Genesis 31:35 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 31:35, NIV: "Rachel said to her father, 'Don't be angry, my lord, that I cannot stand up in your presence; I'm having my period.' So he searched but could not find the household gods."

Genesis 31:35, ESV: "And she said to her father, “Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise before you, for the way of women is upon me.” So he searched but did not find the household gods."

Genesis 31:35, KJV: "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."

Genesis 31:35, NASB: "And she said to her father, 'May my lord not be angry that I cannot stand in your presence, because the way of women is upon me.' So he searched but did not find the household idols."

Genesis 31:35, NLT: "she said to her father, 'Please, sir, forgive me if I don't get up for you. I'm having my monthly period.' So Laban continued his search, but he could not find the household idols."

Genesis 31:35, CSB: "She said to her father, "Don't be angry, my lord, that I cannot stand up in your presence; I am having my period." So Laban searched, but could not find the household idols."

What does Genesis 31:35 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Laban is thoroughly searching Rachel's tent for the house idols stolen from his tent. Jacob was so convinced that nobody in his company took them that he rashly declared a death sentence on anyone found with them (Genesis 31:32). What neither Jacob nor Laban knew was that Rachel, Laban's daughter and Jacob's adored wife, had secretly taken the idols while her father was gone (Genesis 31:19). As Laban searches, Rachel is literally sitting on the stolen goods while her father examines and feels every object in the tent.

Laban's deception and trickery, in pursuit of greed, have been so obvious that his own daughters feel cheated by him (Genesis 31:14–16). As it turns out, Rachel might have learned a thing or two about deception from her father. Here, she speaks very respectfully to her father, more respectfully than we have heard her speak thus far either to Jacob or about her father. She calls him "lord" and then deceives him. She asks that he not be angry that she doesn't stand up in his presence since, she says, the "way of women" is on her.

Rachel is claiming that she is having her menstrual period, so she can't get up from where she is sitting. Though Israel's laws regarding ceremonial cleanliness would not be given for many centuries (Leviticus 15:19–21), this would have agreed with the cultural views of her era. Her clothes, and anything she sat on, would have been considered "untouchable" at that time. Laban would not have dared touch her, or her saddle, or have asked her to stand, as a result.

Laban apparently believes his daughter, at least to the extent that he never searches the saddle she's sitting on. And so, he never finds his stolen idols. Thanks to Rachel's lie, not only is Laban's accusation left unproven, Laban appears very foolish for making it. Jacob will take advantage of this moment to get the upper hand in their final confrontation.