) "eundo ivisti", Pagninus, Montanus, Drusius. (k) "desiderando desiderabis", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Drusius, Piscator. (l) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 19. sect. 9.

And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father's house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
30. though thou wouldest needs be gone] Lit. “thou art actually gone.”

my gods] “My Elohim, or god,” here in the sense of the figures of the household gods, as in Jdg 18:24, and possibly in Exodus 21:6; Exodus 22:7-8; Exodus 32:1.Laban's Pursuit, Reconciliation, and Covenant with Jacob. - As Laban was not told till the third day after the flight, though he pursued the fugitives with his brethren, i.e., his nearest relations, he did not overtake Jacob for seven days, by which time he had reached the mountains of Gilead (Genesis 31:22-24). The night before he overtook them, he was warned by God in a dream, "not to speak to Jacob from good to bad," i.e., not to say anything decisive and emphatic for the purpose of altering what had already occurred (vid., Genesis 31:29, and the note on Genesis 24:50). Hence he confined himself, when they met, "to bitter reproaches combining paternal feeling on the one hand with hypocrisy on the other;" in which he told them that he had the power to do them harm, if God had not forbidden him, and charged them with stealing his gods (the teraphim).
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