Genesis 31:36 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 31:36, NIV: "Jacob was angry and took Laban to task. 'What is my crime?' he asked Laban. 'How have I wronged you that you hunt me down?"

Genesis 31:36, ESV: "Then Jacob became angry and berated Laban. Jacob said to Laban, “What is my offense? What is my sin, that you have hotly pursued me?"

Genesis 31:36, KJV: "And Jacob was wroth, and chode with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What is my trespass? what is my sin, that thou hast so hotly pursued after me?"

Genesis 31:36, NASB: "Then Jacob became angry and argued with Laban; and Jacob said to Laban, 'What is my offense? What is my sin that you have hotly pursued me?"

Genesis 31:36, NLT: "Then Jacob became very angry, and he challenged Laban. 'What's my crime?' he demanded. 'What have I done wrong to make you chase after me as though I were a criminal?"

Genesis 31:36, CSB: "Then Jacob became incensed and brought charges against Laban. "What is my crime?" he said to Laban. "What is my sin, that you have pursued me?"

What does Genesis 31:36 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

At Jacob's invitation, Laban has made a thorough search of all of the possessions of Jacob's company. He is looking for house idols—small spiritual statuettes—which went missing precisely when Jacob and his family fled. What neither Laban nor Jacob know is that Rachel had stolen the idols (Genesis 31:19), and has successfully hidden them in her saddle (Genesis 31:34). By claiming to be menstruating, Rachel fooled Laban into assuming that she could not stand, and that he could not touch her or her seat (Genesis 31:35). As a result, Laban has come up empty and looking foolish for his accusation against Jacob.

Now Jacob will begin a long, angry speech against Laban. He will finally tell his father-in-law off in a way that we, as readers, may have wanted to hear him do much sooner. He will lay out all of his frustration with Laban, making the case for why Laban did not deserve better treatment from Jacob, and why Jacob attempted to escape without a confrontation.

Jacob will start by asking Laban, rhetorically, to point to any offense, any sin, that Jacob has done against him. In doing so, Jacob is declaring his innocence to Laban's relatives standing as witnesses. Next he will declare Laban's longstanding guilt.