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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
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.