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Genesis 31

31
Jacob’s Second and Third Encounters with God
1Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were saying, “Jacob has taken everything that belonged to our father and has gained all his wealth from him.” 2He also noticed that Laban did not appear as friendly to him as before.
3Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your ancestors and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”
4So Jacob sent a message to Rachel and Leah to come out to the open country where his flocks were. 5He said to them, “I have seen that your father isn’t as friendly to me as he was before, but the God of my father has been with me. 6You know that I have worked as hard as I could for your father. 7Your father has cheated me. He has changed my wages 10 times. But God hasn’t let him harm me. 8Whenever he said, ‘The speckled ones will be your wages,’ all the flocks gave birth to speckled young. And whenever he said, ‘The striped ones will be your wages,’ all the flocks gave birth to striped young. 9So God has taken away your father’s livestock and has given them to me.
10“During the mating season I had a dream: I looked up and saw that the male goats which were mating were striped, speckled, or spotted. 11In the dream the Messenger of God called to me, ‘Jacob!’ And I answered, ‘Yes, here I am.’ 12He said, ‘Look up and see that all the male goats which are mating are striped, speckled, or spotted, because I have seen everything that Laban is doing to you. 13I am the God who appeared to you at Bethel,#31:13 Greek; Masoretic Text “the God at Bethel.” where you poured olive oil on a stone marker for a holy purpose and where you made a vow to me. Now leave this land, and go back to the land of your relatives.’ ”
14Rachel and Leah answered him, “Is there anything left in our father’s household for us to inherit? 15Doesn’t he think of us as foreigners? Not only did he sell us, but he has used up the money that was paid for us. 16Certainly, all the wealth that God took away from our father belongs to us and our children. Now do whatever God has told you.”
Laban and Jacob Make Peace
17Then Jacob put his children and his wives on camels. 18He drove all his livestock ahead of him and took all the possessions that he had accumulated. He took his own livestock that he had accumulated in Paddan Aram and went back to his father Isaac in Canaan.
19When Laban went to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father’s idols. 20Jacob also tricked Laban the Aramean by not telling him he was leaving. 21So he left in a hurry with all that belonged to him. He crossed the Euphrates River and went toward the mountains of Gilead.
22Two days later Laban was told that Jacob had left in a hurry. 23He and his relatives pursued Jacob for seven days. Laban caught up with him in the mountains of Gilead.
24God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and said to him, “Be careful not to say anything at all to Jacob.”
25When Laban finally caught up with Jacob, Jacob had put up his tents in the mountains. So Laban and his relatives put up their tents in the mountains of Gilead. 26Then Laban asked Jacob, “What have you done by tricking me? You’ve carried off my daughters like prisoners of war. 27Why did you leave secretly and trick me? You didn’t even tell me you were leaving. I would have sent you on your way rejoicing, with songs accompanied by tambourines and lyres. 28You didn’t even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters. You’ve done a foolish thing. 29I have the power to harm you. Last night the God of your father said to me, ‘Be careful not to say anything at all to Jacob.’ 30Now you have left for your father’s home because you were so homesick. But why did you steal my gods?”
31Jacob answered Laban, “I left because I was afraid. I thought you would take your daughters away from me by force. 32If you find your gods, the one who has them will not be allowed to live. In the presence of our relatives, search as much as you want through what I have, and take what is yours.” (Jacob didn’t know that Rachel had stolen the gods.)
33So Laban went into Jacob’s tent, into Leah’s tent, and into the tent of the two slaves. But he found nothing. He came out of Leah’s tent and went into Rachel’s tent. 34Rachel had taken the idols and had put them in her camel’s saddle-bag and was sitting on them. Laban rummaged through the whole tent but found nothing.
35Rachel said to her father, “Don’t be angry, Father, but I can’t get up to greet you; I’m having my period.” So even though Laban had made a thorough search, he didn’t find the idols.
36Then Jacob became angry and confronted Laban. “What is my crime?” Jacob demanded of Laban. “What is my offense that you have come chasing after me? 37Now that you’ve rummaged through all my things, did you find anything from your house? Put it here in front of all our relatives. Let them decide which one of us is right.
38“I’ve been with you for 20 years. Your sheep and goats never miscarried, and I never ate any rams from your flocks. 39I never brought you any of the flock that was killed by wild animals. I paid for the loss myself. That’s what you demanded of me when any of the flock was stolen during the day or at night. 40The scorching heat during the day and the cold at night wore me down, and I lost a lot of sleep. 41I’ve been with your household 20 years now. I worked for you 14 years for your two daughters and 6 years for your flocks, and you changed my wages 10 times. 42If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac,#31:42 Or “Protection of Isaac.” had not been with me, you would have sent me away empty-handed by now. God has seen my misery and hard work, and last night he made it right.”
43Then Laban answered Jacob, “These are my daughters, my grandchildren, and my flocks. Everything you see is mine! Yet, what can I do today for my daughters or for their children? 44Now, let’s make an agreement and let it stand as a witness between you and me.”
45Jacob took a stone and set it up as a marker. 46Then Jacob said to his relatives, “Gather some stones.” They took stones, put them into a pile, and ate there by the pile of stones. 47⌞In his language⌟ Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha [Witness Pile], but Jacob called it Galeed.#31:47 Galeed is the Hebrew equivalent of the Aramaic words Jegar Sahadutha.
48Laban said, “This pile of stones stands as a witness between you and me today.” This is why it was named Galeed 49and also Mizpah [Watchtower], because he said, “May the Lord watch between you and me when we’re unable to see each other. 50If you mistreat my daughters or marry other women behind my back, remember that God stands as a witness between you and me.”
51Laban said to Jacob, “Here is the pile of stones, and here is the marker that I have set up between you and me. 52This pile of stones and this marker stand as witnesses that I will not go past the pile of stones to harm you, and that you will not go past the pile of stones or marker to harm me. 53May the God of Abraham and Nahor—the God of their father—judge between us.”
So Jacob swore this oath by the Fear of his father Isaac 54and offered a sacrifice on the mountain. He invited his relatives to eat the meal with him. They ate with him and spent the night on the mountain.#31:54 Genesis 31:55 in English Bibles is Genesis 32:1 in the Hebrew Bible.
55Early the next morning Laban kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then Laban left and went back home.
31
Jacob Flees From Laban
1#Ecc 4:4Now Jacob heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, “Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s, and he has gotten all his wealth from what was our father’s.” 2#Ge 4:5Jacob saw the look of Laban and saw he was not congenial toward him as before.
3#Ge 28:15; 32:9; 31:13Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers, to your family, and I will be with you.”
4So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field where his flock was, 5#Ge 31:2–3; 31:42and said to them, “I see your father’s demeanor, that it is not congenial toward me as before; but the God of my father has been with me. 6#Ge 30:29You know that with all my strength I have served your father. 7#Ge 31:29; 31:41Your father has deceived me and changed my wages ten times, but God did not allow him to hurt me. 8#Ge 30:32If he said, ‘The speckled will be your wages,’ then all the flock produced speckled. If he said, ‘The striped will be your pay,’ then all the flock produced striped. 9#Ge 31:1; 31:16In this way God has taken away your father’s flock and given them to me.
10“When the livestock conceived, I lifted up my eyes and saw in a dream that the male goats mating with the flock were striped, speckled, and spotted. 11#Ge 31:13The angel of God spoke to me in a dream, saying, ‘Jacob.’ And I said, ‘Here I am.’ 12#Ex 3:7He said, ‘Now lift up your eyes and see all the male goats which mate with the flock are striped, speckled, and spotted, for I have seen all that Laban has done to you. 13#Ge 32:9; 31:3I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar, where you vowed a vow to Me. Now arise, and get out of this land, and return to the land of your family.’ ”
14Rachel and Leah answered him, “Is there any portion or inheritance left for us in our father’s house? 15#Ge 29:15–20; 30:26Are we not seen by him as foreigners? For he has sold us and has completely spent our money also. 16For all the riches which God has taken from our father are ours and our children’s. Now then, whatever God has said to you, do it.”
17Then Jacob rose up and set his sons and his wives on camels. 18Then he carried away all his livestock and all his goods which he had obtained, his acquired livestock which he had gotten in Paddan Aram, in order to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan.
19#Ge 31:30; 1Sa 19:13When Laban went to shear his sheep, Rachel stole the household idols that were her father’s. 20Jacob also deceived Laban the Syrian by not telling him that he was fleeing. 21#2Ki 12:17So Jacob fled with all that he had, and he rose up and passed over the river and headed toward the mountains of Gilead.
Laban Pursues Jacob
22Laban was told on the third day that Jacob had fled. 23He took his kinsmen with him and pursued him for seven days until he caught up with him in the mountains of Gilead. 24#Ge 20:3; 24:50; 31:29But God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night and said to him, “Take care that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad.”
25Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent on the mountain, and Laban with his kinsmen pitched in the mountains of Gilead. 26#1Sa 30:2Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done that you have stolen away without my knowing and carried away my daughters like captives taken with the sword? 27#Ex 15:20Why did you flee away secretly and sneak away from me and not tell me? I would have sent you away with joy and with songs, with the tambourine and harp. 28#Ge 31:55; Ru 1:9And why did you not permit me to kiss my sons and my daughters farewell? You have acted foolishly in so doing. 29#Ge 31:53; 31:42It is in my power to do you harm, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Take care that you not speak to Jacob either good or bad.’ 30#Ge 31:19; Jdg 18:24Now you surely have gone away because you longed desperately after your father’s house, yet why have you stolen my gods?”
31Then Jacob answered and said to Laban, “Because I was afraid, for I thought that you would take your daughters from me by force. 32But anyone with whom you find your gods, let him not live. In the presence of our kinsmen, point out what I have that is yours and take it.” For Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them.
33So Laban went into Jacob’s tent and into Leah’s tent and into the two female servants’ tents, but he did not find them. Then he went out of Leah’s tent and entered into Rachel’s tent. 34Now Rachel had taken the household idols and put them in the camel’s saddle and sat on them. Laban searched the entire tent, but could not find them.
35#Lev 19:32; Ex 20:12She said to her father, “Let not my lord be displeased that I cannot rise before you, for the manner of women is on me.” So he searched, but he did not find the household idols.
36Then Jacob became angry and berated Laban. And Jacob asked Laban, “What is my offense? What is my sin that you have so hotly pursued after me? 37You have searched all my things, and yet what have you found of all your household things? Set it here before my kinsmen and your kinsmen, so that they may judge between us both.
38“This twenty years I have been with you. Your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried their young, and the male goats of your flock I have not eaten. 39That which was torn by beasts I did not bring to you. I bore the loss of it. You required it from my hand whether it was stolen by day or stolen by night. 40It was like this with me: In the day the heat consumed me and the frost by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes. 41#Ge 31:7I have been twenty years 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. 42#Ge 29:32; 31:29If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, surely you would have sent me away empty now. God has seen my affliction and the labor of my hands and rebuked you last night.”
Laban’s Covenant With Jacob
43Laban answered and said to Jacob, “These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine. But what can I do this day to my daughters or to their children whom they have borne? 44Now therefore come, let us make a covenant, you and I, and let it be as a witness between you and me.”
45So Jacob took a stone and set it up for a pillar. 46Jacob said to his kinsmen, “Gather stones.” So they took stones and made a pile, and they ate there on the pile. 47And Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha, but Jacob called it Galeed.
48#Jos 24:27Laban said, “This pile is a witness between me and you this day.” Therefore its name was called Galeed, 49#Jdg 11:29and Mizpah, for he said, “May the Lord watch between you and me, when we are apart from one another. 50#Jer 42:5; 29:23If you mistreat my daughters, or if you take other wives beside my daughters, although no one else is with us, remember that God is witness between you and me.”
51Then Laban said to Jacob, “See this pile and see this pillar which I have thrown between you and me. 52This heap is a witness, and this pillar is a witness, so that I will not cross over this pile to you and so that you will not pass over this pile and this pillar to me for harm. 53#Ge 31:42; 16:5The God of Abraham, the God of Nahor, and the God of their father, judge between us.”
Then Jacob vowed by the Fear of his father Isaac. 54#Ex 18:12Then Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain and called his kinsmen to eat bread. And they ate bread and stayed all night on the mountain.
55#Ge 31:28; 18:33Early in the morning Laban rose up, kissed his grandchildren and his daughters, and blessed them. Then Laban departed and returned to his place.