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Genesis 31:24-29

Context
31:24 But God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and warned him, 1  “Be careful 2  that you neither bless nor curse Jacob.” 3 

31:25 Laban overtook Jacob, and when Jacob pitched his tent in the hill country of Gilead, Laban and his relatives set up camp there too. 4  31:26 “What have you done?” Laban demanded of Jacob. “You’ve deceived me 5  and carried away my daughters as if they were captives of war! 6  31:27 Why did you run away secretly 7  and deceive me? 8  Why didn’t you tell me so I could send you off with a celebration complete with singing, tambourines, and harps? 9  31:28 You didn’t even allow me to kiss my daughters and my grandchildren 10  good-bye. You have acted foolishly! 31:29 I have 11  the power to do you harm, but the God of your father told me last night, ‘Be careful 12  that you neither bless nor curse Jacob.’ 13 

1 tn Heb “said to him.”

2 tn Heb “watch yourself,” which is a warning to be on guard against doing something that is inappropriate.

3 tn Heb “lest you speak with Jacob from good to evil.” The precise meaning of the expression, which occurs only here and in v. 29, is uncertain. Since Laban proceeded to speak to Jacob at length, it cannot mean to maintain silence. Nor does it seem to be a prohibition against criticism (see vv. 26-30). Most likely it refers to a formal pronouncement, whether it be a blessing or a curse. Laban was to avoid saying anything to Jacob that would be intended to enhance him or to harm him.

4 tn Heb “and Jacob pitched his tent in the hill country, and Laban pitched with his brothers in the hill country of Gilead.” The juxtaposition of disjunctive clauses (note the pattern conjunction + subject + verb in both clauses) indicates synchronism of action.

5 tn Heb “and you have stolen my heart.” This expression apparently means “to deceive” (see v. 20).

6 tn Heb “and you have led away my daughters like captives of a sword.”

7 tn Heb “Why did you hide in order to flee?” The verb “hide” and the infinitive “to flee” form a hendiadys, the infinitive becoming the main verb and the other the adverb: “flee secretly.”

8 tn Heb “and steal me.”

9 tn Heb “And [why did] you not tell me so I could send you off with joy and with songs, with a tambourine and with a harp?”

10 tn Heb “my sons and my daughters.” Here “sons” refers to “grandsons,” and has been translated “grandchildren” since at least one granddaughter, Dinah, was involved. The order has been reversed in the translation for stylistic reasons.

11 tn Heb “there is to my hand.”

12 tn Heb “watch yourself,” which is a warning to be on guard against doing something that is inappropriate.

13 tn Heb “from speaking with Jacob from good to evil.” The precise meaning of the expression, which occurs only here and in v. 24, is uncertain. See the note on the same phrase in v. 24.



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