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Bereshis 31

31
1And he heard the divrei Bnei Lavan, saying, Ya'akov hath taken away all that belonged to avinu; and of that which belonged to avinu hath he gotten all this kavod. 2And Ya'akov beheld the countenance of Lavan, and, hinei, it was not toward him as before. 3And Hashem said unto Ya'akov, Shuv el Eretz Avoteicha! And to thy moledet; and I will be with thee. 4And Ya'akov sent and called Rachel and Leah to the sadeh unto his tzon, 5And said unto them, I see penei avichen, that it is not toward me as before; but Elohei Avi is with me. 6And ye know that with all my koach I have served avichen. 7And avichen hath deceived me, and changed my sachar aseret monim but Elohim allowed him not to harm me. 8If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy sachar; then all the tzon bore speckled; and if he said thus, The streaked shall be thy sachar; then bore all the tzon streaked. 9Thus Elohim hath taken away the mikneh of your av, and given them to me. 10And it came to pass at the time that the tzon breed, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a chalom, and, hinei, the male goats mounting the tzon were streaked, speckled, and spotted. 11And the Malach HaElohim spoke unto me in a chalom saying, Ya'akov: And I said, Hineni. 12And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the male goats leaping upon the tzon are streaked, speckled, and spotted; for I have seen all that Lavan doeth unto thee. 13I am HaEl Beit-El, where thou anointedst a matzevah (pillar), and where thou vowedst a neder (vow) unto Me: now arise, get thee out from HaAretz Hazot, and return unto thy eretz moledet. 14And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any chelek or nachalah for us in bais avinu? 15Are we not regarded by him nokhriyyot (foreigners, strangers)? For he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our kesef. 16For all the oisher Elohim hath taken from avinu, that belongs to us and baneinu; so then, whatsoever Elohim hath said unto thee, do. 17Then Ya'akov rose up, and set his banim and his nashim upon the gemalim; 18And he drove all his mikneh, and all his goods which he had gotten, the mikneh of his getting, which he had gotten in Padan Aram, for to go to Yitzchak aviv in Eretz Kena'an. 19And Lavan went to shear his tzon; and Rachel had stolen the terafim that belong to her av. 20Unawares to Lavan HaArami, Ya'akov stole away, in that he told him not that he was fleeing. 21So he fled with all that he had; and he rose up, and passed over the Nahar [i.e. the Euphrates], and set his face toward Har Gil'ad. 22And it was told Lavan on Yom HaShlishi that Ya'akov was fled. 23And he took his achim with him, and pursued after him derech shivat yamim; and they overtook him at Har Gil`ad. 24And Elohim came to Lavan HaArami in a chalom halailah, and said unto him, Take heed that thou speak not to Ya'akov either tov or rah. 25Then Lavan overtook Ya'akov. Now Ya'akov had pitched his ohel on the har; and Lavan with his achim encamped in Har Gil`ad. 26And Lavan said to Ya'akov, What hast thou done, that thou hast stolen away unawares to me, and carried away my banot, like shevuyot (captives) taken with the cherev? 27Why didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with simchah, and with shirim (songs), with tof (timbrel, tambourine) and with kinnor (harp)? 28And hast not allowed me to kiss my banim (grandchildren) and my banot? Thou hast now done foolishly in so doing. 29It is in the power of my yad to do you rah; but Elohei Avichem spoke unto me emesh (last night), saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Ya'akov either tov or rah. 30And now, though thou had to go, because thou greatly longedst after bais avicha, yet why hast thou stolen elohai? 31And Ya'akov answered and said to Lavan, Because I was afraid; for I said, Thou wouldest take by force thy banot from me. 32With whomsoever thou findest eloheicha, let him not live; before acheinu discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Ya'akov knew not that Rachel had played the ganav with them. 33And Lavan went into the ohel Ya'akov, and into the ohel Leah and into the ohel shtei ha'amahot; but he found them not. Then went he out of the ohel Leah, and entered into the ohel Rachel. 34Now Rachel had taken the terafim, and put them in the saddle of the gamal, and sat upon them. And Lavan searched all the ohel, but found them not. 35And she said to her av, Let it not displease adoni that I cannot rise up in thy presence; for the derech nashim is upon me. And he searched but found not the terafim. 36And Ya'akov was in wrath, and upbraided Lavan: and Ya'akov answered and said to Lavan, What is my peysha? What is my chattat, that thou hast so hotly pursued after me? 37Whereas thou hast searched through all that I own, what hast thou found of all thy kelei bais? Set it here before my achim and thy achim, that they may judge between us both. 38These esrim shanah have I been with thee; recheleicha (thy ewes) and thy female goats have not miscarried, and the rams of thy tzon have I not eaten. 39That which was terefah (torn of beasts) I brought not unto thee; I bore the loss of it; of my yad didst thou require it, whether stolen by yom, or stolen by lailah. 40Thus I was; in the yom the chorev (heat) consumed me, and the kerach (cold) by lailah; and my sheynah (sleep) departed from mine eyes. 41Thus have I been esrim shanah in thy bais; I served thee arba-esreh shanah for thy two banot, and shesh shanim for thy tzon: and thou hast changed my sachar aseret monim. 42Except Elohei Avi, Elohei Avraham, and the Pachad of Yitzchak had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty handed. Elohim hath seen mine oni and the toil of my palms, and rebuked thee emesh (last night). 43And Lavan answered and said unto Ya'akov, These banot are my banot, and these banim are my banim, and this tzon is my tzon, and all that thou seest is mine; yet what can I do today about these my banot, or about their banim which they have born? 44Now therefore come thou, let us cut a brit, I and thou; and let it be for an ed between me and thee. 45And Ya'akov took an even, and set it up for a matzevah (pillar). 46And Ya'akov said unto his achim, Gather avanim; and they took avanim, and made a gal (heap, mound); and they did eat there upon the gal. 47And Lavan called it Yegar Sahaduta; but Ya'akov called it Gale'ed ("Heap of Witness"). 48And Lavan said, This gal (heap, mound) is an ed (witness) between me and thee this day. Therefore was shmo called Gale'ed; 49And Mitzpah (Watch); for he said, Hashem watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another. 50If thou shalt afflict my banot, or if thou shalt take nashim besides my banot, no man is with us; see, Elohim ed beini uveinecha (Elohim is witness between me and you). 51And Lavan said to Ya'akov, Hinei this gal (heap, mound), and hinei the matzevah (pillar), which I have cast between me and thee; 52This gal (heap, mound) be ed (witness), and this matzevah (pillar) be edah (witness), that for ra'ah I will not pass over this gal to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this gal and this matzevah unto me. 53The Elohei Avraham, and Elohei Nachor, Elohei Avihem judge between us. And Ya'akov swore by the Pachad Aviv Yitzchak. 54Then Ya'akov offered zavach upon the har, and called his achim to eat lechem; and they did eat lechem, and tarried all night on the har. 55And early in the boker (morning) Lavan rose up, and kissed his banim and his banot, and made on them a berakhah; and Lavan departed, and returned unto his makom.
31
Flight from Laban. 1#Jacob flees with his family from Laban. The strife that has always accompanied Jacob continues as Laban’s sons complain, “he has taken everything that belonged to our father”; the brothers’ complaint echoes Esau’s in 27:36. Rachel and Leah overcome their mutual hostility and are able to leave together, a harbinger of the reconciliation with Esau in chap. 33. Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were saying, “Jacob has taken everything that belonged to our father, and he has produced all this wealth from our father’s property.” 2Jacob perceived, too, that Laban’s attitude toward him was not what it had previously been. 3Then the Lord said to Jacob: Return to the land of your ancestors, where you were born, and I will be with you.#Gn 26:3; 28:15; 32:10.
4So Jacob sent for Rachel and Leah to meet him in the field where his flock was. 5There he said to them: “I have noticed that your father’s attitude toward me is not as it was in the past; but the God of my father has been with me. 6You know well that with all my strength I served your father; 7yet your father cheated me and changed my wages ten times. God, however, did not let him do me any harm.#Jdt 8:26. 8Whenever your father said, ‘The speckled animals will be your wages,’ the entire flock would bear speckled young; whenever he said, ‘The streaked animals will be your wages,’ the entire flock would bear streaked young. 9So God took away your father’s livestock and gave it to me. 10Once, during the flock’s mating season, I had a dream in which I saw he-goats mating that were streaked, speckled and mottled. 11In the dream God’s angel said to me, ‘Jacob!’ and I replied, ‘Here I am!’ 12Then he said: ‘Look up and see. All the he-goats that are mating are streaked, speckled and mottled, for I have seen all the things that Laban has been doing to you. 13I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a sacred pillar and made a vow to me. Get up now! Leave this land and return to the land of your birth.’”#Gn 28:18.
14Rachel and Leah answered him: “Do we still have an heir’s portion in our father’s house? 15Are we not regarded by him as outsiders?#Outsiders: lit., “foreign women”; they lacked the favored legal status of native women. Used up: lit., “eaten, consumed”; the bridal price that a man received for giving his daughter in marriage was legally reserved as her inalienable dowry. Perhaps this is the reason that Rachel took the household images belonging to Laban. He not only sold us; he has even used up the money that he got for us! 16All the wealth that God took away from our father really belongs to us and our children. So do whatever God has told you.”#Wis 10:10–11. 17Jacob proceeded to put his children and wives on camels, 18and he drove off all his livestock and all the property he had acquired in Paddan-aram, to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.
19Now Laban was away shearing his sheep, and Rachel had stolen her father’s household images.#Household images: in Hebrew, teraphim, figurines used in divination (Ez 21:26; Zec 10:2). Laban calls them his “gods” (v. 30). The traditional translation “idols” is avoided because it suggests false gods, whereas Genesis seems to accept the fact that the ancestors did not always live according to later biblical religious standards and laws. #Gn 31:34; 1 Sm 19:13. 20Jacob had hoodwinked#Hoodwinked: lit., “stolen the heart of,” i.e., lulled the mind of. Aramean: the earliest extra-biblical references to the Arameans date later than the time of Jacob, if Jacob is dated to the mid-second millennium; to call Laban an Aramean and to have him speak Aramaic (Jegar-sahadutha, v. 47) is an apparent anachronism. The word may have been chosen to underscore the growing estrangement between the two men and the fact that their descendants will be two different peoples. Laban the Aramean by not telling him that he was going to flee. 21Thus he fled with all that he had. Once he was across the Euphrates, he headed for the hill country of Gilead.
22On the third day, word came to Laban that Jacob had fled. 23Taking his kinsmen with him, he pursued him for seven days#For seven days: lit., “a way of seven days,” a general term to designate a long distance; it would actually have taken a camel caravan many more days to travel from Haran to Gilead, the region east of the northern half of the Jordan. The mention of camels in this passage is apparently anachronistic since camels were not domesticated until the late second millennium. until he caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead. 24But that night God appeared to Laban the Aramean in a dream and said to him: Take care not to say anything to Jacob.#Wis 10:12.
Jacob and Laban in Gilead. 25When Laban overtook Jacob, Jacob’s tents were pitched in the hill country; Laban also pitched his tents in the hill country of Gilead. 26Laban said to Jacob, “How could you hoodwink me and carry off my daughters like prisoners of war?#Prisoners of war: lit., “women captured by the sword”; the women of a conquered people were treated as part of the victor’s spoil; cf. 1 Sm 30:2; 2 Kgs 5:2. 27Why did you dupe me by stealing away secretly? You did not tell me! I would have sent you off with joyful singing to the sound of tambourines and harps. 28You did not even allow me a parting kiss to my daughters and grandchildren! Now what you have done makes no sense. 29I have it in my power to harm all of you; but last night the God of your father said to me, ‘Take care not to say anything to Jacob!’ 30Granted that you had to leave because you were longing for your father’s house, why did you steal my gods?” 31Jacob replied to Laban, “I was frightened at the thought that you might take your daughters away from me by force. 32As for your gods, the one you find them with shall not remain alive! If, with our kinsmen looking on, you identify anything here as belonging to you, take it.” Jacob had no idea that Rachel had stolen the household images.
33Laban then went in and searched Jacob’s tent and Leah’s tent, as well as the tents of the two maidservants; but he did not find them. Leaving Leah’s tent, he went into Rachel’s. 34#As in chap. 27, a younger child (Rachel) deceives her father to gain what belongs to him. Meanwhile Rachel had taken the household images, put them inside the camel’s saddlebag, and seated herself upon them. When Laban had rummaged through her whole tent without finding them,#Gn 31:19. 35she said to her father, “Do not let my lord be angry that I cannot rise in your presence; I am having my period.” So, despite his search, he did not find the household images.
36Jacob, now angered, confronted Laban and demanded, “What crime or offense have I committed that you should hound me? 37Now that you have rummaged through all my things, what have you found from your household belongings? Produce it here before your kinsmen and mine, and let them decide between the two of us.
38“In the twenty years that I was under you, no ewe or she-goat of yours ever miscarried, and I have never eaten rams of your flock. 39#Ex 22:12. I never brought you an animal torn by wild beasts; I made good the loss myself. You held me responsible for anything stolen by day or night.#Jacob’s actions are more generous than the customs suggested in the Code of Hammurabi: “If in a sheepfold an act of god has occurred, or a lion has made a kill, the shepherd shall clear himself before the deity, and the owner of the fold must accept the loss” (par. 266); cf. Ex 22:12. 40Often the scorching heat devoured me by day, and the frost by night, while sleep fled from my eyes! 41Of the twenty years that I have now spent in your household, I served you fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flock, while you changed my wages ten times. 42If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been on my side, you would now have sent me away empty-handed. But God saw my plight and the fruits of my toil, and last night he reproached you.”#Gn 31:24, 29.
43#In this account of the non-aggression treaty between Laban and Jacob, the different objects that serve as witness (sacred pillar in v. 45, cairn of stones in v. 46), their different names (Jegar-sahadutha in v. 47, Mizpah in v. 49), and the two references to the covenant meal (vv. 46, 54) suggest that two versions have been fused. One version is the Yahwist source, and another source has been used to supplement it. Laban replied to Jacob: “The daughters are mine, their children are mine, and the flocks are mine; everything you see belongs to me. What can I do now for my own daughters and for the children they have borne? 44#The treaty is a typical covenant between two parties: Jacob was bound to treat his wives (Laban’s daughters) well, and Laban was bound not to cross Jacob’s boundaries with hostile intent. Come, now, let us make a covenant, you and I; and it will be a treaty between you and me.”
45Then Jacob took a stone and set it up as a sacred pillar.#Gn 28:18; 35:14. 46Jacob said to his kinsmen, “Gather stones.” So they got stones and made a mound; and they ate there at the mound. 47Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha,#Jegar-sahadutha: an Aramaic term meaning “mound of witness.” Galeed: in Hebrew, “the mound of witness.” but Jacob called it Galeed. 48Laban said, “This mound will be a witness from now on between you and me.” That is why it was named Galeed— 49and also Mizpah,#Mizpah: a town in Gilead; cf. Jgs 10:17; 11:11, 34; Hos 5:1. The Hebrew name mispa (“lookout”) is allied to yisep yhwh (“may the Lord keep watch”), and also echoes the word masseba (“sacred pillar”). for he said: “May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are out of each other’s sight. 50If you mistreat my daughters, or take other wives besides my daughters, know that even though no one else is there, God will be a witness between you and me.”
51Laban said further to Jacob: “Here is this mound, and here is the sacred pillar that I have set up between you and me. 52This mound will be a witness, and this sacred pillar will be a witness, that, with hostile intent, I may not pass beyond this mound into your territory, nor may you pass beyond it into mine. 53May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us!” Jacob took the oath by the Fear of his father Isaac.#Fear of…Isaac: an archaic title for Jacob’s God of the Father. 54He then offered a sacrifice on the mountain and invited his kinsmen to share in the meal. When they had eaten, they passed the night on the mountain.