“And he said, “Come in, blessed of the LORD! Why do you stand outside since I have prepared the house, and a place for the camels?””  Gen. 24:31

Apparently Laban had seen his sister Rebekah conversing with the stranger from afar, and thus made preparations for their stay.  This tells us something about Laban’s character, as I noted in my previous post

According to Bereishis Rabbah 60:7, it would have been impolite for Laban to tell the guests that he had gone through the trouble of preparing the house for their stay.  Now, it could be that Laban did not have great tact, and though willing to provide excellent hospitality, also ensuring to tell the guest it was work to do so (kind of like leaving the price tag on a gift, if you will).

However the speculation* is that he isn’t simply referring to straightening things up. Instead he is making reference to removing idols from the house specifically for their stay.  First, consider Laban’s greeting:  “Come in, blessed of the LORD!”

We know from the story of Jacob that Laban is an idolater (see Gen. 31:30-32), something that also seems to run in Abraham’s family.  Laban’s Great-Grandfather Terah was also an idolater (Joshua 24:2) and ultimately his daughter Rachel steals his gods (Gen. 30:32).  We do not know Rachel’s motivation for doing this.

*ref.  Yefeg Tiar [HaShalem] to Bereishis Rabbah

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