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Genesis 31

31
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.

Genesis 31

31
Jacob Leaves Secretly for Canaan
1Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were saying: “Jacob has taken away everything that was our father’s, and from what belonged to our father he has acquired all this wealth and honor.” 2Jacob noticed [a change in] the #Lit face.attitude of Laban, and saw that it was not friendly toward him as before. 3Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your people, and I will be with you.” 4So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to his flock in the field, 5and he said to them, “I see [a change in] your father’s attitude, that he is not friendly toward me as [he was] before; but the God of my father [Isaac] has been with me. 6You know that I have served your father with all my strength. 7Yet your father has cheated me [as often as possible] and changed my wages ten times; but God did not allow him to hurt me. 8If he said, ‘The speckled shall be your wages,’ then the entire flock gave birth to speckled [young]; and if he said, ‘The streaked shall be your wages,’ then the entire flock gave birth to streaked [young]. 9Thus God has taken away the flocks of your father and given them to me. 10And it happened at the time when the flock conceived that I looked up and saw in a dream that the rams which mated [with the female goats] were streaked, speckled, and spotted. 11And the #See note 16:7. Note especially Gen 31:13, where the Angel says, “I am the God of Bethel.”Angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob.’ And I said, ‘Here I am.’ 12He said, ‘Look up and see, all the rams which are mating [with the flock] are streaked, speckled, and spotted; for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. 13I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar, and where you made a vow to Me; now stand up, leave this land, and return to the land of your birth.’ ” 14Rachel and Leah answered him, “Is there still any portion or inheritance for us in our father’s house? 15Are we not counted by him as foreigners? For he sold us [to you in marriage], and has also entirely used up our purchase price. 16Surely all the riches which God has taken from our father are ours and our children’s. Now then, whatever God has told you to do, do it.”
17Then Jacob stood [and took action] and put his children and his wives on camels; 18and he drove away all his livestock and [took along] all his property which he had acquired, the livestock he had obtained and accumulated in Paddan-aram, to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan. 19When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel [went inside the house and] stole her father’s #Possession of these pagan figurines implied or conferred a right of inheritance.household gods. 20And Jacob #Lit stole the heart of.deceived Laban the Aramean (Syrian) by not telling him that he intended to leave and he slipped away secretly. 21So he fled with everything that he had, and got up and crossed the river [Euphrates], and set his face toward the hill country of Gilead [east of the Jordan River].
Laban Pursues Jacob
22On the third day [after his departure] Laban was told that Jacob had fled. 23So he took his relatives with him and pursued him for seven days, and they overtook him in the hill country of Gilead. 24God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and said to him, “Be careful that you do not speak to Jacob, either good or bad.”
25Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent on the hill, and Laban with his relatives camped on the same hill of Gilead. 26Then Laban said to Jacob, “What do you mean by deceiving me and leaving without my knowledge, and carrying off my daughters as if [they were] captives of the sword? 27Why did you run away secretly and deceive me and not tell me, so that [otherwise] I might have sent you away with joy and with songs, with [music on the] tambourine and lyre? 28And why did you not allow me to kiss my #Lit sons.grandchildren and my daughters [goodbye]? Now you have done a foolish thing [in behaving like this]. 29It is in my power to harm you, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Be careful not to speak to Jacob, either good or bad.’ 30Now [I suppose] you felt you must go because you #Lit longed greatly.were homesick for your father’s house and family; but why did you steal my [household] #Laban was upset because possession of the father’s household gods played an important role in inheritance. In the region where Laban lived, a son-in-law who possessed the family gods could appear before a judge and make a claim to the estate of his father-in-law. Since Jacob’s possession of the household gods implied the right to inherit Laban’s wealth, one can understand why he followed Jacob to recover the idols.gods?” 31Jacob answered Laban, “[I left secretly] because I was afraid, for I thought you would take your daughters away from me by force. 32The one with whom you find your gods shall not live; in the presence of our relatives [search my possessions and] point out whatever you find that belongs to you and take it.” For Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the idols.
33So Laban went into Jacob’s tent and into Leah’s tent and the tent of the two maids, but he did not find them. Then he came out of Leah’s tent and entered Rachel’s tent. 34Now Rachel had taken the household idols and put them in the camel’s saddlebag and sat on them. Laban searched through all her tent, but did not find them. 35So Rachel said to her father, “Do not be displeased, my lord, that I cannot rise before you, for the manner of women is on me and I am unwell.” He searched [further] but did not find the household idols.
36Then Jacob became angry and argued with Laban. And he said to Laban, “What is my fault? What is my sin that you pursued me like this? 37Although you have searched through all my possessions, what have you found of your household goods? Put it here before my relatives and your relatives, so that they may decide [who has done right] between the two of us. 38These twenty years I have been with you; your ewes and your female goats have not lost their young, nor have I eaten the rams of your flocks. 39I did not bring you the torn carcasses [of the animals attacked by predators]; I [personally] took the loss. You required of me [to make good] everything that was stolen, whether it occurred by day or night. 40This was my situation: by day the heat consumed me and by night the cold, and #Lit sleep fled from my eyes.I could not sleep. 41These twenty years I have been in your house; I served you fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for [my share of] your flocks, and you have #I.e. cheated me as often as possible.changed my wages ten times. 42If the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and [the Feared One] of Isaac, had not been with me, most certainly you would have sent me away now empty-handed. God has seen my affliction and humiliation and the [exhausting] labor of my hands, so He rendered judgment and rebuked you last night.”
The Covenant of Mizpah
43Laban answered Jacob, “These #Lit daughters.women [that you married] are my daughters, these children are my #Lit children.grandchildren, these flocks are [from] my flocks, and all that you see [here] is mine. But what can I do today to these my daughters or to their children to whom they have given birth? 44So come now, let us make a covenant, you and I, and let it serve as a witness between you and me.” 45So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a [memorial] pillar. 46Jacob said to his relatives, “Gather stones.” And they took stones and made a mound [of stones], and they ate [a ceremonial meal together] there on the mound [of stones]. 47Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha (stone monument of testimony in #The language of Laban, who was an Aramean (v 20). The two names chosen by Laban and Jacob were equivalent.Aramaic), but Jacob called it #Heb heap of witness.Galeed. 48Laban said, “This mound [of stones] is a witness [a reminder of the oath taken] today between you and me.” Therefore he [also] called the name Galeed, 49and Mizpah (#The stone mound evidently was tall enough to be considered a place from which one could see at a distance. The thought behind it was that the Lord would watch them when they could not watch each other, and He would see and deal with any mistreatment committed by either of them (see v 50).watchtower), for Laban said, “May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent from one another. 50If you should mistreat (humiliate, oppress) my daughters, or if you should take other wives besides my daughters, although no one is with us [as a witness], see and remember, God is witness between you and me.” 51Laban said to Jacob, “Look at this mound [of stones] and look at this pillar which I have set up between you and me. 52This mound is a witness, and this pillar is a witness, that I will not pass by this mound to harm you, and that you will not pass by this mound and this pillar to harm me. 53The God of Abraham [your father] and the God of Nahor [my father], and the #Here “god” is put in lowercase because Joshua later declared that Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor, was an idolater, serving “other gods” (Josh 24:2). The wording of the Hebrew here indicates that Laban equated the God of Abraham and Nahor with the god of Terah. Whether Laban actually made no distinction in his mind between the true God and false gods, or simply committed an oversight, is not clear. Jacob evidently recognized the ambiguity in Laban’s statement as well, so to avoid any possibility of swearing allegiance to a false god, he swore his own oath by the God of Isaac.god [the image of worship] of their father [Terah, an idolater], judge between us.” But Jacob swore [only] by [the one true God] the Fear of his father Isaac. 54Then Jacob offered a sacrifice [to the Lord] on the mountain, and called his relatives to the meal; and they ate food and spent the night on the mountain. 55Early in the morning Laban got up and kissed his #Lit sons.grandchildren and his daughters [goodbye] and pronounced a blessing [asking God’s favor] on them. Then Laban left and returned home.