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Genesis 31

31
1But after that he heard the words of the sons of Laban, saying: Jacob hath taken away all that was our father's, and being enriched by his substance is become great.
2And perceiving also that Laban's countenance was not towards him as yesterday and the other day,
3Especially the Lord saying to him: Return into the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred, and I will be with thee.
4He sent, and called Rachel and Lia, into the field, where he fed the flocks,
5And said to them: I see your father's countenance is not towards me as yesterday and the other day: but the God of my father hath been with me.
6And you know that I have served your father to the utmost of my power.
7Yea, your father also hath over-reached me, and hath changed my wages ten times: and yet God hath not suffered him to hurt me.
8If at any time he said: The speckled shall be thy wages: all the sheep brought forth speckled. But when he said on the contrary: Thou shalt take all the white ones for thy wages: All the flocks brought forth white ones.
9And God hath taken your father's substance, and given it to me.
10For after that time came of the ewes conceiving, I lifted up my eyes, and saw in my sleep that the males which leaped upon the females were of divers colours, and spotted, and speckled.
11And the angel of God said to me in my sleep: Jacob? And I answered: Here I am.
12And he said: Lift up thy eyes, and see that all the males leaping upon the females, are of divers colours, spotted, and speckled. For I have seen all that Laban hath done to thee.
13I am the God of Bethel, where thou didst anoint the stone, and make a vow to me. Now therefore arise, and go out of this land, and return into thy native country.
14And Rachel and Lia answered: Have we any thing left among the goods and inheritance of our father's house?
15Hath he not counted us as strangers and sold us, and eaten up the price of us?
16But God hath taken our father's riches, and delivered them to us, and to our children: wherefore do all that God hath commanded thee.
17Then Jacob rose up, and having set his children and wives upon camels, went his way.
18And he took all his substance, and flocks, and whatsoever he had gotten in Mesopotamia: and went forward to Isaac his father to the land of Chanaan.
19At that time Laban was gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel stole away her father's idols.
20And Jacob would not confess to his father-in-law that he was flying away.
21And when he was gone, together with all that belonged to him, and having passed the river, was going on towards mount Galaad,
22It was told Laban on the third day that Jacob fled.
23And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days; and overtook him in the mount of Galaad.
24And he saw in a dream God saying to him: Take heed thou speak not any thing harshly against Jacob.
25Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mountain: and when he with his brethren had overtaken him, he pitched his tent in the same mount of Galaad.
26And he said to Jacob: Why hast thou done thus, to carry away, without my knowledge, my daughters, as captives taken with the sword?
27Why wouldst thou run away privately and not acquaint me, that I might have brought thee on the way with joy, and with songs, and with timbrels, and with harps?
28Thou hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and daughters: thou hast done foolishly: and now, indeed,
29It is in my power to return thee evil: but the God of your father said to me yesterday: Take heed thou speak not any thing harshly against Jacob.
30Suppose thou didst desire to go to thy friends, and hadst a longing after thy father's house: why hast thou stolen away my gods?
31Jacob answered: That I departed unknown to thee, it was for fear lest thou wouldst take away thy daughters by force.
32But whereas thou chargest me with theft: with whomsoever thou shalt find thy gods, let him be slain before our brethren. Search, and if thou find any of thy things with me, take them away. Now when he said this, he knew not that Rachel had stolen the idols.
33So Laban went into the tent of Jacob, and of Lia, and of both the handmaids, and found them not. And when he was entered into Rachel's tent,
34She in haste hid the idols under the camel's furniture, and sat upon them: and when he had searched all the tent, and found nothing,
35She said: Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise up before thee, because it has now happened to me, according to the custom of women. So his careful search was in vain.
36And Jacob being angry, said in a chiding manner: For what fault of mine, and for what offence on my part hast thou so hotly pursued me,
37And searched all my household stuff? What hast thou found of all the substance of thy house? Lay it here before my brethren, and thy brethren, and let them judge between me and thee.
38Have I therefore been with thee twenty years? Thy ewes and goats were not barren, the rams of thy flocks I did not eat.
39Neither did I shew thee that which the beast had torn. I made good all the damage: whatsoever was lost by theft, thou didst exact it of me.
40Day and night was I parched with heat, and with frost; and sleep departed from my eyes.
41And in this manner have I served thee in thy house twenty years; fourteen for thy daughters, and six for thy flocks: thou hast changed also my wages ten times.
42Unless the God of my father Abraham, and the fear of Isaac had stood by me, peradventure now thou hadst sent me away naked: God beheld my affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesterday.
43Laban answered him: The daughters are mine and the children, and thy flocks, and all things that thou seest are mine: what can I do to my children, and grandchildren?
44Come therefore, let us enter into a league: that it may be for a testimony between me and thee.
45And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a title.
46And he said to his brethren: Bring hither stones. And they gathering stones together, made a heap, and they ate upon it.
47And Laban called it, The witness heap: and Jacob, The hillock of testimony: each of them according to the propriety of his language.
48And Laban said: This heap shall be a witness between me and thee this day; and therefore the name thereof was called Galaad, that is, The witness heap.
49The Lord behold and judge between us when we shall be gone one from the other,
50If thou afflict my daughters, and if thou bring in other wives over them: None is witness of our speech but God, who is present and beholdeth.
51And he said again to Jacob: Behold, this heap, and the stone which I have set up between me and thee,
52Shall be a witness: this heap, I say, and the stone, be they for a testimony, if either I shall pass beyond it going towards thee, or thou shalt pass beyond it, thinking harm to me.
53The God of Abraham, and the God of Nachor, the God of their father, judge between us. And jacob swore by the fear of his father Isaac.
54And after he had offered sacrifices in the mountain, he called his brethren to eat bread. And when they had eaten, they lodged there:
55But Laban arose in the night, and kissed his sons, and daughters, and blessed them: and 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.