Genesis 31:39 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 31:39, NIV: "I did not bring you animals torn by wild beasts; I bore the loss myself. And you demanded payment from me for whatever was stolen by day or night."

Genesis 31:39, ESV: "What was torn by wild beasts I did not bring to you. I bore the loss of it myself. From my hand you required it, whether stolen by day or stolen by night."

Genesis 31:39, KJV: "That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night."

Genesis 31:39, NASB: "I did not even bring to you that which was torn by wild animals; I took the loss myself. You demanded it of my hand whether stolen by day or stolen by night."

Genesis 31:39, NLT: "If any were attacked and killed by wild animals, I never showed you the carcass and asked you to reduce the count of your flock. No, I took the loss myself! You made me pay for every stolen animal, whether it was taken in broad daylight or in the dark of night."

Genesis 31:39, CSB: "I did not bring you any of the flock torn by wild beasts; I myself bore the loss. You demanded payment from me for what was stolen by day or by night."

What does Genesis 31:39 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. Jacob's point is that he is the one who has been cheated by Laban, not the other way around. In fact, Jacob is insisting, he has always operated above reproach as Laban's servant. In the previous verse, he said he never took any of the full-grown rams as food for himself. Now he says that he even had to cover the loss of sheep and goats killed by predators, sparing Laban from that expense.

Apparently, it was common in this era for shepherds to be protected from the theft or destruction of animals in their care, especially if those animals were killed at night. In Jacob's case, however, Laban never paid for any of those losses. Even though Laban was a fraud (Genesis 29:20–28), and a cheat (Genesis 30:31–36), Jacob had served him with integrity far above and beyond what was owed.