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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
Jacob Leaves Secretly for Canaan
1Now #Lit heJacob heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, “Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s, and from what belonged to our father he has made all this #Lit glorywealth.” 2And Jacob saw the #Lit faceattitude of Laban, and behold, it was not friendly toward him as it had been before. 3Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.” 4So Jacob sent word and called Rachel and Leah to his flock in the field, 5and said to them, “I see your father’s #Lit faceattitude, that it is not friendly toward me as it was before, but the God of my father has been with me. 6You know that I have served your father with all my strength. 7Yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times; however, God did not allow him to do me harm. 8If he said this: ‘The speckled shall be your wages,’ then all the flock delivered speckled; and if he said this: ‘The striped shall be your wages,’ then all the flock delivered striped. 9So God has taken away your father’s livestock and given them to me. 10And it came about at the time when the flock was breeding that I raised my eyes and saw in a dream—and behold—the male goats that were #Lit leaping upon the flockmating were striped, speckled, or mottled. 11Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob’; and I said, ‘Here I am.’ 12He said, ‘Now raise your eyes and see that all the male goats that are #Lit leaping upon the flockmating are striped, speckled, or mottled; for I have seen everything that Laban has been doing to you. 13I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a memorial stone, where you made a vow to Me; now arise, #Lit Go out fromleave this land, and return to the land of your birth.’ ” 14Rachel and Leah said to him, “Do we still have any share or inheritance in our father’s house? 15Are we not regarded by him as foreigners? For he has sold us, and has also #I.e., enjoyed the benefit ofentirely consumed our #Lit moneypurchase price. 16Surely all the wealth which God has taken away from our father belongs to us and our children; now then, do whatever God has told you.”
17Then Jacob stood up and put his children and his wives on camels; 18and he drove away all his livestock and all his property which he had acquired, the livestock he possessed which he had acquired in Paddan-aram, to go to the land of Canaan to his father Isaac. 19Laban had gone to shear his flock, and Rachel stole the #Heb teraphimhousehold idols that were her father’s. 20And Jacob #Lit stole the heart ofdeceived Laban the Aramean by not telling him that he was fleeing. 21So he fled with all that he had; and he got up and crossed the Euphrates River, and set #Lit his faceout for the hill country of Gilead.
Laban Pursues Jacob
22When Laban was informed on the third day that Jacob had fled, 23he took his kinsmen with him and pursued him a distance of seven days’ journey, and he overtook him in the hill country of Gilead. 24However, God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream of the night and said to him, “#Lit Take heed to yourselfBe careful that you do not speak to Jacob either good or bad.”
25And Laban caught up with Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country, and Laban with his kinsmen camped in the hill country of Gilead. 26Then Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done #Lit and you have stolen my heartby deceiving me and carrying away my daughters like captives of the sword? 27Why did you flee secretly and #Lit steal medeceive me, and did not tell me, so that I might have sent you away with joy and with songs, with tambourine and with lyre; 28and did not allow me to kiss my #Lit sonsgrandchildren and my daughters? Now you have done foolishly. 29It is in #Lit the power of my handmy power to do you harm, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘#Lit Take heed to yourselfBe careful not to speak either good or bad to Jacob.’ 30Now you have indeed gone away because you longed greatly for your father’s house; but why did you steal my gods?” 31Then Jacob replied to Laban, “Because I was afraid, for I thought that you would take your daughters from me by force. 32The one with whom you find your gods shall not live; in the presence of our relatives #Lit recognizepoint out what is yours #Lit with meamong my belongings and take it for yourself.” Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them.
33So Laban went into Jacob’s tent, and into Leah’s tent, and into the tent of the two slave women, but he did not find them. Then he went out of Leah’s tent and entered Rachel’s tent. 34Now Rachel had taken the #Heb teraphimhousehold idols and put them in the camel’s saddlebag, and she sat on them. So Laban searched through all the tent, but did not find them. 35And she said to her father, “May my lord not be angry that I cannot stand in your presence, because the #I.e., menstruationway of women is upon me.” So he searched but did not find the #Heb teraphimhousehold idols.
36Then Jacob became angry and argued with Laban; and Jacob said to Laban, “What is my offense? What is my sin that you have hotly pursued me? 37Though you have searched through all my property, what have you found of all your household property? Set it here in front of my relatives and your relatives, so that they may decide between the two of us. 38For these twenty years I have been with you; your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten the rams of your flocks. 39I did not even bring to you that which was torn by wild animals; I took the loss myself. You demanded it of my hand whether stolen by day or stolen by night. 40This is how I was: by day the #Or droughtheat consumed me and the frost by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes. 41For these 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 changed my wages ten times. 42If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the fear of Isaac, had not been for me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God has seen my affliction and the labor of my hands, so He rendered judgment last night.”
The Covenant of Mizpah
43Then Laban replied to Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters, the #Lit sonschildren are my #Lit sonsgrandchildren, the flocks are my flocks, and everything that you see is mine. But what can I do this day to these daughters of mine or to their children to whom they have given birth? 44So now come, let’s make a covenant, #Lit I and youyou and I, and it shall be a witness between #Lit me and youyou and me.” 45Then Jacob took a stone and set it up as a memorial stone. 46Jacob said to his relatives, “Gather stones.” So they took stones and made a heap, and they ate there by the heap. 47Now Laban called it #I.e., the heap of witness, in AramJegar-sahadutha, but Jacob called it #I.e., the heap of witness, in HebGaleed. 48Laban said, “This heap is a witness between #Lit me and youyou and me this day.” Therefore it was named Galeed, 49and #Lit the Mizpah; i.e., the watchtowerMizpah, for he said, “May the Lord keep watch between #Lit me and youyou and me when we are #Lit hiddenabsent one from the other. 50If you mistreat my daughters, or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no one is with us, see, God is witness between #Lit me and youyou and me.” 51Laban also said to Jacob, “Behold this heap and behold the memorial stone which I have set between #Lit me and youyou and me. 52This heap is a witness, and the memorial stone is a witness, that I will not pass by this heap to you for harm, and you will not pass by this heap and this memorial stone to me, for harm. 53The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.” So Jacob swore by the fear of his father Isaac. 54Then Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain, and called his relatives to #Lit eat breadthe meal; and they ate #Lit breadthe meal and spent the night on the mountain. 55#Ch 32:1 in HebThen early in the morning Laban got up, and kissed his #Lit sonsgrandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then Laban departed and returned to his place.