What does Genesis 31:32 mean?
ESV: Anyone with whom you find your gods shall not live. In the presence of our kinsmen point out what I have that is yours, and take it." Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them.
NIV: But if you find anyone who has your gods, that person shall not live. In the presence of our relatives, see for yourself whether there is anything of yours here with me; and if so, take it." Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the gods.
NASB: The one with whom you find your gods shall not live; in the presence of our relatives point out what is yours among my belongings and take it for yourself.' Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them.
CSB: If you find your gods with anyone here, he will not live! Before our relatives, point out anything that is yours and take it." Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the idols.
NLT: But as for your gods, see if you can find them, and let the person who has taken them die! And if you find anything else that belongs to you, identify it before all these relatives of ours, and I will give it back!' But Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the household idols.
KJV: With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them.
NKJV: With whomever you find your gods, do not let him live. In the presence of our brethren, identify what I have of yours and take it with you.” For Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them.
Verse Commentary:
Jacob does not know that his wife Rachel stole the house idols from her father, Laban, before the family left town (Genesis 31:19). Why did Rachel do it? We're not told exactly. It may be that, in addition to worshiping Jacob's God, Rachel still felt the need to rely on the gods she grew up with for protection and provision. It may be that she felt possessing the idols would give her a stake in the family inheritance. Or maybe she was just angry at her father (Genesis 31:14–16) and took them as an act of petty revenge.

In any case, Jacob is incensed by Laban's unexpected accusation about stealing the gods. The implication is that Jacob was in on the theft; to counter that assumption, Jacob rashly declares the death penalty upon anyone in his company who may be found with the stolen idols. He calls on the gathered relatives of Laban to serve as witnesses to a search by Laban for anything that belongs to him among the company's possessions.

Jacob has shown nothing but slavish devotion to Rachel (Genesis 29:18–20). This declaration all but proves that he knew nothing of her crime. Nevertheless, it appears Rachel is about to be in huge trouble.
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.
Accessed 6/14/2024 8:54:04 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.
www.BibleRef.com