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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.

Berĕshith (Genesis) 31

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.