Genesis 31:32 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 31:32, NIV: "But if you find anyone who has your gods, that person shall not live. In the presence of our relatives, see for yourself whether there is anything of yours here with me; and if so, take it.' Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the gods."

Genesis 31:32, ESV: "Anyone with whom you find your gods shall not live. In the presence of our kinsmen point out what I have that is yours, and take it.” Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them."

Genesis 31:32, KJV: "With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them."

Genesis 31:32, NASB: "The one with whom you find your gods shall not live; in the presence of our relatives point out what is yours among my belongings and take it for yourself.' Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them."

Genesis 31:32, NLT: "But as for your gods, see if you can find them, and let the person who has taken them die! And if you find anything else that belongs to you, identify it before all these relatives of ours, and I will give it back!' But Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the household idols."

Genesis 31:32, CSB: "If you find your gods with anyone here, he will not live! Before our relatives, point out anything that is yours and take it." Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the idols."

What does Genesis 31:32 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jacob does not know that his wife Rachel stole the house idols from her father, Laban, before the family left town (Genesis 31:19). Why did Rachel do it? We're not told exactly. It may be that, in addition to worshiping Jacob's God, Rachel still felt the need to rely on the gods she grew up with for protection and provision. It may be that she felt possessing the idols would give her a stake in the family inheritance. Or maybe she was just angry at her father (Genesis 31:14–16) and took them as an act of petty revenge.

In any case, Jacob is incensed by Laban's unexpected accusation about stealing the gods. The implication is that Jacob was in on the theft; to counter that assumption, Jacob rashly declares the death penalty upon anyone in his company who may be found with the stolen idols. He calls on the gathered relatives of Laban to serve as witnesses to a search by Laban for anything that belongs to him among the company's possessions.

Jacob has shown nothing but slavish devotion to Rachel (Genesis 29:18–20). This declaration all but proves that he knew nothing of her crime. Nevertheless, it appears Rachel is about to be in huge trouble.