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Genesis 31

31
Jacob Leaves Secretly for Canaan
1Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were saying: “Jacob has taken away everything that was our father’s, and from what belonged to our father he has acquired all this wealth and honor.” 2Jacob noticed [a change in] the #Lit face.attitude of Laban, and saw that it was not friendly toward him as before. 3Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your people, and I will be with you.” 4So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to his flock in the field, 5and he said to them, “I see [a change in] your father’s attitude, that he is not friendly toward me as [he was] before; but the God of my father [Isaac] has been with me. 6You know that I have served your father with all my strength. 7Yet your father has cheated me [as often as possible] and changed my wages ten times; but God did not allow him to hurt me. 8If he said, ‘The speckled shall be your wages,’ then the entire flock gave birth to speckled [young]; and if he said, ‘The streaked shall be your wages,’ then the entire flock gave birth to streaked [young]. 9Thus God has taken away the flocks of your father and given them to me. 10And it happened at the time when the flock conceived that I looked up and saw in a dream that the rams which mated [with the female goats] were streaked, speckled, and spotted. 11And the #See note 16:7. Note especially Gen 31:13, where the Angel says, “I am the God of Bethel.”Angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob.’ And I said, ‘Here I am.’ 12He said, ‘Look up and see, all the rams which are mating [with the flock] are streaked, speckled, and spotted; for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. 13I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar, and where you made a vow to Me; now stand up, leave this land, and return to the land of your birth.’ ” 14Rachel and Leah answered him, “Is there still any portion or inheritance for us in our father’s house? 15Are we not counted by him as foreigners? For he sold us [to you in marriage], and has also entirely used up our purchase price. 16Surely all the riches which God has taken from our father are ours and our children’s. Now then, whatever God has told you to do, do it.”
17Then Jacob stood [and took action] and put his children and his wives on camels; 18and he drove away all his livestock and [took along] all his property which he had acquired, the livestock he had obtained and accumulated in Paddan-aram, to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan. 19When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel [went inside the house and] stole her father’s #Possession of these pagan figurines implied or conferred a right of inheritance.household gods. 20And Jacob #Lit stole the heart of.deceived Laban the Aramean (Syrian) by not telling him that he intended to leave and he slipped away secretly. 21So he fled with everything that he had, and got up and crossed the river [Euphrates], and set his face toward the hill country of Gilead [east of the Jordan River].
Laban Pursues Jacob
22On the third day [after his departure] Laban was told that Jacob had fled. 23So he took his relatives with him and pursued him for seven days, and they overtook him in the hill country of Gilead. 24God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and said to him, “Be careful that you do not speak to Jacob, either good or bad.”
25Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent on the hill, and Laban with his relatives camped on the same hill of Gilead. 26Then Laban said to Jacob, “What do you mean by deceiving me and leaving without my knowledge, and carrying off my daughters as if [they were] captives of the sword? 27Why did you run away secretly and deceive me and not tell me, so that [otherwise] I might have sent you away with joy and with songs, with [music on the] tambourine and lyre? 28And why did you not allow me to kiss my #Lit sons.grandchildren and my daughters [goodbye]? Now you have done a foolish thing [in behaving like this]. 29It is in my power to harm you, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Be careful not to speak to Jacob, either good or bad.’ 30Now [I suppose] you felt you must go because you #Lit longed greatly.were homesick for your father’s house and family; but why did you steal my [household] #Laban was upset because possession of the father’s household gods played an important role in inheritance. In the region where Laban lived, a son-in-law who possessed the family gods could appear before a judge and make a claim to the estate of his father-in-law. Since Jacob’s possession of the household gods implied the right to inherit Laban’s wealth, one can understand why he followed Jacob to recover the idols.gods?” 31Jacob answered Laban, “[I left secretly] because I was afraid, for I thought you would take your daughters away from me by force. 32The one with whom you find your gods shall not live; in the presence of our relatives [search my possessions and] point out whatever you find that belongs to you and take it.” For Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the idols.
33So Laban went into Jacob’s tent and into Leah’s tent and the tent of the two maids, but he did not find them. Then he came out of Leah’s tent and entered Rachel’s tent. 34Now Rachel had taken the household idols and put them in the camel’s saddlebag and sat on them. Laban searched through all her tent, but did not find them. 35So Rachel said to her father, “Do not be displeased, my lord, that I cannot rise before you, for the manner of women is on me and I am unwell.” He searched [further] but did not find the household idols.
36Then Jacob became angry and argued with Laban. And he said to Laban, “What is my fault? What is my sin that you pursued me like this? 37Although you have searched through all my possessions, what have you found of your household goods? Put it here before my relatives and your relatives, so that they may decide [who has done right] between the two of us. 38These twenty years I have been with you; your ewes and your female goats have not lost their young, nor have I eaten the rams of your flocks. 39I did not bring you the torn carcasses [of the animals attacked by predators]; I [personally] took the loss. You required of me [to make good] everything that was stolen, whether it occurred by day or night. 40This was my situation: by day the heat consumed me and by night the cold, and #Lit sleep fled from my eyes.I could not sleep. 41These twenty years I have been in your house; I served you fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for [my share of] your flocks, and you have #I.e. cheated me as often as possible.changed my wages ten times. 42If the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and [the Feared One] of Isaac, had not been with me, most certainly you would have sent me away now empty-handed. God has seen my affliction and humiliation and the [exhausting] labor of my hands, so He rendered judgment and rebuked you last night.”
The Covenant of Mizpah
43Laban answered Jacob, “These #Lit daughters.women [that you married] are my daughters, these children are my #Lit children.grandchildren, these flocks are [from] my flocks, and all that you see [here] is mine. But what can I do today to these my daughters or to their children to whom they have given birth? 44So come now, let us make a covenant, you and I, and let it serve as a witness between you and me.” 45So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a [memorial] pillar. 46Jacob said to his relatives, “Gather stones.” And they took stones and made a mound [of stones], and they ate [a ceremonial meal together] there on the mound [of stones]. 47Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha (stone monument of testimony in #The language of Laban, who was an Aramean (v 20). The two names chosen by Laban and Jacob were equivalent.Aramaic), but Jacob called it #Heb heap of witness.Galeed. 48Laban said, “This mound [of stones] is a witness [a reminder of the oath taken] today between you and me.” Therefore he [also] called the name Galeed, 49and Mizpah (#The stone mound evidently was tall enough to be considered a place from which one could see at a distance. The thought behind it was that the Lord would watch them when they could not watch each other, and He would see and deal with any mistreatment committed by either of them (see v 50).watchtower), for Laban said, “May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent from one another. 50If you should mistreat (humiliate, oppress) my daughters, or if you should take other wives besides my daughters, although no one is with us [as a witness], see and remember, God is witness between you and me.” 51Laban said to Jacob, “Look at this mound [of stones] and look at this pillar which I have set up between you and me. 52This mound is a witness, and this pillar is a witness, that I will not pass by this mound to harm you, and that you will not pass by this mound and this pillar to harm me. 53The God of Abraham [your father] and the God of Nahor [my father], and the #Here “god” is put in lowercase because Joshua later declared that Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor, was an idolater, serving “other gods” (Josh 24:2). The wording of the Hebrew here indicates that Laban equated the God of Abraham and Nahor with the god of Terah. Whether Laban actually made no distinction in his mind between the true God and false gods, or simply committed an oversight, is not clear. Jacob evidently recognized the ambiguity in Laban’s statement as well, so to avoid any possibility of swearing allegiance to a false god, he swore his own oath by the God of Isaac.god [the image of worship] of their father [Terah, an idolater], judge between us.” But Jacob swore [only] by [the one true God] the Fear of his father Isaac. 54Then Jacob offered a sacrifice [to the Lord] on the mountain, and called his relatives to the meal; and they ate food and spent the night on the mountain. 55Early in the morning Laban got up and kissed his #Lit sons.grandchildren and his daughters [goodbye] and pronounced a blessing [asking God’s favor] on them. Then Laban left and returned home.
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.