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Genesis 31

31
1Jacob heard Laban’s sons’ words, saying, “Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s. He has obtained all this wealth from that which was our father’s.” 2Jacob saw the expression on Laban’s face, and, behold, it was not towards him as before. 3The Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers, and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”
4Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field to his flock, 5and said to them, “I see the expression on your father’s face, that it is not towards me as before; but the God of my father has been with me. 6You know that I have served your father with all of my strength. 7Your father has deceived me, and changed my wages ten times, but God didn’t allow him to hurt me. 8If he said, ‘The speckled will be your wages,’ then all the flock bore speckled. If he said, ‘The streaked will be your wages,’ then all the flock bore streaked. 9Thus God has taken away your father’s livestock, and given them to me. 10During mating season, I lifted up my eyes, and saw in a dream, and behold, the male goats which leapt on the flock were streaked, speckled, and grizzled. 11The angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob,’ and I said, ‘Here I am.’ 12He said, ‘Now lift up your eyes, and behold, all the male goats which leap on the flock are streaked, speckled, and grizzled, for I have seen all that Laban does to you. 13I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar, where you vowed a vow to me. Now arise, get out from this land, and return to the land of your birth.’”
14Rachel and Leah answered him, “Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father’s house? 15Aren’t we considered as foreigners by him? For he has sold us, and has also used up our money. 16For all the riches which God has taken away from our father are ours and our children’s. Now then, whatever God has said to you, do.”
17Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives on the camels, 18and he took away all his livestock, and all his possessions which he had gathered, including the livestock which he had gained in Paddan Aram, to go to Isaac his father, to the land of Canaan. 19Now Laban had gone to shear his sheep; and Rachel stole the teraphim#31:19 teraphim were household idols that may have been associated with inheritance rights to the household property. that were her father’s.
20Jacob deceived Laban the Syrian, in that he didn’t tell him that he was running away. 21So he fled with all that he had. He rose up, passed over the River, and set his face towards the mountain of Gilead.
22Laban was told on the third day that Jacob had fled. 23He took his relatives with him, and pursued him seven days’ journey. He overtook him in the mountain of Gilead. 24God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream of the night, and said to him, “Be careful that you don’t speak to Jacob either good or bad.”
25Laban caught up with Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mountain, and Laban with his relatives encamped in the mountain of Gilead. 26Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done, that you have deceived me, and carried away my daughters like captives of the sword? 27Why did you flee secretly, and deceive me, and didn’t tell me, that I might have sent you away with mirth and with songs, with tambourine and with harp; 28and didn’t allow me to kiss my sons and my daughters? Now have you done foolishly. 29It is in the power of my hand to hurt you, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Be careful that you don’t speak to Jacob either good or bad.’ 30Now, you want to be gone, because you greatly longed for your father’s house, but why have you stolen my gods?”
31Jacob answered Laban, “Because I was afraid, for I said, ‘Lest you should take your daughters from me by force.’ 32Anyone you find your gods with shall not live. Before our relatives, discern what is yours with me, and take it.” For Jacob didn’t know that Rachel had stolen them.
33Laban went into Jacob’s tent, into Leah’s tent, and into the tent of the two female servants; but he didn’t find them. He went out of Leah’s tent, and entered into Rachel’s tent. 34Now Rachel had taken the teraphim, put them in the camel’s saddle, and sat on them. Laban felt around all the tent, but didn’t find them. 35She said to her father, “Don’t let my lord be angry that I can’t rise up before you; for I’m having my period.” He searched, but didn’t find the teraphim.
36Jacob was angry, and argued with Laban. Jacob answered Laban, “What is my trespass? What is my sin, that you have hotly pursued me? 37Now that you have felt around in all my stuff, what have you found of all your household stuff? Set it here before my relatives and your relatives, that they may judge between us two.
38“These twenty years I have been with you. Your ewes and your female goats have not cast their young, and I haven’t eaten the rams of your flocks. 39That which was torn of animals, I didn’t bring to you. I bore its loss. Of my hand you required it, whether stolen by day or stolen by night. 40This was my situation: in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep fled from my eyes. 41These twenty years I have been 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. 42Unless the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely now you would have sent me away empty. God has seen my affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked you last night.”
43Laban answered Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine! What can I do today to these my daughters, or to their children whom they have borne? 44Now come, let’s make a covenant, you and I. Let it be for a witness between me and you.”
45Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar. 46Jacob said to his relatives, “Gather stones.” They took stones, and made a heap. They ate there by the heap. 47Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha,#31:47 “Jegar Sahadutha” means “Witness Heap” in Aramaic. but Jacob called it Galeed.#31:47 “Galeed” means “Witness Heap” in Hebrew. 48Laban said, “This heap is witness between me and you today.” Therefore it was named Galeed 49and Mizpah, for he said, “The Lord watch between me and you, when we are absent one from another. 50If you afflict my daughters, or if you take wives in addition to my daughters, no man is with us; behold, God is witness between me and you.” 51Laban said to Jacob, “See this heap, and see the pillar, which I have set between me and you. 52May this heap be a witness, and the pillar be a witness, that I will not pass over this heap to you, and that you will not pass over this heap and this pillar to me, for harm. 53The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.” Then Jacob swore by the fear of his father, Isaac. 54Jacob offered a sacrifice in the mountain, and called his relatives to eat bread. They ate bread, and stayed all night in the mountain. 55Early in the morning, Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them. Laban departed and returned 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 bless you.”
4Jacob sent for Rachel and Leah to meet him in the field 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 worshipped 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, 13and I am the God you worshipped 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 straight away and return to the land where you were born.”#Gn 28.18-22.
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 fourteen years to get the bride he loved. So there was no money for either of Laban's daughters. that should have been ours. 16Now 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 18for the home of his father Isaac in Canaan. Jacob took all the flocks, herds, and other property that he had got in northern Syria.#31.18 northern Syria: See the note at 24.10.
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 River Euphrates 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 worshipped 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 started for 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 am 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 twenty 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 fourteen of these twenty long years to earn your two daughters and another six 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. worshipped 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 ill-treat 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 beyond them to attack you, and you must never go beyond them to attack me. 53My father Nahor, your grandfather Abraham, and their ancestors all worshipped 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 worshipped. 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.