What does Genesis 31:33 mean?
ESV: So Laban went into Jacob’s tent and into Leah’s tent and into the tent of the two female servants, but he did not find them. And he went out of Leah’s tent and entered Rachel’s.
NIV: So Laban went into Jacob's tent and into Leah's tent and into the tent of the two female servants, but he found nothing. After he came out of Leah's tent, he entered Rachel's tent.
NASB: So Laban went into Jacob’s tent, and into Leah’s tent, and into the tent of the two slave women, but he did not find them. Then he went out of Leah’s tent and entered Rachel’s tent.
CSB: So Laban went into Jacob's tent, Leah's tent, and the tents of the two concubines, but he found nothing. When he left Leah's tent, he went into Rachel's tent.
NLT: Laban went first into Jacob’s tent to search there, then into Leah’s, and then the tents of the two servant wives — but he found nothing. Finally, he went into Rachel’s tent.
KJV: And Laban went into Jacob's tent, and into Leah's tent, and into the two maidservants' tents; but he found them not. Then went he out of Leah's tent, and entered into Rachel's tent.
NKJV: And Laban went into Jacob’s tent, into Leah’s tent, and into the two maids’ tents, but he did not find them. Then he went out of Leah’s tent and entered Rachel’s tent.
Verse Commentary:
Laban has been warned by God not to interfere with Jacob's return to Canaan (Genesis 31:24). However, Laban has also accused Jacob of stealing his household idols, to which Jacob would have had no claim whatsoever. Neither man knows the identity of the actual thief, but Jacob has rashly invited Laban to search among all of his company's belongings. Specifically, Jacob has declared that if any of his people have Laban's house idols, that person will be killed (Genesis 31:32).

Jacob does not know, of course, that it was his cherished wife, Rachel, who stole the idols from her father and has them in her tent (Genesis 31:19). Thus begins a high-stakes search, first in Jacob's tent, then Leah's, and then Jacob's two servant wives. No house idols are found. Finally, Laban enters Rachel's tent to search for the idols. He's getting warmer, but doesn't anticipate that his daughter has learned from her father's trickery. Rachel has a scheme in mind to avoid being caught.
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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