Genesis 31:50 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 31:50, NIV: "If you mistreat my daughters or if you take any wives besides my daughters, even though no one is with us, remember that God is a witness between you and me.'"

Genesis 31:50, ESV: "If you oppress my daughters, or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no one is with us, see, God is witness between you and me.”"

Genesis 31:50, KJV: "If thou shalt afflict my daughters, or if thou shalt take other wives beside my daughters, no man is with us; see, God is witness betwixt me and thee."

Genesis 31:50, NASB: "If you mistreat my daughters, or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no one is with us, see, God is witness between you and me.'"

Genesis 31:50, NLT: "If you mistreat my daughters or if you marry other wives, God will see it even if no one else does. He is a witness to this covenant between us."

Genesis 31:50, CSB: "If you mistreat my daughters or take other wives, though no one is with us, understand that God will be a witness between you and me.""

What does Genesis 31:50 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

After all the ceremonial aspects of making a covenant are complete, Laban begins to name the terms of this agreement. This will establish their peaceful separation, allowing Jacob and his family to return to Canaan. Laban's first stipulation is that Jacob not oppress Laban's daughters or take any other wives in addition to his daughters. Laban calls on God to be a witness in this and/or for Jacob to be accountable to God. Apparently it was common for a covenant between a man and the foreign husband of his daughter to make this agreement. In theory, Laban intends this as a protection for his daughters. Women were often seen as vulnerable and in need of special layers of care in that era.

Of course, this rings hollow to readers of Genesis. Laban has, arguably, been guilty of both oppression and causing Jacob to marry multiple women. Even Laban's daughters—now Jacob's wives—agree that their father has practically sold them (Genesis 29:20–28), and made no provision for their inheritance (Genesis 31:14–16). Given his prior history, this seems like nothing more than an attempt to save face—one last chance for Laban to pretend that he only has his family's best interests at heart.