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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.
31
Jacob Flees from Laban
1But Jacob soon learned that Laban’s sons were grumbling about him. “Jacob has robbed our father of everything!” they said. “He has gained all his wealth at our father’s expense.” 2And Jacob began to notice a change in Laban’s attitude toward him.
3Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your father and grandfather and to your relatives there, and I will be with you.”
4So Jacob called Rachel and Leah out to the field where he was watching his flock. 5He said to them, “I have noticed that your father’s attitude toward me has changed. But the God of my father has been with me. 6You know how hard I have worked for your father, 7but he has cheated me, changing my wages ten times. But God has not allowed him to do me any harm. 8For if he said, ‘The speckled animals will be your wages,’ the whole flock began to produce speckled young. And when he changed his mind and said, ‘The striped animals will be your wages,’ then the whole flock produced striped young. 9In this way, God has taken your father’s animals and given them to me.
10“One time during the mating season, I had a dream and saw that the male goats mating with the females were streaked, speckled, and spotted. 11Then in my dream, the angel of God said to me, ‘Jacob!’ And I replied, ‘Yes, here I am.’
12“The angel said, ‘Look up, and you will see that only the streaked, speckled, and spotted males are mating with the females of your flock. For I have seen how Laban has treated you. 13I am the God who appeared to you at Bethel,#31:13 As in Greek version and an Aramaic Targum; Hebrew reads the God of Bethel. the place where you anointed the pillar of stone and made your vow to me. Now get ready and leave this country and return to the land of your birth.’”
14Rachel and Leah responded, “That’s fine with us! We won’t inherit any of our father’s wealth anyway. 15He has reduced our rights to those of foreign women. And after he sold us, he wasted the money you paid him for us. 16All the wealth God has given you from our father legally belongs to us and our children. So go ahead and do whatever God has told you.”
17So Jacob put his wives and children on camels, 18and he drove all his livestock in front of him. He packed all the belongings he had acquired in Paddan-aram and set out for the land of Canaan, where his father, Isaac, lived. 19At the time they left, Laban was some distance away, shearing his sheep. Rachel stole her father’s household idols and took them with her. 20Jacob outwitted Laban the Aramean, for they set out secretly and never told Laban they were leaving. 21So Jacob took all his possessions with him and crossed the Euphrates River,#31:21 Hebrew the river. heading for the hill country of Gilead.
Laban Pursues Jacob
22Three days later, Laban was told that Jacob had fled. 23So he gathered a group of his relatives and set out in hot pursuit. He caught up with Jacob seven days later in the hill country of Gilead. 24But the previous night God had appeared to Laban the Aramean in a dream and told him, “I’m warning you—leave Jacob alone!”
25Laban caught up with Jacob as he was camped in the hill country of Gilead, and he set up his camp not far from Jacob’s. 26“What do you mean by deceiving me like this?” Laban demanded. “How dare you drag my daughters away like prisoners of war? 27Why did you slip away secretly? Why did you deceive me? And why didn’t you say you wanted to leave? I would have given you a farewell feast, with singing and music, accompanied by tambourines and harps. 28Why didn’t you let me kiss my daughters and grandchildren and tell them good-bye? You have acted very foolishly! 29I could destroy you, but the God of your father appeared to me last night and warned me, ‘Leave Jacob alone!’ 30I can understand your feeling that you must go, and your intense longing for your father’s home. But why have you stolen my gods?”
31“I rushed away because I was afraid,” Jacob answered. “I thought you would take your daughters from me by force. 32But as for your gods, see if you can find them, and let the person who has taken them die! And if you find anything else that belongs to you, identify it before all these relatives of ours, and I will give it back!” But Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the household idols.
33Laban went first into Jacob’s tent to search there, then into Leah’s, and then the tents of the two servant wives—but he found nothing. Finally, he went into Rachel’s tent. 34But Rachel had taken the household idols and hidden them in her camel saddle, and now she was sitting on them. When Laban had thoroughly searched her tent without finding them, 35she said to her father, “Please, sir, forgive me if I don’t get up for you. I’m having my monthly period.” So Laban continued his search, but he could not find the household idols.
36Then Jacob became very angry, and he challenged Laban. “What’s my crime?” he demanded. “What have I done wrong to make you chase after me as though I were a criminal? 37You have rummaged through everything I own. Now show me what you found that belongs to you! Set it out here in front of us, before our relatives, for all to see. Let them judge between us!
38“For twenty years I have been with you, caring for your flocks. In all that time your sheep and goats never miscarried. In all those years I never used a single ram of yours for food. 39If any were attacked and killed by wild animals, I never showed you the carcass and asked you to reduce the count of your flock. No, I took the loss myself! You made me pay for every stolen animal, whether it was taken in broad daylight or in the dark of night.
40“I worked for you through the scorching heat of the day and through cold and sleepless nights. 41Yes, for twenty years I slaved in your house! I worked for fourteen years earning your two daughters, and then six more years for your flock. And you changed my wages ten times! 42In fact, if the God of my father had not been on my side—the God of Abraham and the fearsome God of Isaac#31:42 Or and the Fear of Isaac.—you would have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen your abuse and my hard work. That is why he appeared to you last night and rebuked you!”
Jacob’s Treaty with Laban
43Then Laban replied to Jacob, “These women are my daughters, these children are my grandchildren, and these flocks are my flocks—in fact, everything you see is mine. But what can I do now about my daughters and their children? 44So come, let’s make a covenant, you and I, and it will be a witness to our commitment.”
45So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a monument. 46Then he told his family members, “Gather some stones.” So they gathered stones and piled them in a heap. Then Jacob and Laban sat down beside the pile of stones to eat a covenant meal. 47To commemorate the event, Laban called the place Jegar-sahadutha (which means “witness pile” in Aramaic), and Jacob called it Galeed (which means “witness pile” in Hebrew).
48Then Laban declared, “This pile of stones will stand as a witness to remind us of the covenant we have made today.” This explains why it was called Galeed—“Witness Pile.” 49But it was also called Mizpah (which means “watchtower”), for Laban said, “May the Lord keep watch between us to make sure that we keep this covenant when we are out of each other’s sight. 50If you mistreat my daughters or if you marry other wives, God will see it even if no one else does. He is a witness to this covenant between us.
51“See this pile of stones,” Laban continued, “and see this monument I have set between us. 52They stand between us as witnesses of our vows. I will never pass this pile of stones to harm you, and you must never pass these stones or this monument to harm me. 53I call on the God of our ancestors—the God of your grandfather Abraham and the God of my grandfather Nahor—to serve as a judge between us.”
So Jacob took an oath before the fearsome God of his father, Isaac,#31:53 Or the Fear of his father, Isaac. to respect the boundary line. 54Then Jacob offered a sacrifice to God there on the mountain and invited everyone to a covenant feast. After they had eaten, they spent the night on the mountain.
55#31:55 Verse 31:55 is numbered 32:1 in Hebrew text.Laban got up early the next morning, and he kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then he left and returned home.