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Genesis 31:29-31 New English Translation (NET Bible)

29 I have the power[a] to do you harm, but the God of your father told me last night, ‘Be careful[b] that you neither bless nor curse Jacob.’[c] 30 Now I understand that[d] you have gone away[e] because you longed desperately[f] for your father’s house. Yet why did you steal my gods?”[g]

31 “I left secretly because I was afraid!”[h] Jacob replied to Laban. “I thought[i] you might take your daughters away from me by force.[j]


  1. Genesis 31:29 tn Heb “There is to the power of my hand.”
  2. Genesis 31:29 tn Heb “watch yourself,” which is a warning to be on guard against doing something that is inappropriate.
  3. Genesis 31:29 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.
  4. Genesis 31:30 tn Heb “and now.” The words “I understand that” have been supplied in the translation for clarity and for stylistic reasons.
  5. Genesis 31:30 tn The infinitive absolute appears before the perfect verbal form to emphasize the certainty of the action.
  6. Genesis 31:30 tn The infinitive absolute appears before the perfect verbal form to emphasize the degree of emotion involved.
  7. Genesis 31:30 sn Yet why did you steal my gods? This last sentence is dropped into the speech rather suddenly. See C. Mabee, “Jacob and Laban: The Structure of Judicial Proceedings,” VT 30 (1980): 192-207, and G. W. Coats, “Self-Abasement and Insult Formulas,” JBL 91 (1972): 90-92.
  8. Genesis 31:31 tn Heb “and Jacob answered and said to Laban, ‘Because I was afraid.’” This statement is a not a response to the question about Laban’s household gods that immediately precedes, but to the earlier question about Jacob’s motivation for leaving so quickly and secretly (see v. 27). For this reason the words “I left secretly” are supplied in the translation to indicate the connection to Laban’s earlier question in v. 27. Additionally the order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse have been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  9. Genesis 31:31 tn Heb “for I said.”
  10. Genesis 31:31 tn Heb “lest you steal your daughters from with me.”
New English Translation (NET)

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Genesis 31:29-31 New International Version (NIV)

29 I have the power to harm you; but last night the God of your father said to me, ‘Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.’ 30 Now you have gone off because you longed to return to your father’s household. But why did you steal my gods?

31 Jacob answered Laban, “I was afraid, because I thought you would take your daughters away from me by force.

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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