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Genesis 31

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.
31
1But after that he heard the words of the sons of Laban, saying: Jacob hath taken away all that was our father's, and being enriched by his substance is become great.
2And perceiving also that Laban's countenance was not towards him as yesterday and the other day,
3Especially the Lord saying to him: Return into the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred, and I will be with thee.
4He sent, and called Rachel and Lia, into the field, where he fed the flocks,
5And said to them: I see your father's countenance is not towards me as yesterday and the other day: but the God of my father hath been with me.
6And you know that I have served your father to the utmost of my power.
7Yea, your father also hath over-reached me, and hath changed my wages ten times: and yet God hath not suffered him to hurt me.
8If at any time he said: The speckled shall be thy wages: all the sheep brought forth speckled. But when he said on the contrary: Thou shalt take all the white ones for thy wages: All the flocks brought forth white ones.
9And God hath taken your father's substance, and given it to me.
10For after that time came of the ewes conceiving, I lifted up my eyes, and saw in my sleep that the males which leaped upon the females were of divers colours, and spotted, and speckled.
11And the angel of God said to me in my sleep: Jacob? And I answered: Here I am.
12And he said: Lift up thy eyes, and see that all the males leaping upon the females, are of divers colours, spotted, and speckled. For I have seen all that Laban hath done to thee.
13I am the God of Bethel, where thou didst anoint the stone, and make a vow to me. Now therefore arise, and go out of this land, and return into thy native country.
14And Rachel and Lia answered: Have we any thing left among the goods and inheritance of our father's house?
15Hath he not counted us as strangers and sold us, and eaten up the price of us?
16But God hath taken our father's riches, and delivered them to us, and to our children: wherefore do all that God hath commanded thee.
17Then Jacob rose up, and having set his children and wives upon camels, went his way.
18And he took all his substance, and flocks, and whatsoever he had gotten in Mesopotamia: and went forward to Isaac his father to the land of Chanaan.
19At that time Laban was gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel stole away her father's idols.
20And Jacob would not confess to his father-in-law that he was flying away.
21And when he was gone, together with all that belonged to him, and having passed the river, was going on towards mount Galaad,
22It was told Laban on the third day that Jacob fled.
23And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days; and overtook him in the mount of Galaad.
24And he saw in a dream God saying to him: Take heed thou speak not any thing harshly against Jacob.
25Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mountain: and when he with his brethren had overtaken him, he pitched his tent in the same mount of Galaad.
26And he said to Jacob: Why hast thou done thus, to carry away, without my knowledge, my daughters, as captives taken with the sword?
27Why wouldst thou run away privately and not acquaint me, that I might have brought thee on the way with joy, and with songs, and with timbrels, and with harps?
28Thou hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and daughters: thou hast done foolishly: and now, indeed,
29It is in my power to return thee evil: but the God of your father said to me yesterday: Take heed thou speak not any thing harshly against Jacob.
30Suppose thou didst desire to go to thy friends, and hadst a longing after thy father's house: why hast thou stolen away my gods?
31Jacob answered: That I departed unknown to thee, it was for fear lest thou wouldst take away thy daughters by force.
32But whereas thou chargest me with theft: with whomsoever thou shalt find thy gods, let him be slain before our brethren. Search, and if thou find any of thy things with me, take them away. Now when he said this, he knew not that Rachel had stolen the idols.
33So Laban went into the tent of Jacob, and of Lia, and of both the handmaids, and found them not. And when he was entered into Rachel's tent,
34She in haste hid the idols under the camel's furniture, and sat upon them: and when he had searched all the tent, and found nothing,
35She said: Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise up before thee, because it has now happened to me, according to the custom of women. So his careful search was in vain.
36And Jacob being angry, said in a chiding manner: For what fault of mine, and for what offence on my part hast thou so hotly pursued me,
37And searched all my household stuff? What hast thou found of all the substance of thy house? Lay it here before my brethren, and thy brethren, and let them judge between me and thee.
38Have I therefore been with thee twenty years? Thy ewes and goats were not barren, the rams of thy flocks I did not eat.
39Neither did I shew thee that which the beast had torn. I made good all the damage: whatsoever was lost by theft, thou didst exact it of me.
40Day and night was I parched with heat, and with frost; and sleep departed from my eyes.
41And in this manner have I served thee in thy house twenty years; fourteen for thy daughters, and six for thy flocks: thou hast changed also my wages ten times.
42Unless the God of my father Abraham, and the fear of Isaac had stood by me, peradventure now thou hadst sent me away naked: God beheld my affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesterday.
43Laban answered him: The daughters are mine and the children, and thy flocks, and all things that thou seest are mine: what can I do to my children, and grandchildren?
44Come therefore, let us enter into a league: that it may be for a testimony between me and thee.
45And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a title.
46And he said to his brethren: Bring hither stones. And they gathering stones together, made a heap, and they ate upon it.
47And Laban called it, The witness heap: and Jacob, The hillock of testimony: each of them according to the propriety of his language.
48And Laban said: This heap shall be a witness between me and thee this day; and therefore the name thereof was called Galaad, that is, The witness heap.
49The Lord behold and judge between us when we shall be gone one from the other,
50If thou afflict my daughters, and if thou bring in other wives over them: None is witness of our speech but God, who is present and beholdeth.
51And he said again to Jacob: Behold, this heap, and the stone which I have set up between me and thee,
52Shall be a witness: this heap, I say, and the stone, be they for a testimony, if either I shall pass beyond it going towards thee, or thou shalt pass beyond it, thinking harm to me.
53The God of Abraham, and the God of Nachor, the God of their father, judge between us. And jacob swore by the fear of his father Isaac.
54And after he had offered sacrifices in the mountain, he called his brethren to eat bread. And when they had eaten, they lodged there:
55But Laban arose in the night, and kissed his sons, and daughters, and blessed them: and returned to his place.