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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 Secretly Leaves Laban
1Now Jacob heard the words Laban’s sons were saying, “Jacob has taken everything that belongs to our father, and from what belongs to our father he has made all these riches.”
2Then Jacob saw Laban’s face, and he noticed that his expression wasn’t the same as it was just a day or two before.
3Then Adonai said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”
4So Jacob sent and called for Rachel and Leah to come to the field, to his flock.
5He said to them, “I can see by your father’s face that his expression isn’t the same as it was just a day or two ago. But the God of my father has been with me.
6Now you yourselves know that I’ve served your father with all my strength.
7Yet your father has fooled around with me and has changed my salary ten times—but God hasn’t allowed him to harm me.
8If he would say, ‘the spotted ones will be your salary,’ then the flocks would give birth to spotted ones. Or if he would say, ‘the striped ones will be your salary,’ then all the flocks would give birth to striped ones.
9So God has taken away your father’s livestock and has given them to me.
10Now it happened when the flocks were in heat that I lifted up my eyes and saw, in a dream, behold, the males going up to the flocks were striped, spotted and speckled.
11Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob,’ and I said, ‘Hineni.’
12He said, ‘Lift up your eyes and see that all the males going up to the flocks are striped, spotted and speckled. For I have seen everything Laban has done to you.
13I am the God of Beth-El where you anointed a memorial stone, where you made a vow to Me. Get up now and leave this land, and return to the land of your relatives.’”
14Then Rachel answered along with Leah and they said to him, “Is there still a portion and inheritance for us in our father’s house?
15Aren’t we considered foreigners to him? For he has sold us and has also completely used up our bridal price.
16For all the riches that God has taken away from our father is for us and for our children. So now, everything God said to you, do it!”
17Then Jacob got up and put his children and wives on camels.
18He drove away all his livestock and all his possessions that he had acquired—the livestock in his possession that he acquired in Paddan-aram—to go to his father Isaac, to the land of Canaan.
19But while Laban went to shear his flocks, Rachel stole the idols that belonged to her father,
20while Jacob stole the heart from Laban the Aramean by not telling him that he was fleeing.
21He himself fled with everything that belonged to him, and he got up and crossed the River, and set his face toward the hill country of Gilead.
Laban Confronts Jacob and Makes Covenant
22When Laban was told on the third day after Jacob had fled,
23he took his relatives with him and pursued him a seven days’ journey. Then he overtook him in the hill country of Gilead.
24But God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and said to him, “Watch yourself—lest you say anything to Jacob, good or bad.”
25So Laban caught up to Jacob. (Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country, so Laban and his brothers pitched their tents in the hill country of Gilead as well).
26Then Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done, that you’ve stolen my heart and have driven my daughters away like captives of the sword?
27Why did you secretly flee away, and steal from me? Why didn’t you tell me, so I could send you away with joy and with songs, with tambourines and with lyres?
28And you didn’t even let me kiss my sons and daughters! “Now, you’ve behaved foolishly.
29It is in the power of my hand to do evil with you, but yesterday the God of your fathers spoke to me, saying, ‘Watch yourself—lest you say anything to Jacob, good or bad.’
30So now, when you up and left because you really missed your father’s house, why did you steal my gods?”
31In response, Jacob said to Laban, “Because I was afraid, for I thought, ‘Suppose you snatch your daughters away from me.’
32Anyone with whom you find your gods shall not live. In front of our relatives, identify whatever is yours that is with me, and take it back.” (But Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them.)
33So Laban went into Jacob’s tent, and Leah’s tent and into the tent of the two maids, but he found nothing. Then he went out of Leah’s tent and entered Rachel’s tent.
34(Now Rachel had taken the idols, put them in the camel’s saddlebag and sat on them.) So Laban felt around the entire tent but did not find them.
35She said to her father, “Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise before you, for I am having the way of women.” So he searched but did not find the idols.
36Then Jacob got angry and argued with Laban. Jacob answered and said to Laban, “What’s my crime? What’s my sin that you’ve hotly pursued me?
37For you’ve felt through all my things. What did you find? Any of your household things? Put them here, in front of my relatives and yours—so they can decide between the two of us.
38These past twenty years I’ve been with you, your ewes and female goats have never miscarried, and I’ve never eaten the rams of your flock.
39I didn’t bring you animals torn by wild beasts. I myself would bear the loss. You would require it from my hand, whether stolen by day or stolen by night.
40I was consumed by heat during the day, consumed by frost during the night, and my sleep fled from my eyes.
41This is how it’s been for me twenty years in your house. I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flocks—and you changed my salary ten times!
42Had I not had the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, you would have sent me away empty-handed now. But God saw my misery and the toil of my hands and last night He became the Judge.”
43In response Laban said to Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters, and the sons are my sons, and the flocks are my flocks. Everything you see is mine. But what can I do for these, my daughters, today, or for their sons to whom they’ve given birth?
44So now, come, let’s make a covenant, you and I, and let it be a witness between you and me.”
45So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar,
46and Jacob said to his relatives, “Gather stones.” So they took the stones and made a pile. Then they ate there on the pile.
47Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha and Jacob called it Gal-ed.
48And Laban said, “This pile is a witness between me and you today.” That is why its name is Gal-ed,
49or Mizpah, for he said, “Let Adonai keep watch between you and me when we are out of one another’s sight.
50If you mistreat my daughters, and if you take wives besides my daughters, though no one is with us, look! God is the witness between you and me.”
51Laban said further to Jacob, “Behold, this pile, and this pillar which I’ve set up between you and me:
52this pile serves as a witness, that I won’t pass by this pillar to go to you, and that you won’t pass by this pile and this pillar to go to me—with evil intent.
53May the God of Abraham and the gods of Nahor, the gods of their father, judge between us.” Jacob also made an oath by the fear of his father Isaac.
54Then Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain and he invited his relatives to eat bread. So they ate bread and spent the night on the mountain.