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Genesis 31

31
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.
31
1Jacob found out that Laban's sons were saying, “Jacob has taken everything that belonged to our father. All the wealth he has actually came from our father.” 2Jacob also noticed that Laban was treating him differently to the way he had before.
3The Lord told Jacob, “Go back to the country of your forefathers, to your family home. I will be with you.”
4Jacob sent for Rachel and Leah, telling them to come and meet him out in the fields where he was with his flock. 5“I've noticed that your father is treating me differently to the way he did before,” he told them. “But the God of my father will be with me. 6You both know very well how hard I worked for your father. 7But he's been cheating me—he's reduced my wages ten times! However, God hasn't let him hurt me. 8If he said, ‘You can have the speckled ones as your wages,’ then the whole flock had speckled young. If he said, ‘You can have the streaked ones as your wages,’ then the whole flock had streaked young. 9This is how God took your father's livestock and gave them to me. 10During the time the flock was breeding I had a dream where I saw that the male goats mating with the flock were all streaked, speckled, or spotted. 11Then in the dream the angel of the Lord spoke to me and said, ‘Jacob!’ I replied, ‘I'm here.’
12He told me, ‘Take a look and you'll see that all the male goats mating with the flock are streaked, speckled or spotted, for I've been watching everything that Laban has been doing to you. 13I am the God of Bethel, where you poured olive oil on the stone pillar and made a solemn promise to me. Now get ready to leave this land and go back to your homeland.’”
14“There's nothing for us to inherit from our father's estate anyway,” Rachel and Leah replied. 15“He treats us like foreigners because he sold us to you, and now he's spent all that money. 16All the wealth that God has taken from him belongs to us and our children, so do whatever God has told you to do!”
17So Jacob got ready. He helped his children and his wives onto the camels, 18and drove all his livestock in front of him. He took with him all his possessions and livestock he'd gained during his time in Paddan-aram, and left to go back to his father in the country of Canaan.
19While Laban was away from home shearing his sheep, Rachel stole the household idols#31:19. “Household idols”: small figurines considered important and “lucky,” representative of pagan gods and consulted for making decisions. Often they were female figures, and associated with fertility. They also seem to be significant in determining issues of ownership of property and land, which is perhaps another reason why Rachel took them and why Laban was so keen to have them returned. that belonged to her father. 20Jacob also deceived Laban the Aramean by not informing him that he was going to run away. 21So Jacob left in a hurry with everything he had, crossed the Euphrates River, and headed towards the hill country of Gilead.
22Three days later Laban found out that Jacob had run away. 23Taking some of his relatives with him, he chased after Jacob and caught up with him seven days later in the hill country of Gilead. 24But during the night God came to Laban in a dream and told him, “Watch what you say to Jacob. Don't try to persuade him to come back, and don't threaten him either.”#31:24. “Don't try to get him to come back, and don't threaten him either”: literally, “from good to bad.” This idiomatic expression covered the range of possible approaches Laban might have been tempted to take, from trying to induce Jacob to return by offering some reward, to threatening him with force or some kind of penalty.
25Jacob had set up his tents in the hill country of Gilead when Laban caught up with him, so Laban and his relatives did the same. 26“Why did you deceive me like this?” Laban asked Jacob. “You carried off my daughters as if they were some prisoners captured by the sword! 27Why did you run away in secret, trying to trick me? Why didn't you come and tell me? I would have given you a good send-off, a celebration with singing and the music of tambourines and lyres. 28You didn't even let me kiss my grandchildren and daughters goodbye! You've really acted stupidly! 29I could really punish you badly, but the God of your father spoke to me last night and told me, ‘Watch what you say to Jacob. Don't try to persuade him to come back, and don't threaten him either.’ 30Clearly you wanted to leave and go back to your family home, but why did you have to steal my idols?”
31“I ran away because I was afraid,” Jacob explained to Laban. “I was worried that you would take your daughters from me by force. 32As for your idols, anyone you find who has them will die. You can search everything in the presence of our relatives, and if you find I have anything that belongs to you, you can take it.” (Jacob didn't know that Rachel had stolen the household idols.)
33Laban searched the tents of Jacob, Leah, and the two personal maids, but didn't find anything. He left Leah's tent and went into Rachel's tent. 34Rachel had put the household idols in a camel's saddlebag and was sitting on it. Laban carefully searched the whole tent but couldn't find them. 35She said to her father, “Sir, please don't get upset with me for not standing up in your presence, but I have my period.” He looked everywhere but didn't find the idols.
36Jacob got angry with Laban and confronted him, saying, “What crime am I guilty of? What wrong have I done to you that you've come hunting me down? 37You've searched through all my possessions. Did you find anything belonging to you? If you did, bring it out here before my relatives and yours so they can decide who's right!
38I've worked for you for these past twenty years. During that time none of your sheep and goats miscarried, and I haven't eaten a single ram from your flock. 39If any of them were killed by wild animals, I never even brought you the carcass to prove the loss—I bore the loss myself. But you on the other hand always made me compensate you for any animals that were stolen, whether at night or in broad daylight.
40Whether it was sweating in the heat of the day, or freezing in the cold of the night when I couldn't sleep, I went on working for you for twenty years in your home. 41I worked fourteen years for your two daughters, and six more years with your flocks. You reduced my wages ten times! 42If it weren't for the God of my father, the God of Abraham, the awesome God#31:42. “The awesome God”: literally “the Fear.” of Isaac, who took care of me, you would have dismissed me with nothing. But God saw my suffering, how hard I worked, and he condemned you last night.”
43Laban replied, “These are my daughters and these are my children and these are my flocks! In fact, everything you see here is mine! However, what can I do now about my daughters and their children? 44So let's make a solemn agreement between you and I, and it will be a witness to our mutual commitment.”
45Jacob took a stone and set it upright as a pillar. 46Then he told his relatives, “Go and collect some stones.” They all#31:46. “They all”: including both groups. made a pile of stones and then sat beside it to eat a meal. 47Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha, while Jacob called it Galeed.#31:47. Both names mean “pile of stones,” the first in Aramaic, the second in Hebrew.
48Laban announced, “This pile of stone serves as a witness between me and you.” This is why it was called Galeed. 49It was also called Mizpah,#31:49. “Mizpah”: meaning “watchtower.” for as Laban said, “May the Lord keep a close eye on both of us when we're not together. 50If you treat my daughters badly or marry more wives in addition to them, God will see what you do even if no one else finds out!”
51Then Laban told Jacob, “Look at this pile of stones and this pillar that I have set up as a memorial of the agreement#31:51. “A memorial of the agreement”: supplied for clarity. between you and me. 52They also act as a witness to our solemn promises to each other: I will not come past them to attack you; and you will not come past them to attack me. 53May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor—the God of our forefathers—be the one to judge between us in any dispute.” Jacob in turn made his solemn promise in the name of the awesome God of his father Isaac.
54Then he offered a sacrifice on the mountain and invited all his relatives to eat a meal there. They spent the night on the mountain. 55Laban got up early in the morning and kissed his grandchildren and his daughters goodbye. He blessed them, and then left to go back home.