Daily Word

Search for gods | Genesis 31:31-35

31 “I rushed away because I was afraid,” Jacob answered. “I thought you would take your daughters from me by force. 32 But as for your gods, see if you can find them, and let the person who has taken them die! And if you find anything else that belongs to you, identify it before all these relatives of ours, and I will give it back!” But Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the household idols.

33 Laban went first into Jacob’s tent to search there, then into Leah’s, and then the tents of the two servant wives—but he found nothing. Finally, he went into Rachel’s tent. 34 But Rachel had taken the household idols and hidden them in her camel saddle, and now she was sitting on them. When Laban had thoroughly searched her tent without finding them, 35 she said to her father, “Please, sir, forgive me if I don’t get up for you. I’m having my monthly period.” So Laban continued his search, but he could not find the household idols.

Genesis 31:31-35 (NLT)

Accusation leveled

So Laban caught up with Jacob and his clan just before Gilead (look in the right, top of this map). This is quite a distance to cover in 10 days – and for Laban to chase after him. He chastises Jacob then ends by accusing him (correctly) of stealing his household gods. As we see today, Jacob didn’t know that Rachel had indeed stolen them so claimed innocence. Ultimately, as the head of the household and as the husband, Biblically, he was responsible. So, Jacob defied Laban to find anything that legitimately was his – in front of all the witnesses. Laban took the challenge.

Search for gods

Laban ransacked each tent looking for the idols (and probably anything else he thought belonged to him). The pressure was on to find something, anything, lest he be proved a liar and be embarrassed in front of both groups of people there. He searched high and low but could not find his gods. It seems kind of ridiculous if you think about it that his “gods” were even stolen and now he couldn’t find them! This presented a good opportunity to see the weakness of these false gods.

Hidden in plain sight

Rachel, the thief, was the culprit. She came up with the idea to hide the idols in camel bags and sit on them with an excuse of her period to not get up when Laban came in looking. Again, we don’t know why she stole the idols but can guess she at least saw them as materially valuable, and possibly for their (supposed) spiritual value. 

Just wait until tomorrow when Jacob responds to Laban!


Take a spiritual inventory. Are there idols in your life that you are trusting for health, success, protection, fulfillment? One definition worthy of careful thought is: “Anything or anyone that begins to capture our hearts and minds and affections more than God.” (Grace Fellowship Church) If you use this definition as a measuring stick, we’re all idolaters!

Metal detector search treasure. Image from Pxfuel.com

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