As told in Genesis 30 and 31, Jacob, with his wives Rachel and Leah, lived with his uncle Laban. After Jacob and his family departed, Laban discovered that the statues of his household gods were missing and pursued Jacob, accusing him of stealing them. Here, Jacob invites Laban to search his tent, while Rachel sits on the saddlebag containing the statues that she had secretly taken. Laban searches the tent but does not find the statues. Afterwards, Laban and Jacob reconcile their differences.
This large canvas is one of a series of five scenes from the Life of Jacob painted by Murillo during the 1660s. Two of the other paintings in the series are now in the Hermitage (St. Petersburg) and one is in the Meadows Museum (Dallas). The present location of the fourth is unknown.