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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 be with you.”
4Jacob sent for Rachel and Leah to meet him in the pasture 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 worshiped 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, 13#Gn 28.18-22. and I am the God you worshiped 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 at once and return to the land where you were born.”
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 14 years to get the bride he loved. So there was no money for either of Laban's daughters. that should have been ours. 16So 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 18northern Syria#31.18 northern Syria: See the note at 24.10. for the home of his father Isaac in Canaan. Jacob took along all his flocks, herds, and other property.
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 Euphrates River 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 worshiped 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 went to 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'm 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 20 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 14 of these 20 long years to earn your two daughters and another 6 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. worshiped 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 mistreat 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 past them to attack you, and you must never come past them to attack me. 53My father Nahor, your grandfather Abraham, and their ancestors all worshiped 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 worshiped. 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
Jacob Flees from Laban
1Now he#That is, Jacob heard the words of the sons of Laban, saying, “Jacob has taken all that our father has,” and “From that which was our father’s he has gained all this wealth.” 2Then Jacob saw the face of Laban and, behold, it was not like it had been in the past.#Literally “there was not with him like yesterday or the day before” 3And Yahweh said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your ancestors#Or “fathers” and to your family, and I will be with you.” 4So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field, to his flocks, 5and he said to them, “Look, I see the face of your father, that it is not like it has been toward me in the past.#Literally “it is not to me like yesterday or the day before” But the God of my father is with me. 6Now you yourselves know that I have served your father with all my strength, 7and your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times, but God has not allowed him to harm me. 8If thus he said, ‘Speckled shall be your wage,’ then all the flock bore speckled. And if he said, ‘Streaked shall be your wage,’ then all the flock bore streaked. 9God has taken away your father’s livestock and given them to me. 10Now it happened that at the time of the mating of the flock I lifted up my eyes and saw in a dream, and behold, the rams mounting the flock were streaked, speckled, and dappled. 11Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob,’ and I said, ‘Here I am.’ 12And he said, ‘Lift up your eyes and see—all the rams mounting the flock are streaked, speckled, and dappled, for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. 13I am the God of Bethel where you anointed a stone pillar, where you made a vow to me. Now get up, go out from this land and return to the land of your birth.’ ” 14Then Rachel and Leah answered and said to him, “Is there yet a portion for us, and an inheritance in the house of our father? 15Are we not regarded as foreigners by him, because he has sold us and completely consumed our money? 16For all the wealth that God has taken away from our father, it belongs to us and to our sons. So now, all that God has said to you, do.” 17Then Jacob got up and put his children and his wives on the camels. 18And he drove all his livestock and his possessions that he had acquired, the livestock of his possession that he had acquired in Paddan-Aram, in order to go to Isaac his father, to the land of Canaan.
19Now Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel stole the idols#Hebrew teraphim that belonged to her father. 20And Jacob tricked#Literally “stole the heart of” Laban the Aramean by not telling him that he intended to flee. 21Then he fled with all that he had, and arose and crossed the Euphrates#Or “the river” and set his face toward the hill country of Gilead. 22And on the third day it was told to Laban that Jacob had fled. 23Then he took his kinsmen with him and pursued after him, a seven-day journey, and he caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead. 24And God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and said to him, “Take care#Literally “watch to yourself” that you not speak with Jacob, whether good or evil.” 25And Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country, and Laban and his kinsmen pitched their tents in the hill country of Gilead. 26Then Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done that you tricked me#Literally “stole my heart” and have carried off my daughters like captives of the sword? 27Why did you hide your intention to flee and trick me,#Literally “steal my heart” and did not tell me so that I would have sent you away with joy and song and tambourine and lyre? 28And why did you not give me opportunity to kiss my grandsons#Or “sons” and my daughters goodbye? Now you have behaved foolishly by doing this. 29It is in my power#Literally “there is power in my hand” to do harm to you, but the God of your father spoke to me last night saying, ‘Take care#Literally “watch to yourself” from speaking with Jacob, whether good or evil.’ 30Now, you have surely gone because you desperately longed for the house of your father, but why did you steal my gods?” 31Then Jacob answered and said to Laban, “Because I was afraid, for I thought, ‘Lest you take your daughters from me by force.’ 32But with whomever you find your gods, he shall not live. In the presence of your kinsmen now identify what is with me that is yours and take it.” Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them. 33Then Laban went into Jacob’s tent and Leah’s tent and the tent of the two female servants and did not find his gods. And he came out of Leah’s tent and went into Rachel’s tent. 34Now Rachel had taken the idols and put them in the saddle bag of the camel and sat on them. And Jacob searched the whole tent thoroughly but did not find them. 35And she said to her father, “Let there not be anger in the eyes of my lord, for I am not able to rise before you, for the way of women is with me. And he searched carefully and did not find the idols. 36Then Jacob became angry and quarreled with Laban. Jacob answered and said to Laban, “What is my offense? What is my sin that you pursued after me? 37For you have searched all my possessions and what did you find among all the possessions of my household? Set it before my kinsmen and your kinsmen that they may decide between the two of us! 38These twenty years I was with you; your ewes and your female goats did not miscarry, and the rams of your flocks I did not eat. 39I brought no mangled carcass to you—I bore its loss. From my hand you sought it, whether stolen by day or stolen by night. 40There I was, during the day the heat consumed me, and the cold by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes. 41These 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. 42If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac had not been with me, indeed now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God saw my misery and the labor of my hands and rebuked you last night.” 43Then Laban answered and said to Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters and the grandsons#Or “sons” are my grandsons,#Or “sons” and the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see, it is mine. Now, what can I do for these my daughters today, or for their children whom they have borne? 44So now, come, let us make#Literally “cut” a covenant, you and I, and let it be a witness between me and you.” 45And Jacob took a stone and set it up as a stone pillar. 46And Jacob said to his kinsmen, “Gather stones.” And they took stones and made a pile of stones, and they ate there by the pile of stones. 47And Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha,#Aramaic for “the heap of witness” but Jacob called it Galeed.#Hebrew for “the heap of witness” 48Then Laban said, “This pile of stones is a witness between me and you today.” Therefore its name is called Galeed,#Hebrew for “the heap of witness” 49and Mizpah,#Hebrew for “watchpost” because he said, “Yahweh watch between me and you when we are out of sight of each other.#Literally “each from his neighbor is concealed” 50If you mistreat my daughters, and if you take wives besides my daughters, when there is no man with us, see—God is a witness between me and you.” 51And Laban said to Jacob, “See, this pile of stones, and see the pillar that I have set up between me and you. 52This pile of stones is a witness, and the pillar is a witness, that I will not pass beyond this pile of stones to you, and that you will not pass beyond this pile of stones and this pillar to me intending harm. 53May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father#That is, Terah judge between us.” Then Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac. 54And Jacob sacrificed a sacrifice on the hill, and he called his kinsmen to eat the meal.#Or “food, bread” And they ate the meal#Or “food, bread” and spent the night on the hill. 55#Genesis 31:55–32:32 in the English Bible is 32:1–33 in the Hebrew Bible And Laban arose early in the morning and kissed his grandsons#Or “sons” and his daughters, and blessed them. Then Laban departed and returned to his homeland.