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Genesis 31

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.
31
Jacob Flees from Laban
1Now Jacob heard that the sons of Laban were saying, “Jacob has taken all that was our father’s, and from what was our father’s he has gained all this wealth.” 2And Jacob saw #ch. 4:5that Laban did not regard him with favor as before. 3Then the Lord said to Jacob, #ver. 13; ch. 28:15; 32:9“Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you.”
4So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah into the field where his flock was 5and said to them, #ver. 2 “I see that your father does not regard me with favor as he did before. But the God of my father #ver. 3has been with me. 6#ver. 38-40; ch. 30:29You know that I have served your father with all my strength, 7yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages #ver. 41; [Num. 14:22; Neh. 4:12; Job 19:3; Zech. 8:23]ten times. But God did not permit him to harm me. 8If he said, #ch. 30:32‘The spotted shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore spotted; and if he said, ‘The striped shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore striped. 9Thus God has #ver. 1taken away the livestock of your father and given them to me. 10In the breeding season of the flock I lifted up my eyes and saw in a dream that the goats that mated with the flock were striped, spotted, and mottled. 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 goats that mate with the flock are striped, spotted, and mottled, for #[Ex. 3:7]I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. 13I am the God of Bethel, #See ch. 28:18-22 where you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me. Now #ver. 3; ch. 32:9arise, go out from this land and return to the land of your kindred.’” 14Then Rachel and Leah answered and said to him, “Is there #[2 Sam. 20:1; 1 Kgs. 12:16]any portion or inheritance left to us in our father’s house? 15Are we not regarded by him as foreigners? For #ch. 30:26; See ch. 29:15-20, 27he has sold us, and he has indeed devoured our money. 16All the wealth that God has taken away from our father belongs to us and to our children. Now then, whatever God has said to you, do.”
17So Jacob arose and set his sons and his wives on camels. 18He drove away all his livestock, all his property that he had gained, the livestock in his possession that he had acquired in #ch. 25:20; 28:2, 6, 7Paddan-aram, to go to the land of Canaan to his father Isaac. 19Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel stole her father’s #ver. 30, 34; [Judg. 17:5; 1 Sam. 15:23; 19:13; Ezek. 21:21; Hos. 3:4; Zech. 10:2]household gods. 20And Jacob tricked#31:20 Hebrew stole the heart of; also verses 26, 27 Laban the Aramean, by not telling him that he intended to flee. 21He fled with all that he had and arose and crossed the #Ex. 23:31; Ps. 72:8 Euphrates,#31:21 Hebrew the River and #2 Kgs. 12:17; Luke 9:51set his face toward the hill country of Gilead.
22When it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob had fled, 23he took his kinsmen with him and pursued him for seven days and followed close after him into the hill country of Gilead. 24But God came to Laban the Aramean #See ch. 20:3 in a dream by night and said to him, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, #ch. 24:50; Num. 24:13; 2 Sam. 13:22either good or bad.”
25And Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country, and Laban with his kinsmen pitched tents in the hill country of Gilead. 26And Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done, that you have #ver. 20tricked me and driven away my daughters like captives of the sword? 27Why did you flee secretly #[See ver. 26 above]and trick me, and did not tell me, so that I might have sent you away with mirth and songs, with tambourine and lyre? 28And why did you not permit me #ver. 55; Ruth 1:9, 14; 1 Kgs. 19:20; Acts 20:37to kiss my sons and my daughters farewell? Now you have done foolishly. 29It is #Deut. 28:32; Neh. 5:5 (Heb.); Prov. 3:27; Mic. 2:1 in my power to do you harm. But the #ver. 42, 53; ch. 28:13 God of your#31:29 The Hebrew for your is plural here father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, #ver. 24either good or bad.’ 30And now you have gone away because you longed greatly for your father’s house, but why did you #ver. 19; Judg. 18:24steal my gods?” 31Jacob answered and said to Laban, “Because I was afraid, for I thought that you would take your daughters from me by force. 32#[ch. 44:9]Anyone with whom you find your gods shall not live. In the presence of our kinsmen point out what I have that is yours, and take it.” Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them.
33So Laban went into Jacob’s tent and into Leah’s tent and into the tent of the two female servants, but he did not find them. And he went out of Leah’s tent and entered Rachel’s. 34Now Rachel had taken the household gods and put them in the camel’s saddle and sat on them. Laban felt all about the tent, but did not find them. 35And she said to her father, “Let not my lord be angry that I cannot #[Lev. 19:32]rise before you, for the way of women is upon me.” So he searched but did not find the household gods.
36Then Jacob became angry and berated Laban. Jacob said to Laban, “What is my offense? What is my sin, that you have hotly pursued me? 37For you have felt through all my goods; what have you found of all your household goods? Set it here before my kinsmen and #ver. 54your kinsmen, that they may decide between us two. 38These twenty years I have been with you. Your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried, and I have not eaten the rams of your flocks. 39What was torn by wild beasts I did not bring to you. I bore the loss of it myself. #[Ex. 22:12]From my hand you required it, whether stolen by day or stolen by night. 40There I was: by 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. #ch. 29:27, 28 I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and #ver. 7you have changed my wages ten times. 42#Ps. 124:1, 2 If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the #ver. 53 Fear of Isaac, had not been on my side, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. #See ch. 29:32 God saw my affliction and the labor of my hands and #ver. 29rebuked you last night.”
43Then Laban answered and said to Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine. But what can I do this day for these my daughters or for their children whom they have borne? 44Come now, #ch. 26:28 let us make a covenant, you and I. #Josh. 24:27And let it be a witness between you and me.” 45So Jacob #ch. 28:18took a stone and set it up as a pillar. 46And Jacob said to his kinsmen, “Gather stones.” And they took stones and made a heap, and they ate there by the heap. 47Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha,#31:47 Aramaic the heap of witness but Jacob called it Galeed.#31:47 Hebrew the heap of witness 48Laban said, #ver. 44“This heap is a witness between you and me today.” Therefore he named it Galeed, 49#Judg. 11:29, 34and Mizpah,#31:49 Mizpah means watchpost for he said, “The Lord watch between you and me, when we are out of one another’s sight. 50If you oppress my daughters, or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no one is with us, see, #Judg. 11:10; 1 Sam. 12:5; Jer. 42:5; Mic. 1:2; [Job 16:19]God is witness between you and me.”
51Then Laban said to Jacob, “See this heap and the pillar, which I have set between you and me. 52#ver. 43, 44This heap is a witness, and the pillar is a witness, that I will not pass over this heap to you, and you will not pass over this heap and this pillar to me, to do harm. 53The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.” So Jacob swore by the #ver. 42Fear of his father Isaac, 54and Jacob offered a sacrifice in the hill country and called #ver. 37his kinsmen to eat bread. They ate bread and spent the night in the hill country.
55 # 31:55 Ch 32:1 in Hebrew Early in the morning Laban arose and kissed #ver. 28, 43his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then Laban departed and returned home.