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Genesis 31

31
Time to Leave—Jacob Runs Away
1One day Jacob heard Laban’s sons talking. They said, “Jacob has taken everything that our father owned. He has become rich—and he has taken all this wealth from our father.” 2Then Jacob noticed that Laban was not as friendly as he had been in the past. 3The Lord said to Jacob, “Go back to your own land where your ancestors lived. I will be with you.”
4So Jacob told Rachel and Leah to meet him in the field where he kept his flocks of sheep and goats. 5He said to them, “I have noticed that your father is not as friendly with me as he used to be. But the God of my father has been with me. 6You both know that I have worked as hard as I could for your father. 7But he cheated me. He has changed my pay ten times. But during all this time, God protected me from all of Laban’s tricks.
8“At one time Laban said, ‘You can keep all the goats with spots. This will be your pay.’ After he said this, all the animals gave birth to spotted goats, so they were all mine. But then Laban said, ‘I will keep the spotted goats. You can have all the striped goats. That will be your pay.’ After he said this, all the animals gave birth to striped goats. 9So God has taken the animals away from your father and has given them to me.
10“I had a dream during the time when the animals were mating. I saw that the only male goats that were mating were the ones with stripes and spots. 11The angel of God spoke to me in that dream. The angel said, ‘Jacob!’
“I answered, ‘Yes!’
12“The angel said, ‘Look, only the striped and spotted goats are mating. I am causing this to happen. I have seen all the wrong things Laban has been doing to you. I am doing this so that you can have all the new baby goats. 13I am the God who came to you at Bethel, and there you made an altar, poured olive oil on it, and made a promise to me. Now I want you to be ready to go back to the country where you were born.’”
14Rachel and Leah answered Jacob, “Our father has nothing to give us when he dies. 15He treated us like strangers. He sold us to you, and then he spent all the money that should have been ours. 16God took all this wealth from our father, and now it belongs to us and our children. So you should do whatever God told you to do.”
17So Jacob prepared for the trip. He put his children and his wives on camels. 18Then they began traveling back to the land of Canaan, where his father lived. All the flocks of animals that Jacob owned walked ahead of them. He carried everything with him that he had gotten while he lived in Paddan Aram.
19While Laban was gone to cut the wool from his sheep, Rachel went into his house and stole the false gods that belonged to her father.
20Jacob tricked Laban the Aramean. He did not tell Laban he was leaving. 21Jacob took his family and everything he owned and left quickly. They crossed the Euphrates River and traveled toward the hill country of Gilead.
22Three days later Laban learned that Jacob had run away. 23So he gathered his men together and began to chase Jacob. After seven days Laban found Jacob near the hill country of Gilead. 24That night God came to Laban in a dream and said, “Be careful! Be careful of every word you say to Jacob.”
The Search for the Stolen Gods
25The next morning Laban caught up with Jacob. Jacob had set up his camp on the mountain, so Laban and all his men set up their camp in the hill country of Gilead.
26Laban said to Jacob, “Why did you trick me? Why did you take my daughters like they were women you captured during war? 27Why did you run away without telling me? If you had told me, I would have given you a party. There would have been singing and dancing with music. 28You didn’t even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters goodbye. You were very foolish to do this! 29I have the power to really hurt you. But last night the God of your father came to me in a dream. He warned me not to hurt you in any way. 30I know that you want to go back to your home. That is why you left. But why did you steal the gods from my house?”
31Jacob answered, “I left without telling you, because I was afraid. I thought you would take your daughters away from me. 32But I did not steal your gods. If you find anyone here with me who has taken your gods, they will be killed. Your men will be my witnesses. You can look for anything that belongs to you. Take anything that is yours.” (Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen Laban’s gods.)
33So Laban went and looked through Jacob’s camp. He looked in Jacob’s tent and then in Leah’s tent. Then he looked in the tent where the two slave women stayed, but he did not find the gods from his house. Then he went into Rachel’s tent. 34Rachel had hidden the gods inside her camel’s saddle, and she was sitting on them. Laban looked through the whole tent, but he did not find the gods.
35And Rachel said to her father, “Father, don’t be angry with me. I am not able to stand up before you. I am having my monthly time of bleeding.” So Laban looked through the camp, but he did not find the gods from his house.
36Then Jacob became very angry and said, “What wrong have I done? What law have I broken? What right do you have to chase me and stop me? 37You looked through everything I own and found nothing that belongs to you. If you found something, show it to me. Put it here where our men can see it. Let our men decide which one of us is right. 38I have worked 20 years for you. During all that time none of the baby sheep and goats died during birth. And I have not eaten any of the rams from your flocks. 39Any time a sheep was killed by wild animals, I always paid for the loss myself. I did not take the dead animal to you and say that it was not my fault. But I was robbed day and night. 40In the daytime the sun took away my strength, and at night sleep was taken from my eyes by the cold. 41I worked 20 years like a slave for you. For the first 14 years I worked to win your two daughters. The last six years I worked to earn your animals. And during that time you changed my pay ten times. 42But the God of my ancestors, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac,#31:42 Fear of Isaac A name for God. was with me. If God had not been with me, you would have sent me away with nothing. But he saw the trouble that I had and the work that I did, and last night God proved that I am right.”
Jacob and Laban’s Treaty
43Laban said to Jacob, “These women are my daughters. These children belong to me, and these animals are mine. Everything you see here belongs to me, but I can do nothing to keep my daughters and their children. 44So I am ready to make an agreement with you. We will set up a pile of stones to show that we have an agreement.”
45So Jacob found a large rock and put it there to show that he had made an agreement. 46He told his men to find some more rocks and to make a pile of rocks. Then they ate beside the pile of rocks. 47Laban named that place Yegar Sahadutha.#31:47 Yegar Sahadutha Aramaic words meaning “rock pile of the agreement.” But Jacob named that place Galeed.#31:47 Galeed Another name for Gilead. This Hebrew name means “rock pile of the agreement.”
48Laban said to Jacob, “This pile of rocks will help us both remember our agreement.” That is why Jacob called the place Galeed.
49Then Laban said, “Let the Lord watch over us while we are separated from each other.” So that place was also named Mizpah.#31:49 Mizpah This means “a place to watch from.”
50Then Laban said, “If you hurt my daughters, remember that God will punish you. If you marry other women, remember that God is watching. 51Here are the rocks that I have put between us, and here is the special rock to show that we made an agreement. 52This pile of rocks and this one special rock both help us to remember our agreement. I will never go past these rocks to fight against you, and you must never go on my side of these rocks to fight against me. 53May the God of Abraham, the God of Nahor, and the God of their ancestors judge us guilty if we break this agreement.”
Jacob’s father, Isaac, called God “Fear.” So Jacob used that name to make the promise. 54Then Jacob killed an animal and offered it as a sacrifice on the mountain. And he invited his men to come and share a meal. After they finished eating, they spent the night on the mountain. 55Early the next morning Laban kissed his grandchildren and his daughters goodbye. He blessed them and went back home.
31
1And he heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father’s; and of that which was our father’s hath he gotten all this glory. 2And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as beforetime. 3And Jehovah said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee. 4And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock, 5and said unto them, I see your father’s countenance, that it is not toward me as beforetime; but the God of my father hath been with me. 6And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. 7And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me. 8If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the flock bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstreaked shall be thy wages; then bare all the flock ringstreaked. 9Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me. 10And it came to pass at the time that the flock conceive, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the he-goats which leaped upon the flock were ringstreaked, speckled, and grizzled. 11And the angel of God said unto me in the dream, Jacob: and I said, Here am I. 12And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see: all the he-goats which leap upon the flock are ringstreaked, speckled, and grizzled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. 13I am the God of Beth-el, where thou anointedst a pillar, where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy nativity. 14And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father’s house? 15Are we not accounted by him as foreigners? for he hath sold us, and hath also quite devoured our money. 16For all the riches which God hath taken away from our father, that is ours and our children’s: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do.
17Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon the camels; 18and he carried away all his cattle, and all his substance which he had gathered, the cattle of his getting, which he had gathered in Paddan-aram, to go to Isaac his father unto the land of Canaan. 19Now Laban was gone to shear his sheep: and Rachel stole the teraphim that were her father’s. 20And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled. 21So he fled with all that he had; and he rose up, and passed over the River, and set his face toward the mountain of Gilead.
22And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob was fled. 23And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days’ journey; and he overtook him in the mountain of Gilead. 24And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream of the night, and said unto him, Take heed to thyself that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad. 25And Laban came up with Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mountain: and Laban with his brethren encamped in the mountain of Gilead. 26And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou done, that thou hast stolen away unawares to me, and carried away my daughters as captives of the sword? 27Wherefore didst thou flee secretly, and steal away from me, and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth and with songs, with tabret and with harp; 28and didst not suffer me to kiss my sons and my daughters? now hast thou done foolishly. 29It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt: but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take heed to thyself that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad. 30And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father’s house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods? 31And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid: for I said, Lest thou shouldest take thy daughters from me by force. 32With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, he shall not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them.
33And Laban went into Jacob’s tent, and into Leah’s tent, and into the tent of the two maid-servants; but he found them not. And he went out of Leah’s tent, and entered into Rachel’s tent. 34Now Rachel had taken the teraphim, and put them in the camel’s saddle, and sat upon them. And Laban felt about all the tent, but found them not. 35And she said to her father, Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise up before thee; for the manner of women is upon me. And he searched, but found not the teraphim.
36And Jacob was wroth, and chode with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What is my trespass? what is my sin, that thou hast hotly pursued after me? 37Whereas thou hast felt about all my stuff, what hast thou found of all thy household stuff? Set it here before my brethren and thy brethren, that they may judge betwixt us two. 38These twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she-goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flocks have I not eaten. 39That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day or stolen by night. 40Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep fled from mine eyes. 41These twenty years have I been in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy flock: and thou hast changed my wages ten times. 42Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the Fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely now hadst thou sent me away empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labor of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.
43And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, The daughters are my daughters, and the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks, and all that thou seest is mine: and what can I do this day unto these my daughters, or unto their children whom they have borne? 44And now come, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee. 45And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar. 46And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made a heap: and they did eat there by the heap. 47And Laban called it Jegar-saha-dutha: but Jacob called it Galeed. 48And Laban said, This heap is witness between me and thee this day. Therefore was the name of it called Galeed: 49and Mizpah, for he said, Jehovah watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another. 50If thou shalt afflict my daughters, and if thou shalt take wives besides my daughters, no man is with us; see, God is witness betwixt me and thee. 51And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold the pillar, which I have set betwixt me and thee. 52This heap be witness, and the pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm. 53The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us. And Jacob sware by the Fear of his father Isaac. 54And Jacob offered a sacrifice in the mountain, and called his brethren to eat bread: and they did eat bread, and tarried all night in the mountain. 55And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them: and Laban departed, and returned unto his place.