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Genesis 31

31
1 But afterwards, he heard the words of the sons of Laban, saying, "Jacob has taken all that was our father's, and being enlarged by his ability, he has become famous."
2 Likewise, he observed that Laban's face was not the same toward him as it was yesterday and the day before.
3 Most importantly, the Lord was saying to him, "Return to the land of your fathers and to your generation, and I will be with you."
4 He sent and called for Rachel and Leah, in the field where he pastured the flocks,
5 and he said to them: "I see that your father's face is not the same toward me as it was yesterday and the day before. But the God of my father has been with me.
6 And you know that I have served your father with all my strength.
7 Even so, your father has circumvented me, and he has changed my wages ten times. And yet God has not permitted him to harm me.
8 Whenever he said, 'The speckled will be your wages,' all the sheep gave birth to speckled newborns. Yet truly, when he said the contrary, 'You will take whatever is white for your wages,' all the flocks gave birth to white ones.
9 And it is God who has taken your father's substance and given it to me.
10 For after the time had arrived for the ewes to conceive, I lifted up my eyes, and I saw in my sleep that the males climbing on the females were of variegated, and spotted, and diverse colors.
11 And the Angel of God said to me in my sleep, 'Jacob.' And I responded, 'Here I am.'
12 And he said: 'Lift up your eyes, and see that all the males climbing on the females are variegated, spotted, and also speckled. For I have seen all that Laban has done to you.
13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the stone and made a vow to me. Now therefore arise, and depart from this land, returning to the land of your nativity.' "
14 And Rachel and Leah responded: "Have we anything left behind among the resources and inheritance of our father's house?
15 Has he not considered us as foreigners, and sold us, and consumed our price?
16 But God has taken our father's riches and handed these to us and to our sons. Therefore, do all that God has instructed you."
17 And so Jacob rose up, and having placed the children and his wives upon camels, he went forth.
18 And he took all his substance and flocks, and whatever he had acquired in Mesopotamia, and he journeyed to his father Isaac, in the land of Canaan.
19 At that time, Laban had gone to shear the sheep, and so Rachel stole her father's idols.
20 And Jacob was not willing to confess to his father-in-law that he was fleeing.
21 And when he had gone away with all such things that were justly his, and, having crossed the river, was continuing on toward Mount Gilead,
22 it was reported to Laban on the third day that Jacob had fled.
23 And taking his brothers with him, he pursued him for seven days. And he overtook him at Mount Gilead.
24 And he saw in a dream, God saying to him, "Beware that you not speak anything harsh against Jacob."
25 And now Jacob had pitched his tent at the mountain. And when he, with his brothers, had overtaken him, he set his tent at the same place at Mount Gilead.
26 And he said to Jacob: "Why have you acted this way, departing from me in secret, with my daughters like captives of the sword?
27 Why would you want to flee without my knowledge and without telling me, though I might have led you forward with gladness, and songs, and timbrels, and lyres?
28 You have not permitted me to kiss my sons and daughters. You have acted foolishly. And now, indeed,
29 my hand has power to repay you with harm. But the God of your father said to me yesterday, 'Beware that you not speak anything stern against Jacob.'
30 It may be that you desired to go to your own, and that you longed for the house of your father. But why have you stolen my gods?"
31 Jacob answered: "I set out, unknown to you, because I feared that you might take away your daughters by violence.
32 But, since you accuse me of theft, with whomever you will find your gods, let him be slain in the sight of our brothers. Search; anything of yours that you will find with me, take it away." Now when he said this, he did not know that Rachel had stolen the idols.
33 And so Laban, entering the tent of Jacob, and of Leah, and of both the handmaids, did not find them. And when he had entered the tent of Rachel,
34 she quickly hid the idols under the camel's bedding, and she sat upon them. And when he had searched the entire tent and found nothing,
35 she said: "Do not be angry, my lord, that I am unable to rise up in your sight, because it has now happened to me according to the custom of women." So his careful search was thwarted.
36 And Jacob, being inflated, said with contention: "For which fault of mine, or for what sin of mine, have you become so enraged against me
37 and searched all the items of my house? What have you found from all the substance of your house? Place it here before my brothers, and your brothers, and let them judge between me and you.
38 For what reason have I been with you for twenty years? Your ewes and she-goats were not barren; the rams of your flocks I did not consume.
39 Neither did I reveal to you what was seized by the wild beast. I replaced all that was damaged. Whatever was lost by theft, you collected it from me.
40 Day and night, I was burned by heat and by frost, and sleep fled from my eyes.
41 And in this way, for twenty years, I have served you in your house: fourteen for your daughters, and six for your flocks. You have also changed my wages ten times.
42 If the God of my father Abraham and the fear of Isaac had not been close to me, perhaps by now you would have sent me away naked. But God looked kindly on my affliction and the labor of my hands, and he rebuked you yesterday."
43 Laban answered him: "My daughters and sons, and your flocks, and all that you discern are mine. What can I do to my sons and grandchildren?
44 Come, therefore, let us enter into a pact, so that it may be a testimony between me and you."
45 And so Jacob took a stone, and he set it up as a memorial.
46 And he said to his brothers, "Bring stones." And they, gathering together stones, made a tomb, and they ate upon it.
47 And Laban called it, 'Tomb of Witness,' and Jacob, 'Pile of Testimony;' each of them according to the fitness of his own language.
48 And Laban said: "This tomb will be a witness between me and you this day." (And for this reason, its name has been called Gilead, that is, 'Tomb of Witness.')
49 "May the Lord consider and judge between us, when we will have withdrawn from one another.
50 If you afflict my daughters, and if you bring in other wives over them, no one is a witness of our words except God, who understands beforehand."
51 And again he said to Jacob. "Lo, this tomb and the stone that I have set up between me and you,
52 will be a witness. This tomb," I say, "and the stone, they are for testimony, in case either I cross beyond it going toward you, or you cross beyond it thinking to harm me.
53 May the God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us." Therefore, Jacob swore by the fear of his father Isaac.
54 And after he had immolated sacrifices on the mountain, he called his brothers to eat bread. And when they had eaten, they lodged there.
55 In truth, Laban rose up in the night, and he kissed his sons and daughters, and he blessed them. And he returned to his place.
31
1-2Jacob learned that Laban’s sons were talking behind his back: “Jacob has used our father’s wealth to make himself rich at our father’s expense.” At the same time, Jacob noticed that Laban had changed toward him. He wasn’t treating him the same.
3That’s when God said to Jacob, “Go back home where you were born. I’ll go with you.”
4-9So Jacob sent word for Rachel and Leah to meet him out in the field where his flocks were. He said, “I notice that your father has changed toward me; he doesn’t treat me the same as before. But the God of my father hasn’t changed; he’s still with me. You know how hard I’ve worked for your father. Still, your father has cheated me over and over, changing my wages time and again. But God never let him really hurt me. If he said, ‘Your wages will consist of speckled animals’ the whole flock would start having speckled lambs and kids. And if he said, ‘From now on your wages will be streaked animals’ the whole flock would have streaked ones. Over and over God used your father’s livestock to reward me.
10-11“Once, while the flocks were mating, I had a dream and saw the billy goats, all of them streaked, speckled, and mottled, mounting their mates. In the dream an angel of God called out to me, ‘Jacob!’
“I said, ‘Yes?’
12-13“He said, ‘Watch closely. Notice that all the goats in the flock that are mating are streaked, speckled, and mottled. I know what Laban’s been doing to you. I’m the God of Bethel where you consecrated a pillar and made a vow to me. Now be on your way, get out of this place, go home to your birthplace.’”
14-16Rachel and Leah said, “Has he treated us any better? Aren’t we treated worse than outsiders? All he wanted was the money he got from selling us, and he’s spent all that. Any wealth that God has seen fit to return to us from our father is justly ours and our children’s. Go ahead. Do what God told you.”
17-18Jacob did it. He put his children and his wives on camels and gathered all his livestock and everything he had gotten, everything acquired in Paddan Aram, to go back home to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.
19-21Laban was off shearing sheep. Rachel stole her father’s household gods. And Jacob had concealed his plans so well that Laban the Aramean had no idea what was going on—he was totally in the dark. Jacob got away with everything he had and was soon across the Euphrates headed for the hill country of Gilead.
22-24Three days later, Laban got the news: “Jacob’s run off.” Laban rounded up his relatives and chased after him. Seven days later they caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead. That night God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream and said, “Be careful what you do to Jacob, whether good or bad.”
25When Laban reached him, Jacob’s tents were pitched in the Gilead mountains; Laban pitched his tents there, too.
26-30“What do you mean,” said Laban, “by keeping me in the dark and sneaking off, hauling my daughters off like prisoners of war? Why did you run off like a thief in the night? Why didn’t you tell me? Why, I would have sent you off with a great celebration—music, timbrels, flutes! But you wouldn’t permit me so much as a kiss for my daughters and grandchildren. It was a stupid thing for you to do. If I had a mind to, I could destroy you right now, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, ‘Be careful what you do to Jacob, whether good or bad.’ I understand. You left because you were homesick. But why did you steal my household gods?”
31-32Jacob answered Laban, “I was afraid. I thought you would take your daughters away from me by brute force. But as far as your gods are concerned, if you find that anybody here has them, that person dies. With all of us watching, look around. If you find anything here that belongs to you, take it.” Jacob didn’t know that Rachel had stolen the gods.
33-35Laban went through Jacob’s tent, Leah’s tent, and the tents of the two maids but didn’t find them. He went from Leah’s tent to Rachel’s. But Rachel had taken the household gods, put them inside a camel cushion, and was sitting on them. When Laban had gone through the tent, searching high and low without finding a thing, Rachel said to her father, “Don’t think I’m being disrespectful, my master, that I can’t stand before you, but I’m having my period.” So even though he turned the place upside down in his search, he didn’t find the household gods.
36-37Now it was Jacob’s turn to get angry. He lit into Laban: “So what’s my crime, what wrong have I done you that you badger me like this? You’ve ransacked the place. Have you turned up a single thing that’s yours? Let’s see it—display the evidence. Our two families can be the jury and decide between us.
38-42“In the twenty years I’ve worked for you, ewes and she-goats never miscarried. I never feasted on the rams from your flock. I never brought you a torn carcass killed by wild animals but that I paid for it out of my own pocket—actually, you made me pay whether it was my fault or not. I was out in all kinds of weather, from torrid heat to freezing cold, putting in many a sleepless night. For twenty years I’ve done this: I slaved away fourteen years for your two daughters and another six years for your flock and you changed my wages ten times. If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not stuck with me, you would have sent me off penniless. But God saw the fix I was in and how hard I had worked and last night rendered his verdict.”
43-44Laban defended himself: “The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, the flock is my flock—everything you see is mine. But what can I do about my daughters or for the children they’ve had? So let’s settle things between us, make a covenant—God will be the witness between us.”
45Jacob took a stone and set it upright as a pillar.
46-47Jacob called his family around, “Get stones!” They gathered stones and heaped them up and then ate there beside the pile of stones. Laban named it in Aramaic, Yegar-sahadutha (Witness Monument); Jacob echoed the naming in Hebrew, Galeed (Witness Monument).
48-50Laban said, “This monument of stones will be a witness, beginning now, between you and me.” (That’s why it is called Galeed—Witness Monument.) It is also called Mizpah (Watchtower) because Laban said, “God keep watch between you and me when we are out of each other’s sight. If you mistreat my daughters or take other wives when there’s no one around to see you, God will see you and stand witness between us.”
51-53Laban continued to Jacob, “This monument of stones and this stone pillar that I have set up is a witness, a witness that I won’t cross this line to hurt you and you won’t cross this line to hurt me. The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor (the God of their ancestor) will keep things straight between us.”
53-55Jacob promised, swearing by the Fear, the God of his father Isaac. Then Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain and worshiped, calling in all his family members to the meal. They ate and slept that night on the mountain. Laban got up early the next morning, kissed his grandchildren and his daughters, blessed them, and then set off for home.