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Genesis 31

31
Jacob runs from Laban
1Jacob heard that Laban's sons were complaining, “Jacob is now a rich man, and he got everything he owns from our father.” 2Jacob also noticed that Laban was not as friendly as he had been before. 3One day the LORD said, “Jacob, go back to your relatives in the land of your ancestors, and I will bless you.”
4Jacob sent for Rachel and Leah to meet him in the field where he kept his sheep, 5and he told them:
Your father isn't as friendly with me as he used to be, but the God my ancestors worshipped has been on my side. 6You know that I have worked hard for your father 7and that he keeps cheating me by changing my wages time after time. But God has protected me. 8When your father said the speckled sheep would be my wages, all of them were speckled. And when he said the spotted ones would be mine, all of them were spotted. 9That's how God has taken sheep and goats from your father and given them to me.
10Once, when the flocks were mating, I dreamed that all the rams were either spotted or speckled. 11Then God's angel called me by name. I answered, 12and he said, “Notice that all the rams are either spotted or speckled. I know everything Laban is doing to you, 13and I am the God you worshipped at Bethel,#31.13 you…Bethel: Or “who appeared to you at Bethel”. when you poured olive oil on a rock and made a promise to me. Leave here straight away and return to the land where you were born.”#Gn 28.18-22.
14Rachel and Leah said to Jacob:
There's nothing left for us to inherit from our father. 15He treats us like foreigners and has even cheated us out of the bride price#31.15 bride price: Usually the husband-to-be paid a bride price to the father of the bride. But Jacob didn't pay Laban a bride price for either Rachel or Leah. Instead he was tricked into working fourteen years to get the bride he loved. So there was no money for either of Laban's daughters. that should have been ours. 16Now do whatever God tells you to do. Even the property God took from our father and gave to you really belongs to us and our children.
17Then Jacob, his wives, and his children got on camels and left 18for the home of his father Isaac in Canaan. Jacob took all the flocks, herds, and other property that he had got in northern Syria.#31.18 northern Syria: See the note at 24.10.
19Before Rachel left, she stole the household idols#31.19 household idols: These were thought to protect the household from danger. It is also possible that the person who had them would inherit the family property. while Laban was out shearing his sheep.
20Jacob tricked Laban the Aramean#31.20 the Aramean: Meaning someone from northern Syria (see the note at 24.10). by not saying that he intended to leave. 21When Jacob crossed the River Euphrates and headed for the hill country of Gilead, he took with him everything he owned.
Laban catches up with Jacob
22Three days later Laban found out that Jacob had gone. 23So he took some of his relatives along and chased after Jacob for seven days, before catching up with him in the hill country of Gilead. 24But God appeared to Laban in a dream that night and warned, “Don't say a word to Jacob. Don't make a threat or a promise.”
25Jacob had set up camp in the hill country of Gilead, when Laban and his relatives came and set up camp in another part of the hill country. Laban went to Jacob 26and said:
Look what you've done! You've tricked me and run off with my daughters like a kidnapper. 27Why did you sneak away without telling me? I would have given you a going-away party with singing and with music on tambourines and harps. 28You didn't even give me a chance to kiss my own grandchildren and daughters goodbye. That was really foolish. 29I could easily hurt you, but the God your father worshipped has warned me not to make any threats or promises.
30I can understand why you were eager to return to your father, but why did you have to steal my idols?
31Jacob answered, “I left secretly because I was afraid you would take your daughters from me by force. 32If you find that any one of us has taken your idols, I'll have that person killed. Let your relatives be witnesses. Show me what belongs to you, and you can take it back.” Jacob did not realize that Rachel had stolen the household idols.
33Laban searched the tents of Jacob, Leah, and the two servant women,#31.33 two servant women: Bilhah and Zilpah (see 30.4,9). but did not find the idols. Then he started for Rachel's tent. 34She had already hidden them in the cushion she used as a saddle and was sitting on it. Laban searched everywhere and did not find them. 35Rachel said, “Father, please don't be angry with me for not getting up; I am having my period.” Laban kept on searching, but still did not find the idols.
36Jacob became very angry and said to Laban:
What have I done wrong? Have I committed some crime? Is that why you hunted me down? 37After searching through everything I have, did you find anything of yours? If so, put it here, where your relatives and mine can see it. Then we can decide what to do.
38In all the twenty years that I've worked for you, not one of your sheep or goats has had a miscarriage, and I've never eaten even one of your rams. 39If a wild animal killed one of your sheep or goats, I paid for it myself. In fact, you demanded the full price, whether the animal was killed during the day or at night.#31.39 you demanded…night: A shepherd was not responsible for sheep and goats killed by wild animals, if the shepherd could supply proof of how they were killed. 40I sweated every day, and I couldn't sleep at night because of the cold.
41I had to work fourteen of these twenty long years to earn your two daughters and another six years to buy your sheep and goats. During that time you kept changing my wages. 42If the fearsome God#31.42 fearsome God: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. worshipped by Abraham and my father Isaac had not been on my side, you would have sent me away without a thing. But God saw my hard work, and he knew the trouble I was in, so he helped me. Then last night he told you how wrong you were.
Jacob and Laban make an agreement
43Laban said to Jacob, “Leah and Rachel are my daughters, and their children belong to me. All these sheep you are taking are really mine too. In fact, everything you have belongs to me. But there is nothing I can do to keep my daughters and their children. 44So I am ready to make an agreement with you, and we will pile up some large rocks here to remind us of the agreement.”
45After Jacob had set up a large rock, 46he told his men to get some more rocks and pile them up next to it. Then Jacob and Laban ate a meal together beside the rocks. 47Laban named the pile of rocks Jegar Sahadutha.#31.47 Jegar Sahadutha: In Aramaic “Jegar Sahadutha” means “a pile of rocks to remind us”. But Jacob named it Galeed.#31.47 Galeed: In Hebrew “Galeed” means “a pile of rocks to remind us”. 48Laban said to Jacob, “This pile of rocks will remind us of our agreement.” That's why the place was named Galeed. 49Laban also said, “This pile of rocks means that the LORD will watch us both while we are apart from each other.” So the place was also named Mizpah.#31.49 Mizpah: In Hebrew “Mizpah” sounds like “a place from which to watch”.
50Then Laban said:
If you ill-treat my daughters or marry other women, I may not know about it, but remember, God is watching us! 51-52Both this pile of rocks and this large rock have been set up between us as a reminder. I must never go beyond them to attack you, and you must never go beyond them to attack me. 53My father Nahor, your grandfather Abraham, and their ancestors all worshipped the same God, and he will make sure that we each keep the agreement.
Then Jacob made a promise in the name of the fearsome God#31.53 fearsome God: See the note at 31.42. his father Isaac had worshipped. 54Jacob killed an animal and offered it as a sacrifice there on the mountain, and he invited his men to eat with him. After the meal they spent the night on the mountain. 55Early the next morning, Laban kissed his daughters and his grandchildren goodbye, then he left to go back home.
31
Genesis 31
1¶ And he heard the words of the sons of Laban, saying, Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s; and of that which was our father’s, he has gotten all this glory.
2And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before.
3Also the Lord said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.
4And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his sheep
5and said unto them, I see your father’s countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father has been with me.
6And ye know that with all my strength I have served your father.
7And your father has deceived me and changed my wages ten times, but God did not allow him to hurt me.
8If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the sheep bore speckled; and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be thy hire; then all the sheep bore ringstraked.
9Thus God has taken away the livestock of your father and given them to me.
10And it came to pass at the time that the sheep conceived, that I lifted up my eyes and saw in dreams, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the females were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled.
11And the angel of God spoke unto me in dreams, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I.
12And he said, Lift up now thine eyes and see, all the rams which leap upon the sheep are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled; for I have seen all that Laban has done unto thee.
13I am the God of Bethel, where thou didst anoint the pillar and where thou didst vow a vow unto me. Now arise, go out from this land and return unto the land of thy nature.
14And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father’s house?
15Are we not counted of him strangers? For he has sold us and has even devoured all our price.
16For all the riches which God has taken from our father, is ours and our son’s; now then, whatever God has said unto thee, do.
17¶ Then Jacob rose up and set his sons and his wives upon the camels;
18and he carried away all his livestock and all his goods which he had gotten, the livestock of his getting, which he had gotten in Padanaram, to return unto Isaac his father in the land of Canaan.
19And Laban had gone to shear his sheep; and Rachel stole the idols of her father.
20And Jacob stole away the heart of Laban the Aramean, in that he did not tell him that he fled.
21So he fled with all that he had; and he rose up and passed the river and set his face toward Mount Gilead.
22And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob had fled.
23Then he took his brethren with him and pursued after him seven days’ journey; and they overtook him in Mount Gilead.
24And God came to Laban the Aramean in dreams by night, and said unto him, Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.
25¶ Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mount; and Laban with his brethren pitched in Mount Gilead.
26And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou done, that thou hast stolen away my heart and carried away my daughters as captives taken with the sword?
27Why didst thou flee away secretly and steal away from me and didst not tell me that I might have sent thee away with mirth and with songs with tambourine and with harp?
28And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? Thou hast now done foolishly in so doing.
29It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt, but the God of your father spoke unto me last night, saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.
30And now, that thou art leaving, because thy desire is after thy father’s house, yet why hast thou stolen my gods?
31And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid; for I said, Peradventure thou would take by force thy daughters from me.
32With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let them not live; before our brethren discern what is thine with me and take it to thee. For Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them.
33And Laban went into Jacob’s tent and into Leah’s tent, and into the two maidservants’ tents, but he did not find them. Then he went out of Leah’s tent and came to Rachel’s tent.
34Now Rachel took the images and put them in a camel’s saddle and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent but did not find them.
35And she said to her father, Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the custom of women is upon me. And he searched, but did not find the images.
36¶ Then Jacob was wroth and contended with Laban, and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What is my trespass? What is my sin that thou hast so hotly pursued after me?
37Whereas thou hast searched all my stuff, what hast thou found of all thy household stuff? Set it here before my brethren and thy brethren that they may judge between us both.
38These twenty years I have been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not aborted their young, and I have not eaten the rams of thy flock.
39That which was torn of beasts I did not bring unto thee; I bore the sin; thou didst require of my hand that which was stolen, whether by day or by night.
40By day the drought consumed me, and by night, the frost; and my sleep departed from mine eyes.
41Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters and six years for thy flock; and thou hast changed my wages ten times.
42If the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, were not with me, surely thou would send me away now empty. God has seen my affliction and the work of my hands and rebuked thee last night.
43¶ And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, These daughters are my daughters, and these sons are my sons, and these sheep are my sheep, and all that thou seest is mine; and what can I do this day unto these my daughters, or unto their sons unto whom they have given birth?
44Now therefore come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou, and let it be for a witness between me and thee.
45Then Jacob took a stone and set it up for a pillar.
46And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones and made a heap; and they ate there upon the heap.
47And Laban called it Jegarsahadutha, but Jacob called it Galeed.
48And Laban said, This heap is a witness between me and thee this day. Therefore was the name of it called Galeed;
49and Mizpah; for he said, The Lord watch between me and thee when we are absent one from another.
50If thou shalt afflict my daughters, or if thou shalt take other wives beside my daughters, no man is with us; see, God is witness between me and thee.
51And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold this pillar, which I have raised up between me and thee;
52 let this heap be witness and this pillar be witness that I will not pass over this heap against thee and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar against me, for harm.
53The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their fathers, judge between us. And Jacob swore by the fear of his father Isaac.
54Then Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount and called his brethren to eat bread; and they ate bread and slept in the mount.
55And early in the morning Laban rose up and kissed his sons and his daughters and blessed them; and Laban departed and returned unto his place.