Genesis 31:53 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 31:53, NIV: "May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.' So Jacob took an oath in the name of the Fear of his father Isaac."

Genesis 31:53, ESV: "The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.” So Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac,"

Genesis 31:53, KJV: "The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us. And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac."

Genesis 31:53, NASB: "The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.' So Jacob swore by the fear of his father Isaac."

Genesis 31:53, NLT: "I call on the God of our ancestors--the God of your grandfather Abraham and the God of my grandfather Nahor--to serve as a judge between us.' So Jacob took an oath before the fearsome God of his father, Isaac, to respect the boundary line."

Genesis 31:53, CSB: "The God of Abraham, and the gods of Nahor--the gods of their father--will judge between us." And Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac."

What does Genesis 31:53 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Laban has stipulated the meaning of the heap of stones and the pillar erected where they stood in the hill country of Gilead. These will mark a boundary between himself and Jacob, and their respective peoples. According to this agreement, neither party will cross that boundary with intent to harm the other. Laban has also insisted that Jacob will be accountable to God not to oppress Rachel and Leah and not to marry any other wives. Coming from any other man, this would be a sensible and caring remark. However, Laban tricked Jacob into marrying one of his daughters, took advantage of him in order to marry off the other (Genesis 29:20–28), and repeatedly cheated his own daughters' family for personal gain (Genesis 31:14–16). These pious remarks, on Laban's part, seem more like an attempt to save face, and to deny the truth, than sincere requests.

Laban's choice of oaths to uphold his end of the covenant is interesting. He is a polytheist, including the use of household idols as part of his religion (Genesis 31:19; 31:30–35). Still, Laban has acknowledged the power of the God of Abraham (Genesis 30:27). In fact, God has acknowledged Laban, as well, visiting him in a dream (Genesis 31:24). Laban also worships "the God (or gods) of Nahor." He swears by both of them. Jacob, however, swears only by God, using the title "Fear of Isaac." This name for God is used only twice in the Bible, both times in this chapter. It is used in connection with Laban and God's direct intervention to keep Laban from harming Jacob.