Scala/Art Resource, NY

“Why did you steal my gods?” asks Laban, center left, when he catches up with Jacob, center right, who has fled with his household from Haran (Genesis 31:40). In this painting by the 18th-century Venetian artist Giovanni Tiepolo, the culprit, Rachel, remains seated at the center of her tent while Laban searches for his idols. With the statues stuffed in saddlebags beneath her, Rachel refuses to rise, claiming that “the period of women is upon me” (Genesis 31:35). Jacob, not knowing about Rachel’s theft, is outraged at Laban’s accusation. Unwittingly, Jacob swears to Laban: “Anyone with whom you find your gods shall not remain alive!” (Genesis 31:32).