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Genesis 31

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.
31
Jacob Flees from Laban
1But Jacob soon learned that Laban’s sons were grumbling about him. “Jacob has robbed our father of everything!” they said. “He has gained all his wealth at our father’s expense.” 2And Jacob began to notice a change in Laban’s attitude toward him.
3Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your father and grandfather and to your relatives there, and I will be with you.”
4So Jacob called Rachel and Leah out to the field where he was watching his flock. 5He said to them, “I have noticed that your father’s attitude toward me has changed. But the God of my father has been with me. 6You know how hard I have worked for your father, 7but he has cheated me, changing my wages ten times. But God has not allowed him to do me any harm. 8For if he said, ‘The speckled animals will be your wages,’ the whole flock began to produce speckled young. And when he changed his mind and said, ‘The striped animals will be your wages,’ then the whole flock produced striped young. 9In this way, God has taken your father’s animals and given them to me.
10“One time during the mating season, I had a dream and saw that the male goats mating with the females were streaked, speckled, and spotted. 11Then in my dream, the angel of God said to me, ‘Jacob!’ And I replied, ‘Yes, here I am.’
12“The angel said, ‘Look up, and you will see that only the streaked, speckled, and spotted males are mating with the females of your flock. For I have seen how Laban has treated you. 13I am the God who appeared to you at Bethel,#31:13 As in Greek version and an Aramaic Targum; Hebrew reads the God of Bethel. the place where you anointed the pillar of stone and made your vow to me. Now get ready and leave this country and return to the land of your birth.’”
14Rachel and Leah responded, “That’s fine with us! We won’t inherit any of our father’s wealth anyway. 15He has reduced our rights to those of foreign women. And after he sold us, he wasted the money you paid him for us. 16All the wealth God has given you from our father legally belongs to us and our children. So go ahead and do whatever God has told you.”
17So Jacob put his wives and children on camels, 18and he drove all his livestock in front of him. He packed all the belongings he had acquired in Paddan-aram and set out for the land of Canaan, where his father, Isaac, lived. 19At the time they left, Laban was some distance away, shearing his sheep. Rachel stole her father’s household idols and took them with her. 20Jacob outwitted Laban the Aramean, for they set out secretly and never told Laban they were leaving. 21So Jacob took all his possessions with him and crossed the Euphrates River,#31:21 Hebrew the river. heading for the hill country of Gilead.
Laban Pursues Jacob
22Three days later, Laban was told that Jacob had fled. 23So he gathered a group of his relatives and set out in hot pursuit. He caught up with Jacob seven days later in the hill country of Gilead. 24But the previous night God had appeared to Laban the Aramean in a dream and told him, “I’m warning you—leave Jacob alone!”
25Laban caught up with Jacob as he was camped in the hill country of Gilead, and he set up his camp not far from Jacob’s. 26“What do you mean by deceiving me like this?” Laban demanded. “How dare you drag my daughters away like prisoners of war? 27Why did you slip away secretly? Why did you deceive me? And why didn’t you say you wanted to leave? I would have given you a farewell feast, with singing and music, accompanied by tambourines and harps. 28Why didn’t you let me kiss my daughters and grandchildren and tell them good-bye? You have acted very foolishly! 29I could destroy you, but the God of your father appeared to me last night and warned me, ‘Leave Jacob alone!’ 30I can understand your feeling that you must go, and your intense longing for your father’s home. But why have you stolen my gods?”
31“I rushed away because I was afraid,” Jacob answered. “I thought you would take your daughters from me by force. 32But as for your gods, see if you can find them, and let the person who has taken them die! And if you find anything else that belongs to you, identify it before all these relatives of ours, and I will give it back!” But Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the household idols.
33Laban went first into Jacob’s tent to search there, then into Leah’s, and then the tents of the two servant wives—but he found nothing. Finally, he went into Rachel’s tent. 34But Rachel had taken the household idols and hidden them in her camel saddle, and now she was sitting on them. When Laban had thoroughly searched her tent without finding them, 35she said to her father, “Please, sir, forgive me if I don’t get up for you. I’m having my monthly period.” So Laban continued his search, but he could not find the household idols.
36Then Jacob became very angry, and he challenged Laban. “What’s my crime?” he demanded. “What have I done wrong to make you chase after me as though I were a criminal? 37You have rummaged through everything I own. Now show me what you found that belongs to you! Set it out here in front of us, before our relatives, for all to see. Let them judge between us!
38“For twenty years I have been with you, caring for your flocks. In all that time your sheep and goats never miscarried. In all those years I never used a single ram of yours for food. 39If any were attacked and killed by wild animals, I never showed you the carcass and asked you to reduce the count of your flock. No, I took the loss myself! You made me pay for every stolen animal, whether it was taken in broad daylight or in the dark of night.
40“I worked for you through the scorching heat of the day and through cold and sleepless nights. 41Yes, for twenty years I slaved in your house! I worked for fourteen years earning your two daughters, and then six more years for your flock. And you changed my wages ten times! 42In fact, if the God of my father had not been on my side—the God of Abraham and the fearsome God of Isaac#31:42 Or and the Fear of Isaac.—you would have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen your abuse and my hard work. That is why he appeared to you last night and rebuked you!”
Jacob’s Treaty with Laban
43Then Laban replied to Jacob, “These women are my daughters, these children are my grandchildren, and these flocks are my flocks—in fact, everything you see is mine. But what can I do now about my daughters and their children? 44So come, let’s make a covenant, you and I, and it will be a witness to our commitment.”
45So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a monument. 46Then he told his family members, “Gather some stones.” So they gathered stones and piled them in a heap. Then Jacob and Laban sat down beside the pile of stones to eat a covenant meal. 47To commemorate the event, Laban called the place Jegar-sahadutha (which means “witness pile” in Aramaic), and Jacob called it Galeed (which means “witness pile” in Hebrew).
48Then Laban declared, “This pile of stones will stand as a witness to remind us of the covenant we have made today.” This explains why it was called Galeed—“Witness Pile.” 49But it was also called Mizpah (which means “watchtower”), for Laban said, “May the Lord keep watch between us to make sure that we keep this covenant when we are out of each other’s sight. 50If you mistreat my daughters or if you marry other wives, God will see it even if no one else does. He is a witness to this covenant between us.
51“See this pile of stones,” Laban continued, “and see this monument I have set between us. 52They stand between us as witnesses of our vows. I will never pass this pile of stones to harm you, and you must never pass these stones or this monument to harm me. 53I call on the God of our ancestors—the God of your grandfather Abraham and the God of my grandfather Nahor—to serve as a judge between us.”
So Jacob took an oath before the fearsome God of his father, Isaac,#31:53 Or the Fear of his father, Isaac. to respect the boundary line. 54Then Jacob offered a sacrifice to God there on the mountain and invited everyone to a covenant feast. After they had eaten, they spent the night on the mountain.
55#31:55 Verse 31:55 is numbered 32:1 in Hebrew text.Laban got up early the next morning, and he kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then he left and returned home.