Genesis 31:32

32 But as far as your gods are concerned, if you find that anybody here has them, that person dies. With all of us watching, look around. If you find anything here that belongs to you, take it." Jacob didn't know that Rachel had stolen the gods.

Genesis 31:32 Meaning and Commentary

Genesis 31:32

With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live
This is the answer to his last question, as what goes before is to his first: Jacob knew nothing of their being taken away by any, and thought himself safe in saying what he did, being confident that no one with him could ever take them; but it was too rashly spoken by him, giving leave to Laban to put to death the person with whom they should be found, or imprecating death on him by the hand of God; "may he not live", but die, die immediately or before his time, as the Targum of Jonathan: hence the Jewish writers F13 observe, that Rachel died in giving birth in consequence of this imprecation, but without any foundation: before our brethren discern thou what [is] thine with me, and take
[it] to thee:
not only his gods, but any of his goods or cattle, whatsoever he could find in his tents, or in his flocks, that were his property, he was welcome to take; and this he declared before the men that Laban brought with him, whom he also calls his brethren, being his kinsfolks and neighbours; and these he appeals to as witnesses of his honesty, integrity, and fair dealing; being conscious to himself that he had took nothing but what was his own: for Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them;
the images or gods; or he would have been more careful of his expression, in love and tenderness to his most beloved wife.


FOOTNOTES:

F13 Jarchi in loc. Pirke Eliezer, c. 36.

Genesis 31:32 In-Context

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.
32 But as far as your gods are concerned, if you find that anybody here has them, that person dies. With all of us watching, look around. If you find anything here that belongs to you, take it." Jacob didn't know that Rachel had stolen the gods.
33 Laban went through Jacob's tent, Leah's tent, and the tents of the two maids but didn't find them. He went from Leah's tent to Rachel's.
34 But Rachel had taken the household gods, put them inside a camel cushion, and was sitting on them. When Laban had gone through the tent, searching high and low without finding a thing,