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Genesis 31

31
Jacob Flees from Laban
1Now Jacob heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, “Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s, and from what was our father’s he has acquired all this #Ps. 49:16wealth.” 2And Jacob saw the #Gen. 4:5countenance of Laban, and indeed it was not #Deut. 28:54favorable toward him as before. 3Then the Lord said to Jacob, #Gen. 28:15, 20, 21; 32:9“Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will #Gen. 46:4be with you.”
4So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field, to his flock, 5and said to them, #Gen. 31:2, 3“I see your father’s countenance, that it is not favorable toward me as before; but the God of my father #Gen. 21:22; 28:13, 15; 31:29, 42, 53; Is. 41:10; Heb. 13:5has been with me. 6And #Gen. 30:29; 31:38–41you know that with all my might I have served your father. 7Yet your father has deceived me and #Gen. 29:25; 31:41changed my wages #Num. 14:22; Neh. 4:12; Job 19:3; Zech. 8:23ten times, but God #Gen. 15:1; 20:6; 31:29; Job 1:10; Ps. 37:28; 105:14did not allow him to hurt me. 8If he said thus: ‘The speckled shall be your wages,’ then all the flocks bore speckled. And if he said thus: #Gen. 30:32‘The streaked shall be your wages,’ then all the flocks bore streaked. 9So God has #Gen. 31:1, 16taken away the livestock of your father and given them to me.
10“And it happened, at the time when the flocks conceived, that I lifted my eyes and saw in a dream, and behold, the rams which leaped upon the flocks were streaked, speckled, and gray-spotted. 11Then #Gen. 16:7–11; 22:11, 15; 31:13; 48:16the Angel of God spoke to me in a dream, saying, ‘Jacob.’ And I said, ‘Here I am.’ 12And He said, ‘Lift your eyes now and see, all the rams which leap on the flocks are streaked, speckled, and gray-spotted; for #Gen. 31:42; Ex. 3:7; Ps. 139:3; Eccl. 5:8I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. 13I am the God of Bethel, #Gen. 28:16–22; 35:1, 6, 15where you anointed the pillar and where you made a vow to Me. Now #Gen. 31:3; 32:9arise, get out of this land, and return to the land of your family.’ ”
14Then Rachel and Leah answered and said to him, #Gen. 2:24“Is there still any portion or inheritance for us in our father’s house? 15Are we not considered strangers by him? For #Gen. 29:15, 20, 23, 27; Neh. 5:8he has sold us, and also completely consumed our money. 16For all these riches which God has taken from our father are really ours and our children’s; now then, whatever God has said to you, do it.”
17Then Jacob rose and set his sons and his wives on camels. 18And he carried away all his livestock and all his possessions which he had gained, his acquired livestock which he had gained in Padan Aram, to go to his father Isaac in the land of #Gen. 17:8; 33:18; 35:27Canaan. 19Now Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel had stolen the #Gen. 31:30, 34; 35:2; Judg. 17:5; 1 Sam. 19:13; Hos. 3:4household idols that were her father’s. 20And Jacob stole away, unknown to Laban the Syrian, in that he did not tell him that he intended to flee. 21So he fled with all that he had. He arose and crossed the river, and #Gen. 46:28; 2 Kin. 12:17; Luke 9:51, 53headed toward the mountains of Gilead.
Laban Pursues Jacob
22And Laban was told on the third day that Jacob had fled. 23Then he took #Gen. 13:8his brethren with him and pursued him for seven days’ journey, and he overtook him in the mountains of Gilead. 24But God #Gen. 20:3; 31:29; 46:2–4; Job 33:15; Matt. 1:20had come to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said to him, “Be careful that you #Gen. 24:50; 31:7, 29speak to Jacob neither good nor bad.”
25So Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mountains, and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mountains of Gilead.
26And Laban said to Jacob: “What have you done, that you have stolen away unknown to me, and #1 Sam. 30:2carried away my daughters like captives taken with the sword? 27Why did you flee away secretly, and steal away from me, and not tell me; for I might have sent you away with joy and songs, with timbrel and harp? 28And you did not allow me #Gen. 31:55; Ruth 1:9, 14; 1 Kin. 19:20; Acts 20:37to kiss my sons and my daughters. Now #1 Sam. 13:13you have done foolishly in so doing. 29It is in my power to do you harm, but the #Gen. 28:13; 31:5, 24, 42, 53God of your father spoke to me #Gen. 31:24last night, saying, ‘Be careful that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad.’ 30And now you have surely gone because you greatly long for your father’s house, but why did you #Gen. 31:19; Josh. 24:2; Judg. 17:5; 18:24steal my gods?”
31Then Jacob answered and said to Laban, “Because I was #Gen. 26:7; 32:7, 11afraid, for I said, ‘Perhaps you would take your daughters from me by force.’ 32With whomever you find your gods, #Gen. 44:9do not let him live. In the presence of our brethren, identify what I have of yours and take it with you.” For Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them.
33And Laban went into Jacob’s tent, into Leah’s tent, and into the two maids’ tents, but he did not find them. Then he went out of Leah’s tent and entered Rachel’s tent. 34Now Rachel had taken the household idols, put them in the camel’s saddle, and sat on them. And Laban searched all about the tent but did not find them. 35And she said to her father, “Let it not displease my lord that I cannot #Ex. 20:12; Lev. 19:32rise before you, for the manner of women is with me.” And he searched but did not find the household idols.
36Then Jacob was angry and rebuked Laban, and Jacob answered and said to Laban: “What is my trespass? What is my sin, that you have so hotly pursued me? 37Although you have searched all my things, what part of your household things have you found? Set it here before my brethren and your brethren, that they may judge between us both! 38These twenty years I have been with you; your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried their young, and I have not eaten the rams of your flock. 39#Ex. 22:10That which was torn by beasts I did not bring to you; I bore the loss of it. #Ex. 22:10–13You required it from my hand, whether stolen by day or stolen by night. 40There I was! In the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night, and my sleep departed from my eyes. 41Thus I have been in your house twenty years; I #Gen. 29:20, 27–30served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and #Gen. 31:7you have changed my wages ten times. 42#Gen. 31:5, 29, 53; Ps. 124:1, 2Unless the God of my father, the God of Abraham and #Gen. 31:53; Is. 8:13the Fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. #Gen. 29:32; Ex. 3:7God has seen my affliction and the labor of my hands, and #Gen. 31:24, 29; 1 Chr. 12:17rebuked you last night.”
Laban’s Covenant with Jacob
43And Laban answered and said to Jacob, “These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and this flock is my flock; all that you see is mine. But what can I do this day to these my daughters or to their children whom they have borne? 44Now therefore, come, #Gen. 21:27, 32; 26:28let us make a covenant, #Josh. 24:27you and I, and let it be a witness between you and me.”
45So Jacob #Gen. 28:18; 35:14; Josh. 24:26, 27took a stone and set it up as a pillar. 46Then Jacob said to his brethren, “Gather stones.” And they took stones and made a heap, and they ate there on the heap. 47Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha, but Jacob called it Galeed. 48And Laban said, #Josh. 24:27“This heap is a witness between you and me this day.” Therefore its name was called Galeed, 49also #Judg. 10:17; 11:29; 1 Sam. 7:5, 6Mizpah, because he said, “May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from another. 50If you afflict my daughters, or if you take other wives besides my daughters, although no man is with us—see, God is witness between you and me!”
51Then Laban said to Jacob, “Here is this heap and here is this pillar, which I have placed between you and me. 52This heap is a witness, and this pillar is a witness, that I will not pass beyond this heap to you, and you will not pass beyond this heap and this pillar to me, for harm. 53The God of Abraham, the God of Nahor, and the God of their father #Gen. 16:5judge between us.” And Jacob #Gen. 21:23swore by #Gen. 31:42the Fear of his father Isaac. 54Then Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain, and called his brethren to eat bread. And they ate bread and stayed all night on the mountain. 55And early in the morning Laban arose, and #Gen. 29:11, 13; 31:28, 43kissed his sons and daughters and #Gen. 28:1blessed them. Then Laban departed and #Gen. 18:33; 30:25; Num. 24:25returned to his place.

Genesis 31

31
Jacob Runs from Laban
1Jacob heard that Laban's sons were complaining, “Jacob is now a rich man, and he got everything he owns from our father.” 2Jacob also noticed that Laban was not as friendly as he had been before. 3One day the Lord said, “Jacob, go back to your relatives in the land of your ancestors, and I will be with you.”
4Jacob sent for Rachel and Leah to meet him in the pasture where he kept his sheep, 5and he told them:
Your father isn't as friendly with me as he used to be, but the God my ancestors worshiped has been on my side. 6You know that I have worked hard for your father 7and that he keeps cheating me by changing my wages time after time. But God has protected me. 8When your father said the speckled sheep would be my wages, all of them were speckled. And when he said the spotted ones would be mine, all of them were spotted. 9That's how God has taken sheep and goats from your father and given them to me.
10Once, when the flocks were mating, I dreamed that all the rams were either spotted or speckled. 11Then God's angel called me by name. I answered, 12and he said, “Notice that all the rams are either spotted or speckled. I know everything Laban is doing to you, 13#Gn 28.18-22. and I am the God you worshiped at Bethel,#31.13 you … Bethel: Or “who appeared to you at Bethel.” when you poured olive oil on a rock and made a promise to me. Leave here at once and return to the land where you were born.”
14Rachel and Leah said to Jacob:
There's nothing left for us to inherit from our father. 15He treats us like foreigners and has even cheated us out of the bride price#31.15 bride price: Usually the husband-to-be paid a bride price to the father of the bride. But Jacob didn't pay Laban a bride price for either Rachel or Leah. Instead he was tricked into working 14 years to get the bride he loved. So there was no money for either of Laban's daughters. that should have been ours. 16So do whatever God tells you to do. Even the property God took from our father and gave to you really belongs to us and our children.
17Then Jacob, his wives, and his children got on camels and left 18northern Syria#31.18 northern Syria: See the note at 24.10. for the home of his father Isaac in Canaan. Jacob took along all his flocks, herds, and other property.
19Before Rachel left, she stole the household idols#31.19 household idols: These were thought to protect the household from danger. It is also possible that the person who had them would inherit the family property. while Laban was out shearing his sheep.
20Jacob tricked Laban the Aramean#31.20 the Aramean: Meaning someone from northern Syria (see the note at 24.10). by not saying that he intended to leave. 21When Jacob crossed the Euphrates River and headed for the hill country of Gilead, he took with him everything he owned.
Laban Catches Up with Jacob
22Three days later Laban found out that Jacob had gone. 23So he took some of his relatives along and chased after Jacob for seven days, before catching up with him in the hill country of Gilead. 24But God appeared to Laban in a dream that night and warned, “Don't say a word to Jacob. Don't make a threat or a promise.”
25Jacob had set up camp in the hill country of Gilead, when Laban and his relatives came and set up camp in another part of the hill country. Laban went to Jacob 26and said:
Look what you've done! You've tricked me and run off with my daughters like a kidnapper. 27Why did you sneak away without telling me? I would have given you a going-away party with singing and with music on tambourines and harps. 28You didn't even give me a chance to kiss my own grandchildren and daughters goodbye. That was really foolish. 29I could easily hurt you, but the God your father worshiped has warned me not to make any threats or promises.
30I can understand why you were eager to return to your father, but why did you have to steal my idols?
31Jacob answered, “I left secretly because I was afraid you would take your daughters from me by force. 32If you find that any one of us has taken your idols, I'll have that person killed. Let your relatives be witnesses. Show me what belongs to you, and you can take it back.” Jacob did not realize that Rachel had stolen the household idols.
33Laban searched the tents of Jacob, Leah, and the two servant women,#31.33 two servant women: Bilhah and Zilpah (see 30.4,9). but did not find the idols. Then he went to Rachel's tent. 34She had already hidden them in the cushion she used as a saddle and was sitting on it. Laban searched everywhere and did not find them. 35Rachel said, “Father, please don't be angry with me for not getting up; I'm having my period.” Laban kept on searching, but still did not find the idols.
36Jacob became very angry and said to Laban:
What have I done wrong? Have I committed some crime? Is that why you hunted me down? 37After searching through everything I have, did you find anything of yours? If so, put it here, where your relatives and mine can see it. Then we can decide what to do.
38In all the 20 years that I've worked for you, not one of your sheep or goats has had a miscarriage, and I've never eaten even one of your rams. 39If a wild animal killed one of your sheep or goats, I paid for it myself. In fact, you demanded the full price, whether the animal was killed during the day or at night.#31.39 you demanded … night: A shepherd was not responsible for sheep and goats killed by wild animals, if the shepherd could supply proof of how they were killed. 40I sweated every day, and I couldn't sleep at night because of the cold.
41I had to work 14 of these 20 long years to earn your two daughters and another 6 years to buy your sheep and goats. During that time you kept changing my wages. 42If the fearsome God#31.42 fearsome God: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. worshiped by Abraham and my father Isaac had not been on my side, you would have sent me away without a thing. But God saw my hard work, and he knew the trouble I was in, so he helped me. Then last night he told you how wrong you were.
Jacob and Laban Make an Agreement
43Laban said to Jacob, “Leah and Rachel are my daughters, and their children belong to me. All these sheep you are taking are really mine too. In fact, everything you have belongs to me. But there is nothing I can do to keep my daughters and their children. 44So I am ready to make an agreement with you, and we will pile up some large rocks here to remind us of the agreement.”
45After Jacob had set up a large rock, 46he told his men to get some more rocks and pile them up next to it. Then Jacob and Laban ate a meal together beside the rocks. 47Laban named the pile of rocks Jegar Sahadutha.#31.47 Jegar Sahadutha: In Aramaic “Jegar Sahadutha” means “a pile of rocks to remind us.” But Jacob named it Galeed.#31.47 Galeed: In Hebrew “Galeed” means “a pile of rocks to remind us.” 48Laban said to Jacob, “This pile of rocks will remind us of our agreement.” That's why the place was named Galeed. 49Laban also said, “This pile of rocks means that the Lord will watch us both while we are apart from each other.” So the place was also named Mizpah.#31.49 Mizpah: In Hebrew “Mizpah” sounds like “a place from which to watch.”
50Then Laban said:
If you mistreat my daughters or marry other women, I may not know about it, but remember, God is watching us! 51-52Both this pile of rocks and this large rock have been set up between us as a reminder. I must never go past them to attack you, and you must never come past them to attack me. 53My father Nahor, your grandfather Abraham, and their ancestors all worshiped the same God, and he will make sure that we each keep the agreement.
Then Jacob made a promise in the name of the fearsome God#31.53 fearsome God: See the note at 31.42. his father Isaac had worshiped. 54Jacob killed an animal and offered it as a sacrifice there on the mountain, and he invited his men to eat with him. After the meal they spent the night on the mountain. 55Early the next morning, Laban kissed his daughters and his grandchildren goodbye, then he left to go back home.