Genesis 31:42 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 31:42, NIV: "If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, you would surely have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen my hardship and the toil of my hands, and last night he rebuked you.'"

Genesis 31:42, ESV: "If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been on my side, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God saw my affliction and the labor of my hands and rebuked you last night.”"

Genesis 31:42, KJV: "Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight."

Genesis 31:42, NASB: "If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the fear of Isaac, had not been for me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God has seen my affliction and the labor of my hands, so He rendered judgment last night.'"

Genesis 31:42, NLT: "In fact, if the God of my father had not been on my side--the God of Abraham and the fearsome God of Isaac--you would have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen your abuse and my hard work. That is why he appeared to you last night and rebuked you!'"

Genesis 31:42, CSB: "If the God of my father, the God of Abraham, the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, certainly now you would have sent me off empty-handed. But God has seen my affliction and my hard work, and he issued his verdict last night.""

What does Genesis 31:42 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jacob had served Laban for some twenty years, during which time he was mistreated, cheated, and abused (Genesis 29:20–28; 30:31–36). Even Laban's two daughters, both wives of Jacob, agreed that their father was greedy and loveless (Genesis 31:14–16). When Jacob chose to leave, Laban confronted him and accused him of theft, not knowing that it was Rachel who'd stolen his house idols (Genesis 31:19). Jacob responds by denouncing Laban's abuse, especially given Jacob's exemplary record of service.

Here, Jacob is making the same closing argument he had made to his wives about Laban's mistreatment. He has said that Laban had changed his wages 10 times in hopes of reducing the number of animals that would belong to Jacob. Now Jacob shows how the Lord protected him from his own father-in-law.

It is a stinging rebuke both of Laban's faithlessness and God's ability to make Laban powerless. No matter how Laban tried to harm and cheat Jacob, the Lord would not allow it. If not for the Lord, Jacob says, Laban would still send Jacob away with nothing even after two decades of difficult and faithful service.

Jacob refers to the Lord as the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac. The name "Fear of Isaac" appears only in this chapter in the Bible. It may be a reference to the fear Laban himself experienced when the Lord told him to, in essence, leave Jacob alone. If the Lord had not seen Jacob's faithful and difficult service and his mistreatment by Laban—and had not stepped in even now to protect Jacob from Laban—Jacob understood he would have nothing.

With his condemnation of Laban's selfishness, greed, mistreatment, and now fearful powerlessness, Jacob ends his speech. How will Laban respond to this?