When Jacob flees from his father-in-law, Laban’s home with his wives and possessions, unbeknownst to him, his wife Rachel, stole some of her father’s idols (images) and took them with her. When Laban confronted Jacob of this thievery, Jacob impulsively responds that whoever is found to have stolen Laban’s gods would be punishable by death. In other words, he had unknowingly declared the death sentence on his wife. When Laban’s started to search the tents for his gods, before Laban entered Rachel’s tent, she took the idols and hid them in her camels furniture and sat on top of them. She avoided getting caught by using her monthly period as to reason to not have to get up.
The Bible does not tell us the reason as to why Rachel had stolen her father’s idols and hidden them and trying to come up with reasons would be nothing more than conjecture.
However, what is important to recognize is that the hidden idols could have led to death – Rachel’s death.
Points to Ponder:
The Bible is very clear that we should have no other gods before the Lord God and that we should not make any idols and those who do will face the judgment of God for he will not tolerate our affection to any other god or idol (Exodus 20:3-5) He will blot them out of his book (Exodus 32:33).
Idols are anything that take the place of God – they are those that take priority and preeminence in our lives. In today’s context, an idol could be anything – power, position, popularity, prestige, pleasure, possessions.
Hiding idols in our lives is akin to declaring a (spiritual) death sentence on ourselves. What are the idols that we hide and sit on?
Genesis 31:19-20, 30, 32-35 (KJV)
19 And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father’s.
20 And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled.
30 And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father’s house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?
32 With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them.
33 And Laban went into Jacob’s tent, and into Leah’s tent, and into the two maidservants’ tents; but he found them not. Then went he out of Leah’s tent, and entered into Rachel’s tent.
34 Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel’s furniture, and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but found them not.
35 And she said to her father, Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the custom of women is upon me. And he searched but found not the images.