Genesis 31:29

29 If I had a mind to, I could destroy you right now, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, 'Be careful what you do to Jacob, whether good or bad.'

Genesis 31:29 Meaning and Commentary

Genesis 31:29

It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt
Jacob and his family, wives, children, and servants, who were not able to stand against Laban and the men he brought with him; and so the Jerusalem Targum paraphrases it,

``I have an army and a multitude;''
a large force, which Jacob could not withstand: or, "my hand could have been for a god" F8 to me: you could have no more escaped it, or got out of it, or withstood me, than you could God himself: such an opinion had he of his superior power and strength, and that this would have been the case: but the God of your father spoke unto me yesternight;
the night past, or the other night, some very little time ago, since he came from home at least: by his father he means either his father Isaac, or his grandfather Abraham, whose God the Lord was, and who came to Laban and told him who he was. This serves to strengthen the opinion that Laban was an idolater, and adhered to the gods of his grandfather Terah, from whom Abraham departed, and which Laban may have respect to; intimating that he abode by the religion of his ancestors at a greater remove than Jacob's: however, though he does not call him his God, he had some awe and reverence of him, and was influenced by his speech to him; saying, take heed that thou spake not to Jacob either good or bad:
this, though greatly to Jacob's honour, and against Laban's interest, yet his conscience would not allow him to keep it a secret; though, doubtless, his view was to show his superior power to Jacob, had he not been restrained by Jacob's God.
FOOTNOTES:

F8 (ydy lal vy) "esset mihi pro deo manus mea", Schmidt.

Genesis 31:29 In-Context

27 Why did you run off like a thief in the night? Why didn't you tell me? Why, I would have sent you off with a great celebration - music, timbrels, flutes!
28 But you wouldn't permit me so much as a kiss for my daughters and grandchildren. It was a stupid thing for you to do.
29 If I had a mind to, I could destroy you right now, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, 'Be careful what you do to Jacob, whether good or bad.'
30 I understand. You left because you were homesick. But why did you steal my household gods?"
31 Jacob answered Laban, "I was afraid. I thought you would take your daughters away from me by brute force.