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43 [a]Laban replied to Jacob: “The daughters are mine, their children are mine, and the flocks are mine; everything you see belongs to me. What can I do now for my own daughters and for the children they have borne? 44 [b]Come, now, let us make a covenant, you and I; and it will be a treaty between you and me.”

45 Then Jacob took a stone and set it up as a sacred pillar.(A) 46 Jacob said to his kinsmen, “Gather stones.” So they got stones and made a mound; and they ate there at the mound. 47 Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha,[c] but Jacob called it Galeed. 48 Laban said, “This mound will be a witness from now on between you and me.” That is why it was named Galeed— 49 and also Mizpah,[d] for he said: “May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are out of each other’s sight. 50 If you mistreat my daughters, or take other wives besides my daughters, know that even though no one else is there, God will be a witness between you and me.”

51 Laban said further to Jacob: “Here is this mound, and here is the sacred pillar that I have set up between you and me. 52 This mound will be a witness, and this sacred pillar will be a witness, that, with hostile intent, I may not pass beyond this mound into your territory, nor may you pass beyond it into mine. 53 May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us!” Jacob took the oath by the Fear of his father Isaac.[e] 54 He then offered a sacrifice on the mountain and invited his kinsmen to share in the meal. When they had eaten, they passed the night on the mountain.

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Footnotes

  1. 31:43–54 In this account of the non-aggression treaty between Laban and Jacob, the different objects that serve as witness (sacred pillar in v. 45, cairn of stones in v. 46), their different names (Jegar-sahadutha in v. 47, Mizpah in v. 49), and the two references to the covenant meal (vv. 46, 54) suggest that two versions have been fused. One version is the Yahwist source, and another source has been used to supplement it.
  2. 31:44–54 The treaty is a typical covenant between two parties: Jacob was bound to treat his wives (Laban’s daughters) well, and Laban was bound not to cross Jacob’s boundaries with hostile intent.
  3. 31:47–48 Jegar-sahadutha: an Aramaic term meaning “mound of witness.” Galeed: in Hebrew, “the mound of witness.”
  4. 31:49 Mizpah: a town in Gilead; cf. Jgs 10:17; 11:11, 34; Hos 5:1. The Hebrew name mispa (“lookout”) is allied to yisep yhwh (“may the Lord keep watch”), and also echoes the word masseba (“sacred pillar”).
  5. 31:53 Fear of…Isaac: an archaic title for Jacob’s God of the Father.

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