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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.
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CHAPTER 31
1After that, Jacob heard the words of the sons of Laban, that said, Jacob hath taken away all things that were our father’s, and of his chattel Jacob is made rich, and noble.
2Also Jacob perceived the face of Laban, that it was not against him as yesterday, and the third day ago,
3mostly for the Lord said to Jacob, Turn again into the land of thy fathers, and to thy generation, and I shall be with thee.
4Jacob sent, and called Rachel and Leah into the field, where he kept [the] flocks,
5and he said to them, I see the face of your father, that it is not against me as yesterday, and the third day ago; but God of my father was with me.
6And ye know that with all my strengths I have served your father;
7but and your father hath deceived me, and changed my meed ten times; and nevertheless God suffered not him to annoy me.
8If he said any time, Diversely-coloured sheep shall be thy meed, all the sheep brought forth diversely-coloured lambs; forsooth when he said, on the contrary, Thou shalt take all the white for thy meed, all the flocks brought forth white beasts;
9and God took away the substance of your father, and gave it to me.
10For after that the time of con-ceiving of sheep came, I raised [up] mine eyes, and saw in sleep males diverse, and spotty, and of diverse colours, going up on females.
11And the angel of the Lord said to me in sleep, Jacob! and I answered, I am ready.
12Which said, Raise [up] thine eyes, and see all [the] males that be diverse, [and] besprinkled, and spotty, going [up] on [the] females; for I have seen all things which Laban hath done to thee;
13I am God of Bethel, where thou anointedest a stone, and madest a vow to me. Now therefore rise thou, and go out of this land, and turn again into the land of thy birth.
14And Rachel and Leah answered, Whether we have anything residue, or left, in the chattels, and heritage of our father?
15Whether he areckoned not, or held, us as aliens, and sold us, and ate our price?
16But God took away the riches of our father, and gave those [or them] to us, and to our sons; wherefore do thou all things which God hath commanded to thee.
17Forsooth Jacob rose, and put his free children and wives on camels, and went forth;
18and he took all his cattle, flocks, and whatever thing he had gotten in Mesopotamia, and went to Isaac, his father, into the land of Canaan.
19In that time Laban went to shear sheep, and Rachel stole the idols of her father.
20And Jacob would not acknowledge to the father of his wives, that he would flee;
21and when he had gone, as well he as all things that were of his right, and when he had passed [over] the water, and he went against the hill of Gilead,
22it was told to Laban, in the third day, that Jacob fled.
23And Laban took his brethren [with him], and pursued him seven days, and [over] took him in the hill of Gilead.
24And Laban saw in sleep the Lord saying to him, Beware that thou speak not anything sharply against Jacob.
25And then Jacob had stretched forth the tabernacle in the hill; and when Laban had pursued Jacob with his brethren, Laban set a tent in the same hill of Gilead;
26and he said to Jacob, Why hast thou done so, that the while I knew not, thou wouldest drive away my daughters as captives, either taken prisoners, by sword?
27Why wouldest thou flee the while I knew not, neither wouldest show to me, that I should pursue [or follow] thee with joy, and songs, and tympans, and harps?
28Thou sufferedest not that I should kiss my sons and daughters; thou hast wrought follily.
29And now soothly mine hand may yield evil to thee, but the God of thy father said to me yesterday, Beware that thou speak not any hard thing with Jacob.
30Suppose, if thou covetedest to go to thy kinsmen, and the house of thy father was in desire to thee, why hast thou stolen my gods?
31Jacob answered, That I went forth while thou knewest not, I dreaded lest thou wouldest take away thy daughters from me violently;
32soothly that thou reprovest me of theft, at whomever thou findest thy gods, be he slain before our brethren; seek thou, whatever thing of thine thou findest at me, and take it away. Jacob said these things, and knew not that Rachel had stolen the idols.
33And so Laban entered into the tabernacles of Jacob, and of Leah, and of ever either menial, and he found not; and when Laban had entered into the tent of Rachel,
34she hasted, and hid the idols under the strewings of the camel, and she sat above.
35And she said to Laban, seeking throughout all the tent, and finding nothing, My lord, be not wroth that I may not rise before thee, for it befelled now to me by the custom of women; so the busyness of the seeker was scorned.
36And Jacob swelled, and said with strife, For what cause of me, and for what sin of me, hast thou come so fiercely after me,
37and hast sought through all the appurtenance of mine house? What hast thou found of all the chattel of thine household? Put thou here before my brethren and thy brethren, and deem they betwixt me and thee.
38Was I not with thee therefore twenty years? Thy sheep and goats were not barren, I ate not the rams of thy flock,
39neither I showed to thee anything taken of a beast; I yielded all [the] harm; whatever thing perished by theft, thou askedest of me;
40I was anguished in day and night with heat and frost, and sleep fled from mine eyes;
41so I served thee by twenty years in thine house, fourteen years for thy daughters, and six years for thy flocks; and thou changedest my meed ten times.
42But if [the] God of my father Abraham, and the dread of Isaac had not helped me, peradventure now thou haddest left me naked; the Lord hath beheld my tormenting and the travail of mine hands, and reproved thee yesterday.
43Laban answered to Jacob, The daughters, and the sons, and the flocks, and all things which thou seest, be mine; what may I do to my sons, and to the sons of my sons?
44Therefore come thou, and make we bond of peace, that it be a witnessing betwixt me and thee.
45And so Jacob took a stone, and raised it into a title, either a sign,
46and said to his brethren, Bring ye stones; which gathered, and made an heap, and ate on it.
47And Laban called it The heap of witness, and Jacob called it The heap of witnessing; ever either called it by the property of his language.
48And Laban said, This heap shall be witness betwixt me and thee today, and therefore the name thereof was called Galeed, that is, The heap of witness.
49And Laban added, The Lord behold, and deem betwixt us, when we shall go away from you;
50if thou shalt torment my daughters, and if thou shalt bring in other wives on them, none is witness of our word, except God, which is present, and beholdeth.
51And again Laban said to Jacob, Lo! this heap, and the stone, or the pillar, which I have raised betwixt me and thee,
52shall be witnesses; soothly this heap, and the stone be into witnessing, forsooth if I shall pass it, and go to thee, either thou shalt pass it, and think to do evil to me.
53God of Abraham, and God of Nahor, [the] God of the father of them, deem betwixt us. Therefore Jacob swore by the dread of his father Isaac;
54and when slain sacrifices were offered in the hill, Jacob called his brethren to eat bread, and when they had eaten, they dwelled there.
55Forsooth Laban rose by night, and kissed his sons, and daughters, and blessed them, and turned again into his place.