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Genesis 31

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.
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.