Genesis 31:38 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 31:38, NIV: "I have been with you for twenty years now. Your sheep and goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten rams from your flocks."

Genesis 31:38, ESV: "These twenty years I have been with you. Your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried, and I have not eaten the rams of your flocks."

Genesis 31:38, KJV: "This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten."

Genesis 31:38, NASB: "For these twenty years I have been with you; your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten the rams of your flocks."

Genesis 31:38, NLT: "'For twenty years I have been with you, caring for your flocks. In all that time your sheep and goats never miscarried. In all those years I never used a single ram of yours for food."

Genesis 31:38, CSB: "I've been with you these twenty years. Your ewes and female goats have not miscarried, and I have not eaten the rams from your flock."

What does Genesis 31:38 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jacob is finally expressing all of his frustration to Laban, laying out exactly how his father-in-law has mistreated him for the last twenty years. This mistreatment was so obvious, and so abusive, that even Laban's daughters—locked in a bitter rivalry with each other (Genesis 30:8)—agreed that their father cared nothing for them, in comparison to his greed (Genesis 31:14–16). After mocking Laban for not finding the house idols he claimed Jacob had stolen (Genesis 31:30), Jacob now turns to older complaints from their history together.

First, during Jacob's two decades of faithful and diligent service as a manager of Laban's flocks of sheep and goats, there were no miscarriages as new animals were born. Laban benefitted from Jacob's skill and the Lord's blessing on Jacob, as Laban himself admitted (Genesis 30:27).

In addition, Jacob refused to eat the full-grown rams. In other words, he didn't dip into his father-in-law's profits by skimming animals for food. Jacob had a long track record of honest and exemplary service, which made Laban's seemingly false accusation about the stolen idols even harder to take.