What does Genesis 31:1 mean?
ESV: Now Jacob heard that the sons of Laban were saying, “Jacob has taken all that was our father’s, and from what was our father’s he has gained all this wealth.”
NIV: Jacob heard that Laban's sons were saying, 'Jacob has taken everything our father owned and has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father.'
NASB: Now Jacob heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, 'Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s, and from what belonged to our father he has made all this wealth.'
CSB: Now Jacob heard what Laban's sons were saying: "Jacob has taken all that was our father's and has built this wealth from what belonged to our father."
NLT: But Jacob soon learned that Laban’s sons were grumbling about him. 'Jacob has robbed our father of everything!' they said. 'He has gained all his wealth at our father’s expense.'
KJV: And he heard the words of Laban's sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father's; and of that which was our father's hath he gotten all this glory.
NKJV: Now Jacob heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, “Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s, and from what was our father’s he has acquired all this wealth.”
Verse Commentary:
In the previous chapter, Laban admitted that he knew he had grown rich because of the Lord's blessing on Jacob. In spite of that, Laban immediately attempted to cheat Jacob—again—while making a new deal with his son-in-law. Jacob had asked for his wages to be all the future off-color sheep and goats born to Laban's flocks. Laban had attempted to make that already-low percentage of the flock even smaller by immediately removing all of the existing off-color animals from the flock and giving those to his sons to take a three-day's journey away.

The Lord intervened on Jacob's behalf, however. God blessed Jacob's unusual breeding methods, causing a great number of off-color sheep and goats to come from a flock that began with none. In addition, Jacob's selective breeding caused his animals to be stronger than Laban's animals. This chapter reveals that Jacob's tactics were based on a revelation from God, not an actual belief in the power of striped sticks (Genesis 31:10–12).

The previous chapter ended by revealing that Jacob had grown enormously wealthy. Now we learn that Laban's wealth has been diminished as a result of his arrangement with Jacob. Laban's latest attempt at cheating Jacob has backfired. Laban's sons, watching their inheritance slipping away, are growing resentful for Jacob. From their perspective, Jacob's wealth has come straight out of their own pockets.
Verse Context:
Genesis 31:1–21 describes the events that propel Jacob to sneak away from Laban and head toward his homeland of Canaan. First, he learns that Laban and his sons are dangerously unhappy with him for taking so many of Laban's profits. Then God commands Jacob to go, promising to be with him. After securing the support of his wives, Jacob packs up his large family and property and sneaks away toward Gilead and then home.
Chapter Summary:
Genesis 31 describes Jacob's difficult separation from Laban, his father-in-law, as well as his boss for twenty years. During that time, Jacob was routinely mistreated and cheated by his master. Commanded by God to return to the land of Canaan, Jacob packs up his wives, children, and all of his possessions and leaves without telling Laban. Laban soon catches up with the large company. Laban and Jacob confront each other bitterly. Eventually, though, they make a covenant of separation and peace.
Chapter Context:
Genesis 30 described the dramatic expansion of Jacob's family and property. Now, after twenty years of working for Laban, the time comes for Jacob to return to his own people. He attempts to sneak away without telling Laban, but Laban soon catches up with him. After bitter confrontations, father and son-in-law make a covenant of separation and peace. Jacob is finally free to begin the next chapter of his life in the Promised Land. First, though, he will need to deal with his brother Esau, whose rage was the main reason Jacob fled in the first place. That encounter is described over the following two chapters.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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