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Genesis 31

31
Jacob Flees From Laban
1#Ecc 4:4Now Jacob heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, “Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s, and he has gotten all his wealth from what was our father’s.” 2#Ge 4:5Jacob saw the look of Laban and saw he was not congenial toward him as before.
3#Ge 28:15; 32:9; 31:13Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers, to your family, and I will be with you.”
4So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field where his flock was, 5#Ge 31:2–3; 31:42and said to them, “I see your father’s demeanor, that it is not congenial toward me as before; but the God of my father has been with me. 6#Ge 30:29You know that with all my strength I have served your father. 7#Ge 31:29; 31:41Your father has deceived me and changed my wages ten times, but God did not allow him to hurt me. 8#Ge 30:32If he said, ‘The speckled will be your wages,’ then all the flock produced speckled. If he said, ‘The striped will be your pay,’ then all the flock produced striped. 9#Ge 31:1; 31:16In this way God has taken away your father’s flock and given them to me.
10“When the livestock conceived, I lifted up my eyes and saw in a dream that the male goats mating with the flock were striped, speckled, and spotted. 11#Ge 31:13The angel of God spoke to me in a dream, saying, ‘Jacob.’ And I said, ‘Here I am.’ 12#Ex 3:7He said, ‘Now lift up your eyes and see all the male goats which mate with the flock are striped, speckled, and spotted, for I have seen all that Laban has done to you. 13#Ge 32:9; 31:3I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar, where you vowed a vow to Me. Now arise, and get out of this land, and return to the land of your family.’ ”
14Rachel and Leah answered him, “Is there any portion or inheritance left for us in our father’s house? 15#Ge 29:15–20; 30:26Are we not seen by him as foreigners? For he has sold us and has completely spent our money also. 16For all the riches which God has taken from our father are ours and our children’s. Now then, whatever God has said to you, do it.”
17Then Jacob rose up and set his sons and his wives on camels. 18Then he carried away all his livestock and all his goods which he had obtained, his acquired livestock which he had gotten in Paddan Aram, in order to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan.
19#Ge 31:30; 1Sa 19:13When Laban went to shear his sheep, Rachel stole the household idols that were her father’s. 20Jacob also deceived Laban the Syrian by not telling him that he was fleeing. 21#2Ki 12:17So Jacob fled with all that he had, and he rose up and passed over the river and headed toward the mountains of Gilead.
Laban Pursues Jacob
22Laban was told on the third day that Jacob had fled. 23He took his kinsmen with him and pursued him for seven days until he caught up with him in the mountains of Gilead. 24#Ge 20:3; 24:50; 31:29But God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night and said to him, “Take care that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad.”
25Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent on the mountain, and Laban with his kinsmen pitched in the mountains of Gilead. 26#1Sa 30:2Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done that you have stolen away without my knowing and carried away my daughters like captives taken with the sword? 27#Ex 15:20Why did you flee away secretly and sneak away from me and not tell me? I would have sent you away with joy and with songs, with the tambourine and harp. 28#Ge 31:55; Ru 1:9And why did you not permit me to kiss my sons and my daughters farewell? You have acted foolishly in so doing. 29#Ge 31:53; 31:42It is in my power to do you harm, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Take care that you not speak to Jacob either good or bad.’ 30#Ge 31:19; Jdg 18:24Now you surely have gone away because you longed desperately after your father’s house, yet why have you stolen my gods?”
31Then Jacob answered and said to Laban, “Because I was afraid, for I thought that you would take your daughters from me by force. 32But anyone with whom you find your gods, let him not live. In the presence of our kinsmen, point out what I have that is yours and take it.” For Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them.
33So Laban went into Jacob’s tent and into Leah’s tent and into the two female servants’ tents, but he did not find them. Then he went out of Leah’s tent and entered into Rachel’s tent. 34Now Rachel had taken the household idols and put them in the camel’s saddle and sat on them. Laban searched the entire tent, but could not find them.
35#Lev 19:32; Ex 20:12She said to her father, “Let not my lord be displeased that I cannot rise before you, for the manner of women is on me.” So he searched, but he did not find the household idols.
36Then Jacob became angry and berated Laban. And Jacob asked Laban, “What is my offense? What is my sin that you have so hotly pursued after me? 37You have searched all my things, and yet what have you found of all your household things? Set it here before my kinsmen and your kinsmen, so that they may judge between us both.
38“This twenty years I have been with you. Your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried their young, and the male goats of your flock I have not eaten. 39That which was torn by beasts I did not bring to you. I bore the loss of it. You required it from my hand whether it was stolen by day or stolen by night. 40It was like this with me: In the day the heat consumed me and the frost by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes. 41#Ge 31:7I have been twenty years in your house. I served you fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times. 42#Ge 29:32; 31:29If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, surely you would have sent me away empty now. God has seen my affliction and the labor of my hands and rebuked you last night.”
Laban’s Covenant With Jacob
43Laban answered and said to Jacob, “These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine. But what can I do this day to my daughters or to their children whom they have borne? 44Now therefore come, let us make a covenant, you and I, and let it be as a witness between you and me.”
45So Jacob took a stone and set it up for a pillar. 46Jacob said to his kinsmen, “Gather stones.” So they took stones and made a pile, and they ate there on the pile. 47And Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha, but Jacob called it Galeed.
48#Jos 24:27Laban said, “This pile is a witness between me and you this day.” Therefore its name was called Galeed, 49#Jdg 11:29and Mizpah, for he said, “May the Lord watch between you and me, when we are apart from one another. 50#Jer 42:5; 29:23If you mistreat my daughters, or if you take other wives beside my daughters, although no one else is with us, remember that God is witness between you and me.”
51Then Laban said to Jacob, “See this pile and see this pillar which I have thrown between you and me. 52This heap is a witness, and this pillar is a witness, so that I will not cross over this pile to you and so that you will not pass over this pile and this pillar to me for harm. 53#Ge 31:42; 16:5The God of Abraham, the God of Nahor, and the God of their father, judge between us.”
Then Jacob vowed by the Fear of his father Isaac. 54#Ex 18:12Then Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain and called his kinsmen to eat bread. And they ate bread and stayed all night on the mountain.
55#Ge 31:28; 18:33Early in the morning Laban rose up, kissed his grandchildren and his daughters, and blessed them. Then Laban departed and returned to his place.
31
Chapter 31
Jacob runs away from Laban
1Jacob heard that Laban's sons were complaining about him. They were saying, ‘Jacob has taken everything that belonged to our father. He has taken things from our father and he has become rich himself.’
2And Jacob could see that Laban was not as nice to him as he had been before.
3Then the Lord said to Jacob, ‘Go back to the land where your father and grandfather lived. Go back to your relatives. I will be with you there.’ 4Jacob sent a message to Rachel and Leah. He said that they must come to the field where he was taking care of his animals. 5Jacob said to Rachel and Leah, ‘I see that your father is not as nice to me now, as he was before. But the God of my father has been with me. 6You know that I have worked very hard for your father. I have worked as well as I can. 7But your father has cheated me many times. He has changed what I receive for my work at least 10 times. But God has not let him hurt me. 8Sometimes Laban said, “I will pay you with the animals that have different colours on their skin.” If he said that, all the animals gave birth to babies with different colours on their skins. Sometimes he said, “I will pay you with the animals that have marks on them.” Then all the animals would give birth to babies with marks on them. 9In this way God took away your father's animals, and he gave them to me.
10One night I had a dream. It was at the time when the animals were becoming pregnant. In the dream, I saw that the male goats had marks and different colours on their skin. 11The angel of God spoke to me in the dream. He said, “Jacob.” I replied, “Yes, here I am.” 12The angel said, “Look carefully. See all the male goats that are having sex with the female goats. They all have marks and different colours on their skin. I am helping you because I have seen the bad things that Laban has done to you. 13I am the God who appeared to you at Bethel. That is where you poured oil on the special stone and you made a promise to me. Now I am telling you to leave this land. Go back to the land where you were born.” ’
14When Jacob told that to Rachel and Leah, they replied, ‘Our father will not give us anything more when he dies. 15He now thinks of us as if we are foreign people. You worked hard for him so that we could become your wives. He has cheated us as well as you! 16So everything that God has taken away from our father really belongs to us, and to our children. So you must do everything that God has told you to do.’
17So Jacob put his children and wives on his camels. 18He put together all his animals, and everything that he had received in Paddan Aram. He took them with him to go to the land of Canaan. He left to go to back to his father Isaac. 19Before they left, Laban had gone to cut the wool from his sheep. While he was away from the house, Rachel took the idols that Laban worshipped in his house. #31:19 These idols were small gods that someone made from wood or metal. Laban worshipped these gods.
20Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean. He did not tell Laban that he was going away. 21Jacob went away quickly and he took all his things. He went across the Euphrates river. He went towards the hill country of Gilead.
22After three days, someone told Laban that Jacob had gone away. 23So Laban took his relatives with him and he followed Jacob. After seven days he found him in the hill country of Gilead. 24Then God appeared to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night. God warned him, ‘Be careful what you say to Jacob. Do not say anything good or bad against him.’
25Jacob had put up his tent in the hill country of Gilead. That is where Laban found him. So Laban and his relatives also put up their tents in that place. 26Laban said to Jacob, ‘Why did you do that? You have deceived me. You have taken my daughters away as if you had caught them in a war. 27Why did you go away secretly? Yes, you have deceived me. You should have told me that you were leaving. Then I would have prepared a big meal. We would have been happy together, with songs and music. 28But you did not even let me say “goodbye” to my daughters or my grandchildren. What you have done is not right. 29I have the power to hurt you. But last night the God of your father appeared to me. He told me, “Be careful what you say to Jacob. Do not say anything good or bad against him.” 30I know that you want very much to return to your father's house. That is why you have left my home. But why did you take my idols?’
31Jacob replied, ‘I left secretly because I was afraid. I thought that you might fight me to take your daughters away from me. 32But if you find your idols with anyone here, that person must die. While our relatives watch, you may look for anything that belongs to you. If you find anything then take it.’
Jacob did not know that Rachel had taken her father's idols.
33So Laban went into Jacob's tent. Then he went into Leah's tent. He also went into the female servants' tent. But he did not find the idols. When he left Leah's tent, he went into Rachel's tent. 34Rachel had taken the idols and she had put them inside her camel's seat. Now she sat on them. Laban looked everywhere in Rachel's tent but he did not find the idols. 35Rachel said to him, ‘Do not be angry with me, sir. I cannot stand up in front of you. It is the time of my monthly blood loss.’ #31:35 In Old Testament times, when a woman had her monthly blood loss, she was unclean. And anything that she sat on was unclean. See Leviticus 15:20. So, Laban looked everywhere for the idols, but he did not find them.
36Then Jacob became angry and he quarrelled with Laban. He asked Laban, ‘What have I done wrong? What sin have I done against you so that you had to catch me? 37Now you have looked through everything that I have. Did you find anything that belongs to you? If you have found anything, put it here in the open. Then your relatives and my relatives can see it. Our relatives can decide which of us is right, you or me!’
38Jacob continued to say to Laban, ‘I have worked for you for 20 years. Your female sheep and goats have all safely given birth to young ones. I have not taken any of your male animals as food for myself. 39If wild animals attacked your sheep or goats, I did not show them to you. I myself paid you for them. If any animal was lost, in the day time or at night, you said that I must pay you for it. 40This is what it was like to work for you: I worked in the strong heat of the sun in the day. I had pain from the cold at night. I could not always sleep. 41It was like this for 20 years as I worked like a slave for you. I worked for 14 years to pay you for your two daughters. Then I worked for six years for your sheep and goats. You changed what you paid me at least 10 times! 42The God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac was with me. #31:42 The God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the Fear of Isaac are all names for God. God is very powerful and has authority over everything. If he had not helped me, then you would have sent me away with nothing. But God has seen what you have done to hurt me. He has seen how hard I have worked for you. So last night he told you that you had done wrong.’
43Laban replied to Jacob, ‘These women are my daughters. Their children are my grandchildren. The animals are my animals. Everything that you have with you here belongs to me. But there is nothing that I can do today about my daughters or about their children. 44So we should be friends. Let us make an agreement together. It will show that we have agreed to be friends.’
45So Jacob took a large stone and made it stand up in the ground. 46He said to his relatives, ‘Go and get some stones.’ So they brought some stones and they put them together on the ground. Then they all ate a meal together, near the heap of stones. #31:46 When people made a promise, they often ate a meal together.
47Laban called that place Jegar Sahadutha. Jacob called it Galeed. #31:47 Jegar Sahadutha are Aramaic words. Galeed is a Hebrew word. Both mean that the stones showed that people made an agreement there.
48Laban said, ‘These stones show that we have made an agreement today.’ That is why the place was called Galeed. 49The place was also called ‘Mizpah’. That was because Laban said, ‘May the Lord watch you and me when we are away from each other. 50Remember that God is watching you. If you do wrong to my daughters, God will see it. And if you marry any other women, remember this. God is watching you. Even if no one else sees you, God will know.’
51Laban also said, ‘I have put this special stone here, and the heap of stones near it. They stand there between your land and my land. 52I will not go past the stones to your side to hurt you. And you must not go past them to my side to hurt me. 53Let the God of Abraham, Nahor, and their ancestors decide if one of us is guilty.’
So Jacob made a promise in the name of the God that his father Isaac worshipped. 54He offered a sacrifice to God there in the hill country. He asked his relatives to eat a meal with him. After they had eaten, they stayed the night there.
55Early the next morning, Laban got up to return home. He kissed his grandchildren and his daughters. He said ‘goodbye’ and he blessed them. Then he left and he went back to his home. #31:55 Jacob ran away from Laban because he was afraid. But God had already told Jacob that he would be with him. Jacob should have trusted God to keep him safe.