What does Genesis 31:50 mean?
ESV: If you oppress my daughters, or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no one is with us, see, God is witness between you and me."
NIV: If you mistreat my daughters or if you take any wives besides my daughters, even though no one is with us, remember that God is a witness between you and me."
NASB: If you mistreat my daughters, or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no one is with us, see, God is witness between you and me.'
CSB: If you mistreat my daughters or take other wives, though no one is with us, understand that God will be a witness between you and me."
NLT: If you mistreat my daughters or if you marry other wives, God will see it even if no one else does. He is a witness to this covenant between us.
KJV: If thou shalt afflict my daughters, or if thou shalt take other wives beside my daughters, no man is with us; see, God is witness between me and thee.
NKJV: If you afflict my daughters, or if you take other wives besides my daughters, although no man is with us—see, God is witness between you and me!”
Verse Commentary:
After all the ceremonial aspects of making a covenant are complete, Laban begins to name the terms of this agreement. This will establish their peaceful separation, allowing Jacob and his family to return to Canaan. Laban's first stipulation is that Jacob not oppress Laban's daughters or take any other wives in addition to his daughters. Laban calls on God to be a witness in this and/or for Jacob to be accountable to God. Apparently it was common for a covenant between a man and the foreign husband of his daughter to make this agreement. In theory, Laban intends this as a protection for his daughters. Women were often seen as vulnerable and in need of special layers of care in that era.

Of course, this rings hollow to readers of Genesis. Laban has, arguably, been guilty of both oppression and causing Jacob to marry multiple women. Even Laban's daughters—now Jacob's wives—agree that their father has practically sold them (Genesis 29:20–28), and made no provision for their inheritance (Genesis 31:14–16). Given his prior history, this seems like nothing more than an attempt to save face—one last chance for Laban to pretend that he only has his family's best interests at heart.
Verse Context:
Genesis 31:43–55 describes the final agreement reached between Jacob and Laban. Laban declares that he will not claim his right to Jacob's wives and children and property. Instead, he and Jacob agree to make a covenant of separation and peace. They build a heap of stones, swear oaths, conduct a sacrifice, and eat a meal together. Finally, Laban kisses his daughters and grandchildren goodbye and rides back to his home. Jacob and his family turn to face the Promised Land.
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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