Genesis 31:41 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 31:41, NIV: "It was like this for the twenty years I was in your household. I worked for you fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flocks, and you changed my wages ten times."

Genesis 31:41, ESV: "These twenty years I have been in your house. I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times."

Genesis 31:41, KJV: "Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times."

Genesis 31:41, NASB: "For these twenty years I have been in your house; I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you changed my wages ten times."

Genesis 31:41, NLT: "Yes, for twenty years I slaved in your house! I worked for fourteen years earning your two daughters, and then six more years for your flock. And you changed my wages ten times!"

Genesis 31:41, CSB: "For twenty years in your household I served you--fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flocks--and you have changed my wages ten times!"

What does Genesis 31:41 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jacob is describing his twenty years of faithful and diligent service to Laban, who had condemned him for leaving without notice. Worse, Laban accused Jacob of theft, not knowing that it was Rachel, Laban's daughter and Jacob's wife, who had taken his household idols (Genesis 31:19). When a search for those good came up empty (Genesis 31:30–35), Jacob began to respond by detailing how he had been honest, while Laban had been a cheat and fraud. Jacob has described his work as faithful, effective, self-sacrificing, and difficult.

Now he presents the math of his argument to Laban: He worked fourteen years for Laban's two daughters, because of Laban's trickery and Jacob's love for Rachel (Genesis 29:20–28). He worked 6 years for the flock he had received, as payment from Laban, according to a deal they had both agreed upon. Laban actually attempted to poison that bargain by sneaking away with some of the flock as soon as the deal was done (Genesis 30:31–36).

Instead of being kind and treating Jacob well in response to this faithful service, Laban had tried to change Jacob's wages ten times (Genesis 31:6–7). More specifically, as this chapter earlier revealed, Laban had tried to change the terms of their arrangement to reduce the number of animals that would belong to Jacob. Laban had said that Jacob could claim only the spotted goats as his own. Then the Lord would cause all the goats to be born spotted. So Laban would change Jacob's goats to the striped ones, and the Lord would cause only striped goats to be born.

Laban couldn't out-cheat the Lord's ability to bless Jacob by giving to him Laban's own flock (Genesis 31:10–12).