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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
CHAPTER 31
1After that, Jacob heard the words of the sons of Laban, that said, Jacob hath taken away all things that were our father’s, and of his chattel Jacob is made rich, and noble.
2Also Jacob perceived the face of Laban, that it was not against him as yesterday, and the third day ago,
3mostly for the Lord said to Jacob, Turn again into the land of thy fathers, and to thy generation, and I shall be with thee.
4Jacob sent, and called Rachel and Leah into the field, where he kept [the] flocks,
5and he said to them, I see the face of your father, that it is not against me as yesterday, and the third day ago; but God of my father was with me.
6And ye know that with all my strengths I have served your father;
7but and your father hath deceived me, and changed my meed ten times; and nevertheless God suffered not him to annoy me.
8If he said any time, Diversely-coloured sheep shall be thy meed, all the sheep brought forth diversely-coloured lambs; forsooth when he said, on the contrary, Thou shalt take all the white for thy meed, all the flocks brought forth white beasts;
9and God took away the substance of your father, and gave it to me.
10For after that the time of con-ceiving of sheep came, I raised [up] mine eyes, and saw in sleep males diverse, and spotty, and of diverse colours, going up on females.
11And the angel of the Lord said to me in sleep, Jacob! and I answered, I am ready.
12Which said, Raise [up] thine eyes, and see all [the] males that be diverse, [and] besprinkled, and spotty, going [up] on [the] females; for I have seen all things which Laban hath done to thee;
13I am God of Bethel, where thou anointedest a stone, and madest a vow to me. Now therefore rise thou, and go out of this land, and turn again into the land of thy birth.
14And Rachel and Leah answered, Whether we have anything residue, or left, in the chattels, and heritage of our father?
15Whether he areckoned not, or held, us as aliens, and sold us, and ate our price?
16But God took away the riches of our father, and gave those [or them] to us, and to our sons; wherefore do thou all things which God hath commanded to thee.
17Forsooth Jacob rose, and put his free children and wives on camels, and went forth;
18and he took all his cattle, flocks, and whatever thing he had gotten in Mesopotamia, and went to Isaac, his father, into the land of Canaan.
19In that time Laban went to shear sheep, and Rachel stole the idols of her father.
20And Jacob would not acknowledge to the father of his wives, that he would flee;
21and when he had gone, as well he as all things that were of his right, and when he had passed [over] the water, and he went against the hill of Gilead,
22it was told to Laban, in the third day, that Jacob fled.
23And Laban took his brethren [with him], and pursued him seven days, and [over] took him in the hill of Gilead.
24And Laban saw in sleep the Lord saying to him, Beware that thou speak not anything sharply against Jacob.
25And then Jacob had stretched forth the tabernacle in the hill; and when Laban had pursued Jacob with his brethren, Laban set a tent in the same hill of Gilead;
26and he said to Jacob, Why hast thou done so, that the while I knew not, thou wouldest drive away my daughters as captives, either taken prisoners, by sword?
27Why wouldest thou flee the while I knew not, neither wouldest show to me, that I should pursue [or follow] thee with joy, and songs, and tympans, and harps?
28Thou sufferedest not that I should kiss my sons and daughters; thou hast wrought follily.
29And now soothly mine hand may yield evil to thee, but the God of thy father said to me yesterday, Beware that thou speak not any hard thing with Jacob.
30Suppose, if thou covetedest to go to thy kinsmen, and the house of thy father was in desire to thee, why hast thou stolen my gods?
31Jacob answered, That I went forth while thou knewest not, I dreaded lest thou wouldest take away thy daughters from me violently;
32soothly that thou reprovest me of theft, at whomever thou findest thy gods, be he slain before our brethren; seek thou, whatever thing of thine thou findest at me, and take it away. Jacob said these things, and knew not that Rachel had stolen the idols.
33And so Laban entered into the tabernacles of Jacob, and of Leah, and of ever either menial, and he found not; and when Laban had entered into the tent of Rachel,
34she hasted, and hid the idols under the strewings of the camel, and she sat above.
35And she said to Laban, seeking throughout all the tent, and finding nothing, My lord, be not wroth that I may not rise before thee, for it befelled now to me by the custom of women; so the busyness of the seeker was scorned.
36And Jacob swelled, and said with strife, For what cause of me, and for what sin of me, hast thou come so fiercely after me,
37and hast sought through all the appurtenance of mine house? What hast thou found of all the chattel of thine household? Put thou here before my brethren and thy brethren, and deem they betwixt me and thee.
38Was I not with thee therefore twenty years? Thy sheep and goats were not barren, I ate not the rams of thy flock,
39neither I showed to thee anything taken of a beast; I yielded all [the] harm; whatever thing perished by theft, thou askedest of me;
40I was anguished in day and night with heat and frost, and sleep fled from mine eyes;
41so I served thee by twenty years in thine house, fourteen years for thy daughters, and six years for thy flocks; and thou changedest my meed ten times.
42But if [the] God of my father Abraham, and the dread of Isaac had not helped me, peradventure now thou haddest left me naked; the Lord hath beheld my tormenting and the travail of mine hands, and reproved thee yesterday.
43Laban answered to Jacob, The daughters, and the sons, and the flocks, and all things which thou seest, be mine; what may I do to my sons, and to the sons of my sons?
44Therefore come thou, and make we bond of peace, that it be a witnessing betwixt me and thee.
45And so Jacob took a stone, and raised it into a title, either a sign,
46and said to his brethren, Bring ye stones; which gathered, and made an heap, and ate on it.
47And Laban called it The heap of witness, and Jacob called it The heap of witnessing; ever either called it by the property of his language.
48And Laban said, This heap shall be witness betwixt me and thee today, and therefore the name thereof was called Galeed, that is, The heap of witness.
49And Laban added, The Lord behold, and deem betwixt us, when we shall go away from you;
50if thou shalt torment my daughters, and if thou shalt bring in other wives on them, none is witness of our word, except God, which is present, and beholdeth.
51And again Laban said to Jacob, Lo! this heap, and the stone, or the pillar, which I have raised betwixt me and thee,
52shall be witnesses; soothly this heap, and the stone be into witnessing, forsooth if I shall pass it, and go to thee, either thou shalt pass it, and think to do evil to me.
53God of Abraham, and God of Nahor, [the] God of the father of them, deem betwixt us. Therefore Jacob swore by the dread of his father Isaac;
54and when slain sacrifices were offered in the hill, Jacob called his brethren to eat bread, and when they had eaten, they dwelled there.
55Forsooth Laban rose by night, and kissed his sons, and daughters, and blessed them, and turned again into his place.