What does Genesis 31:24 mean?
ESV: But God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream by night and said to him, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.”
NIV: Then God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and said to him, 'Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.'
NASB: However, God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream of the night and said to him, 'Be careful that you do not speak to Jacob either good or bad.'
CSB: But God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night. "Watch yourself! " God warned him. "Don't say anything to Jacob, either good or bad."
NLT: But the previous night God had appeared to Laban the Aramean in a dream and told him, 'I’m warning you — leave Jacob alone!'
KJV: And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said unto him, Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.
Verse Commentary:
Jacob and his wives are hoping to escape without confronting his father-in-law, or risking that Laban could stop him somehow. Laban has been in pursuit for a week and has now found Jacob's large caravan on the route to Gilead (Genesis 31:21–23).

What will he do? We don't know what he might have had in mind, because it is at this point that God intervenes once again on Jacob's behalf. This time, the Lord speaks directly to Laban in a dream. He warns Laban not to say anything good or bad to Jacob. The originally-understood meaning of this phrasing is that Laban is not to contradict Jacob in any way; he is to "go easy" on him. Laban will apparently take that to heart when he reaches Jacob. He's already seen the influence of God in Jacob's success, so he has good reason to assume God's protection comes with just as much potency.
Verse Context:
Genesis 31:22–42 recounts Laban's pursuit of Jacob and his large company, after learning his son-in-law has left for Canaan without telling him. It takes a week, but Laban catches up. Warned by God in a dream not to say anything to Jacob ''either good or bad,'' Laban instead expresses his hurt to Jacob and accuses him of stealing Laban's house idols. When a search for the idols—cleverly hidden by Rachel without Jacob's knowledge—turns up nothing, Jacob finally expresses all of his complaints about Laban's unfair treatment of him in spite of twenty years of faithful service.
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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