Genesis 31:27 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 31:27, NIV: "Why did you run off secretly and deceive me? Why didn't you tell me, so I could send you away with joy and singing to the music of timbrels and harps?"

Genesis 31:27, ESV: "Why did you flee secretly and trick me, and did not tell me, so that I might have sent you away with mirth and songs, with tambourine and lyre?"

Genesis 31:27, KJV: "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?"

Genesis 31:27, NASB: "Why did you flee secretly and deceive me, and did not tell me, so that I might have sent you away with joy and with songs, with tambourine and with lyre;"

Genesis 31:27, NLT: "Why did you slip away secretly? Why did you deceive me? And why didn't you say you wanted to leave? I would have given you a farewell feast, with singing and music, accompanied by tambourines and harps."

Genesis 31:27, CSB: "Why did you secretly flee from me, deceive me, and not tell me? I would have sent you away with joy and singing, with tambourines and lyres,"

What does Genesis 31:27 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Laban is confronting Jacob about secretly running away with his wives and children without saying a word. Jacob was inspired to leave, abruptly, thanks to Laban's cheating and scheming. First, Jacob was tricked into marrying both of Laban's daughters, and working unpaid for fourteen years (Genesis 29:20–28). Then, Laban accepted a payment system that he thought would greatly benefit himself, at Jacob's expense (Genesis 30:31–36). As it turns out, this deal was superintended by God (Genesis 31:10–12), who used it to greatly benefit Jacob, rather than Laban (Genesis 30:37–43). Seeing Laban's anger at a backfiring scheme, Jacob and his wives agreed that it was time to leave for Canaan (Genesis 31:3). After ten days, Laban and his men have discovered what happened, and caught up to the fleeing family.

Now Laban suggests that if Jacob had only told him ahead of time, Laban would have thrown a huge and happy goodbye party with music and laughter and celebration. This is almost certainly false; even if Laban convinced himself that he would have responded in such a way, Jacob would have known better. This comes across as the kind of manipulation Laban was known for. His prior actions certainly don't support a view of Laban as loving and supportive. Rather, he could be expected to be manipulative and greedy (Genesis 31:14–16).