Genesis 31:43 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 31:43, NIV: "Laban answered Jacob, 'The women are my daughters, the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks. All you see is mine. Yet what can I do today about these daughters of mine, or about the children they have borne?"

Genesis 31:43, ESV: "Then Laban answered and said to Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine. But what can I do this day for these my daughters or for their children whom they have borne?"

Genesis 31:43, KJV: "And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and these cattle are my cattle, and all that thou seest is mine: and what can I do this day unto these my daughters, or unto their children which they have born?"

Genesis 31:43, NASB: "Then Laban replied to Jacob, 'The daughters are my daughters, the children are my grandchildren, the flocks are my flocks, and everything that you see is mine. But what can I do this day to these daughters of mine or to their children to whom they have given birth?"

Genesis 31:43, NLT: "Then Laban replied to Jacob, 'These women are my daughters, these children are my grandchildren, and these flocks are my flocks--in fact, everything you see is mine. But what can I do now about my daughters and their children?"

Genesis 31:43, CSB: "Then Laban answered Jacob, "The daughters are my daughters; the sons, my sons; and the flocks, my flocks! Everything you see is mine! But what can I do today for these daughters of mine or for the children they have borne?"

What does Genesis 31:43 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jacob has laid out his case against his father-in-law Laban. He has angrily described his twenty years of faithful, honest, effective, and difficult service. He has shown that if the Lord had not stepped in to protect him, Laban's cheating and greed would have left Jacob with nothing. God has been faithful; Laban has been faithless and now has become powerless.

How does Laban respond to this confrontation? He simply asserts both his rights and his inability to claim them. Laban seems committed to casting himself as a victim to the end. He insists that Jacob's wives, children, flocks, and possessions are all legally his. He believes he is the rightful owner, since Jacob came to possess them all as a kind of indentured servant belonging to Laban. In other words, everything that Jacob owns is ultimately owned by Laban, in his eyes.

However, Laban has been visited by the "Fear of Isaac" in a dream. God has warned him, in essence, not to harm Jacob. Laban concludes by giving up: "What can I do" to save or protect my daughters and grandchildren? In the end, Laban refuses to acknowledge that his daughters are running away from him (Genesis 31:14–16) and are not being dragged away against their will.