Jacob Flees from Laban
1Now Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were saying, “Jacob has taken away all that belonged to our father and built all this wealth at our father’s expense.” 2And Jacob saw from the countenance of Laban that his attitude toward him had changed.
3Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you.”
4So Jacob sent word and called Rachel and Leah to the field where his flocks were, 5and he told them, “I can see from your father’s countenance that his attitude toward me has changed; but the God of my father has been with me. 6You know that I have served your father with all my strength. 7And although he has cheated me and changed my wages ten times, God has not allowed him to harm me. 8If he said, ‘The speckled will be your wages,’ then the whole flock bore speckled offspring. If he said, ‘The streaked will be your wages,’ then the whole flock bore streaked offspring. 9Thus God has taken away your father’s livestock and given them to me.
10When the flocks were breeding, I saw in a dream that the streaked, spotted, and speckled males were mating with the females. 11In that dream the angel #31:11 Or Angel of God said to me, ‘Jacob!’
And I replied, ‘Here I am.’
12‘Look up,’ he said, ‘and see that all the males that are mating with the flock are streaked, spotted, or speckled; for I have seen all that Laban has done to you. 13I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar and made a solemn vow to Me. Now get up and leave this land at once, and return to your native land.’”
14And Rachel and Leah replied, “Do we have any portion or inheritance left in our father’s house? 15Are we not regarded by him as outsiders? Not only has he sold us, but he has certainly squandered what was paid for us. 16Surely all the wealth that God has taken away from our father belongs to us and to our children. So do whatever God has told you.”
17Then Jacob got up and put his children and his wives on camels, 18and he drove all his livestock before him, along with all the possessions he had acquired in Paddan-aram,#31:18 That is, northwest Mesopotamia to go to his father Isaac in the land in Canaan.
19Now while Laban was out shearing his sheep, Rachel stole her father’s household idols. 20Moreover, Jacob deceived #31:20 Or stole the heart of; also in verses 26 and 27 Laban the Aramean by not telling him that he was running away. 21So he fled with all his possessions, crossed the Euphrates,#31:21 Hebrew the River and headed for the hill country of Gilead.
Laban Pursues Jacob
22On the third day Laban was informed that Jacob had fled. 23So he took his relatives with him, pursued Jacob for seven days, and overtook him in the hill country of Gilead. 24But that night God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream and warned him, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.”
25Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country of Gilead when Laban overtook him, and Laban and his relatives camped there as well. 26Then Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done? You have deceived me and carried off my daughters like captives of war! 27Why did you run away secretly and deceive me, without even telling me? I would have sent you away with joy and singing, with tambourines and harps. 28But you did not even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters goodbye. Now you have done a foolish thing.
29I have power to do you great harm, but last night the God of your father said to me, ‘Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.’ 30Now you have gone off because you long for your father’s house. But why have you stolen my gods?”
31“I was afraid,” Jacob answered, “for I thought you would take your daughters from me by force. 32If you find your gods with anyone here, he shall not live! In the presence of our relatives, see for yourself if anything is yours, and take it back.” For Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the idols.
33So Laban went into Jacob’s tent, then Leah’s tent, and then the tents of the two maidservants, but he found nothing. Then he left Leah’s tent and entered Rachel’s tent. 34Now Rachel had taken Laban’s household idols, put them in the saddlebag of her camel, and was sitting on them. And Laban searched everything in the tent but found nothing.
35Rachel said to her father, “Sir, do not be angry that I cannot stand up before you; for I am having my period.” So Laban searched, but could not find the household idols.
36Then Jacob became incensed and challenged Laban. “What is my crime?” he said. “For what sin of mine have you so hotly pursued me? 37You have searched all my goods! Have you found anything that belongs to you? Put it here before my brothers and yours, that they may judge between the two of us.
38I have been with you for twenty years now. Your sheep and goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten the rams of your flock. 39I did not bring you anything torn by wild beasts; I bore the loss myself. And you demanded payment from me for what was stolen by day or night. 40As it was, the heat consumed me by day and the frost by night, and sleep fled from my eyes.
41Thus for twenty years I have served in your household—fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flocks—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, surely by now you would have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen my affliction and the toil of my hands, and last night He rendered judgment.”
Jacob’s Covenant with Laban
43But Laban answered Jacob, “These daughters are my daughters, these sons are my sons, and these flocks are my flocks! Everything you see is mine! Yet what can I do today about these daughters of mine or the children they have borne? 44Come now, let us make a covenant, you and I, and let it serve as a witness between you and me.”
45So Jacob picked out a stone and set it up as a pillar, 46and he said to his relatives, “Gather some stones.” So they took stones and made a mound, and there by the mound they ate. 47Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha, and Jacob called it Galeed.#31:47 The Aramaic Jegar-Sahadutha and the Hebrew Galeed both mean heap of witnesses.
48Then Laban declared, “This mound is a witness between you and me this day.”
Therefore the place was called Galeed. 49It was also called Mizpah,#31:49 Mizpah means watchtower. because Laban said, “May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are absent from each other. 50If you mistreat my daughters or take other wives, although no one is with us, remember that God is a witness between you and me.”
51Laban also said to Jacob, “Here is the mound, and here is the pillar I have set up between you and me. 52This mound is a witness, and this pillar is a witness, that I will not go past this mound to harm you, and you will not go past this mound and pillar to harm me. 53May the 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 invited his relatives to eat a meal. And after they had eaten, they spent the night on the mountain. 55Early the next morning, Laban got up and kissed his grandchildren and daughters and blessed them. Then he left to return home.