“Now Laban had gone to shear his sheep, possibly to the feast of sheep shearing, and Rachel stole her father’s household gods.” Genesis 31:19 Amplified
We continue looking at our woman of the Bible Rachel. The time has come for Jacob’s brood to return to Canaan, where his father Issac is. He informs Rachel and Leah that they’re leaving and he takes all his herds with him. He’s worked for Laban 20 years, 14 of those were just to marry his two wives and then six for the flocks he has. Even though Laban tried to cheat him out of those herds, Jacob tells Leah and Rachel that God would not allow him to do that. Now, God says it’s time to go.
For whatever reason, it’s not clear in the scripture, Rachel goes to her father’s tent and steals his household gods. It’s believed that at that time household gods played an important part of inheritance. Possibly Rachel thought that by taking the household idol she would insure that Jacob had a right to what he had, the flocks. This backfired though because Laban came home and when he discovered the idols were missing went after Jacob. While Laban travelled to catch up with Jacob God visited Laban in a dream and told him not to hurt Jacob. Once Laban caught up with Jacob he accused him of stealing the idols, and leaving without letting him tell his family goodbye. Jacob explained that he was unaware of the idols being missing. He told Laban to search all he had and if he found the idols he’d admit to the theft. Laban searched everywhere and was unable to find them. When he saw Leah sitting on her camel, she told him she couldn’t get down to honor him as she was ill, that time of the month, (she had the idols in a bag on the camel). When Laban was unable to find the idols it was Jacob’s turn to get upset, he ranted and railed on Laban going over the last 20 years of living with him. Surprisingly, Laban agreed to make a covenant with Jacob that they would not upset each other any more, they also built a monument to that covenant. Upon Laban’s departure he kissed his family and pronounced a blessing asking God’s favor on them.
I believe Rachel took the household gods so that Laban would turn to the one true God. It seems from the story he did that and he also made things right with his family.