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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
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.