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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
1And he heard the words of Laḇan’s sons, saying, “Ya‛aqoḇ has taken away all that was our father’s, and from what belonged to our father he has made all this wealth.”
2And Ya‛aqoḇ would look at the face of Laḇan and see that it was not toward him as before.
3And יהוה said to Ya‛aqoḇ, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your relatives. And I am with you.”
4And Ya‛aqoḇ sent and called Raḥĕl and Lĕ’ah to the field, to his flock,
5and said to them, “I see your father’s face, that it is not toward me as before, but the Elohim of my father has been with me.
6“And you know that I have served your father with all my strength.
7“Yet your father has deceived me and changed my wages ten times, but Elohim did not allow him to do evil to me.
8“When he said this, ‘The speckled are your wages,’ then all the flocks bore speckled. And when he said this, ‘The streaked are your wages,’ then all the flocks bore streaked.
9“So Elohim has taken away the livestock of your father and given them to me.
10“And it came to be, at the time when the flocks conceived, that I lifted my eyes and looked in a dream and saw the rams which leaped upon the flocks were streaked, speckled, and mottled.
11And the Messenger of Elohim spoke to me in a dream, saying, ‘Ya‛aqoḇ.’ And I said, ‘Here I am.’ ”
12“And He said, ‘Lift your eyes now and see, all the rams which leap on the flocks are streaked, speckled, and mottled, for I have seen all that Laḇan is doing to you.
13I am the Ěl of Bĕyth Ěl, where you anointed the standing column and where you made a vow to Me. Now rise up, get out of this land, and return to the land of your relatives.’ ”
14And Raḥĕl and Lĕ’ah answered and said to him, “Do we still have any portion or inheritance in our father’s house?
15“Are we not reckoned by him as strangers? For he has sold us, and also entirely consumed our silver.
16“For all the wealth which Elohim has taken from our father is ours and our children’s. Now then, do whatever Elohim has told you.”
17So Ya‛aqoḇ rose and put his sons and his wives on camels,
18and he drove off all his livestock and all his possessions which he had acquired, his property of the livestock which he had acquired in Paddan Aram, to go to his father Yitsḥaq in the land of Kena‛an.
19And when Laḇan had gone to shear his sheep, Raḥĕl stole the house idols that were her father’s.
20And Ya‛aqoḇ deceived Laḇan the Aramean, because he did not inform him that he was about to flee.
21And he fled with all that he had. And he rose up and passed over the river, and headed toward the mountains of Gil‛aḏ.
22And on the third day Laḇan was told that Ya‛aqoḇ had fled.
23Then he took his brothers with him and pursued him for seven days’ journey, and he overtook him in the mountains of Gil‛aḏ.
24But in a dream by night Elohim came to Laḇan the Aramean, and said to him, “Guard yourself, that you do not speak to Ya‛aqoḇ either good or evil.”
25Then Laḇan overtook Ya‛aqoḇ. Now Ya‛aqoḇ had pitched his tent in the mountains, and Laḇan with his brothers pitched in the mountains of Gil‛aḏ.
26And Laḇan said to Ya‛aqoḇ, “What have you done, that you have deceived me, and driven my daughters off like captives taken with the sword?
27“Why did you flee secretly and deceive me, and not inform me, and I would have sent you away with joy and songs, with tambourine and lyre?
28And you did not allow me to kiss my sons and my daughters. Now you have been foolish to do this.
29“It is in the power of my hand to do evil to you, but the Elohim of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Guard yourself, that you do not speak to Ya‛aqoḇ either good or evil.’
30“And now you have gone because you greatly long for your father’s house, but why did you steal my mighty ones?”
31And Ya‛aqoḇ answered and said to Laḇan, “Because I was afraid, for I said, ‘Lest you tear your daughters away from me.’
32With whomever you find your mighty ones, do not let him live. In the presence of our brothers, see for yourself what is with me and take it with you. For Ya‛aqoḇ did not know that Raḥĕl had stolen them.
33And Laḇan went into Ya‛aqoḇ’s tent, and into Lĕ’ah’s tent, and into the tents of the two female servants, but he did not find them. And he came out of Lĕ’ah’s tent and entered Raḥĕl’s tent.
34Now Raḥĕl had taken the house idols and put them in the camel’s saddle, and sat on them. And Laḇan searched all about the tent but did not find them.
35And she said to her father, “Let it not displease my master that I am unable to rise before you, for the way of women is with me.” And he searched but did not find the house idols.
36And Ya‛aqoḇ was wroth and contended with Laḇan, and Ya‛aqoḇ answered and said to Laḇan, “What is my transgression? What is my sin, that you have hotly pursued me?
37“Now that you have searched all my goods what have you found of all your household goods? Set it here before my brothers and your brothers, and let them decide between the two of us!
38“These twenty years I have been with you. Your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried their young, and I have not eaten the rams of your sheep.
39“That which was torn by beasts I did not bring to you, I myself bore the loss of it. You required it from my hand, whether stolen by day or stolen by night.
40"Thus I was! By day the heat consumed me, and the frost by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes.
41“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 have changed my wages ten times.
42“Unless the Elohim of my father, the Elohim of Aḇraham and the Fear of Yitsḥaq, had been with me, you would now have sent me away empty-handed. Elohim has seen my affliction and the labour of my hands, and rendered judgment last night.”
43And Laḇan answered and said to Ya‛aqoḇ, “These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and this flock is my flock, and all that you see is mine. But what shall I do today to these, my daughters or to their children whom they have borne?
44And now, come, let us make a covenant, you and I, and it shall be a witness between you and me.
45So Ya‛aqoḇ took a stone and set it up as a standing column.
46And Ya‛aqoḇ said to his brothers, “Gather stones.” And they took stones and made a heap, and they ate there on the heap.
47And Laḇan called it Yeḡar Sahaḏutha, but Ya‛aqoḇ called it Gal‛ĕḏ.
48And Laḇan said, “This heap is a witness between you and me today.” That is why its name was called Gal‛ĕḏ,
49also Mitspah, because he said, “Let יהוה watch between you and me when we are out of each other’s sight.
50If you afflict my daughters, or if you take other wives besides my daughters, although no man is with us; see, Elohim is witness between you and me!
51And Laḇan said to Ya‛aqoḇ, “See this heap and see this standing column, which I have placed between you and me.
52“This heap is a witness, and this standing column is a witness, that I do not pass beyond this heap to you, and you do not pass beyond this heap and this standing column to me, for evil.
53“The Elohim of Aḇraham, the Elohim of Naḥor, and the Elohim of their father rightly rule between us!” And Ya‛aqoḇ swore by the Fear of his father Yitsḥaq.
54And Ya‛aqoḇ slaughtered a slaughtering on the mountain, and called his brothers to eat bread. And they ate bread and spent the night on the mountain.
55And Laḇan rose up early in the morning, and kissed his sons and daughters and blessed them. And Laḇan left and returned to his place.