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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
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.