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Genesis 31Amplified Bible (AMP)

Jacob Leaves Secretly for Canaan

31 Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were saying: “Jacob has taken away everything that was our father’s, and from what belonged to our father he has acquired all this wealth and honor.” Jacob noticed [a change in] the [a]attitude of Laban, and saw that it was not friendly toward him as before. Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your people, and I will be with you.” So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to his flock in the field, and he said to them, “I see [a change in] your father’s attitude, that he is not friendly toward me as [he was] before; but the God of my father [Isaac] has been with me. You know that I have served your father with all my strength. Yet your father has cheated me [as often as possible] and changed my wages ten times; but God did not allow him to hurt me. If he said, ‘The speckled shall be your wages,’ then the entire flock gave birth to speckled [young]; and if he said, ‘The streaked shall be your wages,’ then the entire flock gave birth to streaked [young]. Thus God has taken away the flocks of your father and given them to me. 10 And it happened at the time when the flock conceived that I looked up and saw in a dream that the rams which mated [with the female goats] were streaked, speckled, and spotted. 11 And the [b]Angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob.’ And I said, ‘Here I am.’ 12 He said, ‘Look up and see, all the rams which are mating [with the flock] are streaked, speckled, and spotted; for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar, and where you made a vow to Me; now stand up, leave this land, and return to the land of your birth.’” 14 Rachel and Leah answered him, “Is there still any portion or inheritance for us in our father’s house? 15 Are we not counted by him as foreigners? For he sold us [to you in marriage], and has also entirely used up our purchase price. 16 Surely all the riches which God has taken from our father are ours and our children’s. Now then, whatever God has told you to do, do it.”

17 Then Jacob stood [and took action] and put his children and his wives on camels; 18 and he drove away all his livestock and [took along] all his property which he had acquired, the livestock he had obtained and accumulated in Paddan-aram, to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan. 19 When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel [went inside the house and] stole her father’s [c]household gods. 20 And Jacob [d]deceived Laban the Aramean (Syrian) by not telling him that he intended to leave and he slipped away secretly. 21 So he fled with everything that he had, and got up and crossed the river [Euphrates], and set his face toward the hill country of Gilead [east of the Jordan River].

Laban Pursues Jacob

22 On the third day [after his departure] Laban was told that Jacob had fled. 23 So he took his relatives with him and pursued him for seven days, and they overtook him in the hill country of Gilead. 24 God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and said to him, “Be careful that you do not speak to Jacob, either good or bad.”

25 Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent on the hill, and Laban with his relatives camped on the same hill of Gilead. 26 Then Laban said to Jacob, “What do you mean by deceiving me and leaving without my knowledge, and carrying off my daughters as if [they were] captives of the sword? 27 Why did you run away secretly and deceive me and not tell me, so that [otherwise] I might have sent you away with joy and with songs, with [music on the] tambourine and lyre? 28 And why did you not allow me to kiss my [e]grandchildren and my daughters [goodbye]? Now you have done a foolish thing [in behaving like this]. 29 It is in my power to harm you, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Be careful not to speak to Jacob, either good or bad.’ 30 Now [I suppose] you felt you must go because you [f]were homesick for your father’s house and family; but why did you steal my [household] [g]gods?” 31 Jacob answered Laban, “[I left secretly] because I was afraid, for I thought you would take your daughters away from me by force. 32 The one with whom you find your gods shall not live; in the presence of our relatives [search my possessions and] point out whatever you find that belongs to you and take it.” For Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the idols.

33 So Laban went into Jacob’s tent and into Leah’s tent and the tent of the two maids, but he did not find them. Then he came out of Leah’s tent and entered Rachel’s tent. 34 Now Rachel had taken the household idols and put them in the camel’s saddlebag and sat on them. Laban searched through all her tent, but did not find them. 35 So Rachel said to her father, “Do not be displeased, my lord, that I cannot rise before you, for the manner of women is on me and I am unwell.” He searched [further] but did not find the household idols.

36 Then Jacob became angry and argued with Laban. And he said to Laban, “What is my fault? What is my sin that you pursued me like this? 37 Although you have searched through all my possessions, what have you found of your household goods? Put it here before my relatives and your relatives, so that they may decide [who has done right] between the two of us. 38 These twenty years I have been with you; your ewes and your female goats have not lost their young, nor have I eaten the rams of your flocks. 39 I did not bring you the torn carcasses [of the animals attacked by predators]; I [personally] took the loss. You required of me [to make good] everything that was stolen, whether it occurred by day or night. 40 This was my situation: by day the heat consumed me and by night the cold, and [h]I could not sleep. 41 These twenty years I have been in your house; I served you fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for [my share of] your flocks, and you have [i]changed my wages ten times. 42 If the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and [the Feared One] of Isaac, had not been with me, most certainly you would have sent me away now empty-handed. God has seen my affliction and humiliation and the [exhausting] labor of my hands, so He rendered judgment and rebuked you last night.”

The Covenant of Mizpah

43 Laban answered Jacob, “These [j]women [that you married] are my daughters, these children are my [k]grandchildren, these flocks are [from] my flocks, and all that you see [here] is mine. But what can I do today to these my daughters or to their children to whom they have given birth? 44 So come now, let us make a covenant, you and I, and let it serve as a witness between you and me.” 45 So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a [memorial] pillar. 46 Jacob said to his relatives, “Gather stones.” And they took stones and made a mound [of stones], and they ate [a ceremonial meal together] there on the mound [of stones]. 47 Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha (stone monument of testimony in [l]Aramaic), but Jacob called it [m]Galeed. 48 Laban said, “This mound [of stones] is a witness [a reminder of the oath taken] today between you and me.” Therefore he [also] called the name Galeed, 49 and Mizpah ([n]watchtower), for Laban said, “May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent from one another. 50 If you should mistreat (humiliate, oppress) my daughters, or if you should take other wives besides my daughters, although no one is with us [as a witness], see and remember, God is witness between you and me.” 51 Laban said to Jacob, “Look at this mound [of stones] and look at this pillar which I have set up between you and me. 52 This mound is a witness, and this pillar is a witness, that I will not pass by this mound to harm you, and that you will not pass by this mound and this pillar to harm me. 53 The God of Abraham [your father] and the God of Nahor [my father], and the [o]god [the image of worship] of their father [Terah, an idolater], judge between us.” But Jacob swore [only] by [the one true God] the Fear of his father Isaac. 54 Then Jacob offered a sacrifice [to the Lord] on the mountain, and called his relatives to the meal; and they ate food and spent the night on the mountain. 55 Early in the morning Laban got up and kissed his [p]grandchildren and his daughters [goodbye] and pronounced a blessing [asking God’s favor] on them. Then Laban left and returned home.

Footnotes:

  1. Genesis 31:2 Lit face.
  2. Genesis 31:11 See note 16:7. Note especially Gen 31:13, where the Angel says, “I am the God of Bethel.”
  3. Genesis 31:19 Possession of these pagan figurines implied or conferred a right of inheritance.
  4. Genesis 31:20 Lit stole the heart of.
  5. Genesis 31:28 Lit sons.
  6. Genesis 31:30 Lit longed greatly.
  7. Genesis 31:30 Laban was upset because possession of the father’s household gods played an important role in inheritance. In the region where Laban lived, a son-in-law who possessed the family gods could appear before a judge and make a claim to the estate of his father-in-law. Since Jacob’s possession of the household gods implied the right to inherit Laban’s wealth, one can understand why he followed Jacob to recover the idols.
  8. Genesis 31:40 Lit sleep fled from my eyes.
  9. Genesis 31:41 I.e. cheated me as often as possible.
  10. Genesis 31:43 Lit daughters.
  11. Genesis 31:43 Lit children.
  12. Genesis 31:47 The language of Laban, who was an Aramean (v 20). The two names chosen by Laban and Jacob were equivalent.
  13. Genesis 31:47 Heb heap of witness.
  14. Genesis 31:49 The stone mound evidently was tall enough to be considered a place from which one could see at a distance. The thought behind it was that the Lord would watch them when they could not watch each other, and He would see and deal with any mistreatment committed by either of them (see v 50).
  15. Genesis 31:53 Here “god” is put in lowercase because Joshua later declared that Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor, was an idolater, serving “other gods” (Josh 24:2). The wording of the Hebrew here indicates that Laban equated the God of Abraham and Nahor with the god of Terah. Whether Laban actually made no distinction in his mind between the true God and false gods, or simply committed an oversight, is not clear. Jacob evidently recognized the ambiguity in Laban’s statement as well, so to avoid any possibility of swearing allegiance to a false god, he swore his own oath by the God of Isaac.
  16. Genesis 31:55 Lit sons.
Amplified Bible (AMP)

Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

Genesis 31New International Version (NIV)

Jacob Flees From Laban

31 Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were saying, “Jacob has taken everything our father owned and has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father.” And Jacob noticed that Laban’s attitude toward him was not what it had been.

Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”

So Jacob sent word to Rachel and Leah to come out to the fields where his flocks were. He said to them, “I see that your father’s attitude toward me is not what it was before, but the God of my father has been with me. You know that I’ve worked for your father with all my strength, yet your father has cheated me by changing my wages ten times. However, God has not allowed him to harm me. If he said, ‘The speckled ones will be your wages,’ then all the flocks gave birth to speckled young; and if he said, ‘The streaked ones will be your wages,’ then all the flocks bore streaked young. So God has taken away your father’s livestock and has given them to me.

10 “In breeding season I once had a dream in which I looked up and saw that the male goats mating with the flock were streaked, speckled or spotted. 11 The angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob.’ I answered, ‘Here I am.’ 12 And he said, ‘Look up and see that all the male goats mating with the flock are streaked, speckled or spotted, for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and where you made a vow to me. Now leave this land at once and go back to your native land.’”

14 Then Rachel and Leah replied, “Do we still have any share in the inheritance of our father’s estate? 15 Does he not regard us as foreigners? Not only has he sold us, but he has used up what was paid for us. 16 Surely all the wealth that God took away from our father belongs to us and our children. So do whatever God has told you.”

17 Then Jacob put his children and his wives on camels, 18 and he drove all his livestock ahead of him, along with all the goods he had accumulated in Paddan Aram,[a] to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.

19 When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father’s household gods. 20 Moreover, Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean by not telling him he was running away. 21 So he fled with all he had, crossed the Euphrates River, and headed for the hill country of Gilead.

Laban Pursues Jacob

22 On the third day Laban was told that Jacob had fled. 23 Taking his relatives with him, he pursued Jacob for seven days and caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead. 24 Then God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and said to him, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.”

25 Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country of Gilead when Laban overtook him, and Laban and his relatives camped there too. 26 Then Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done? You’ve deceived me, and you’ve carried off my daughters like captives in war. 27 Why did you run off secretly and deceive me? Why didn’t you tell me, so I could send you away with joy and singing to the music of timbrels and harps? 28 You didn’t even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters goodbye. You have done a foolish thing. 29 I have the power to harm you; but last night the God of your father said to me, ‘Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.’ 30 Now you have gone off because you longed to return to your father’s household. But why did you steal my gods?

31 Jacob answered Laban, “I was afraid, because I thought you would take your daughters away from me by force. 32 But if you find anyone who has your gods, that person shall not live. In the presence of our relatives, see for yourself whether there is anything of yours here with me; and if so, take it.” Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the gods.

33 So Laban went into Jacob’s tent and into Leah’s tent and into the tent of the two female servants, but he found nothing. After he came out of Leah’s tent, he entered Rachel’s tent. 34 Now Rachel had taken the household gods and put them inside her camel’s saddle and was sitting on them. Laban searched through everything in the tent but found nothing.

35 Rachel said to her father, “Don’t be angry, my lord, that I cannot stand up in your presence; I’m having my period.” So he searched but could not find the household gods.

36 Jacob was angry and took Laban to task. “What is my crime?” he asked Laban. “How have I wronged you that you hunt me down? 37 Now that you have searched through all my goods, what have you found that belongs to your household? Put it here in front of your relatives and mine, and let them judge between the two of us.

38 “I have been with you for twenty years now. Your sheep and goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten rams from your flocks. 39 I did not bring you animals torn by wild beasts; I bore the loss myself. And you demanded payment from me for whatever was stolen by day or night. 40 This was my situation: The heat consumed me in the daytime and the cold at night, and sleep fled from my eyes. 41 It was like this for the twenty years I was in your household. I worked for you fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flocks, and you changed my wages ten times. 42 If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, you would surely have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen my hardship and the toil of my hands, and last night he rebuked you.

43 Laban answered Jacob, “The women are my daughters, the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks. All you see is mine. Yet what can I do today about these daughters of mine, or about the children they have borne? 44 Come now, let’s make a covenant, you and I, and let it serve as a witness between us.”

45 So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar. 46 He said to his relatives, “Gather some stones.” So they took stones and piled them in a heap, and they ate there by the heap. 47 Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha, and Jacob called it Galeed.[b]

48 Laban said, “This heap is a witness between you and me today.” That is why it was called Galeed. 49 It was also called Mizpah,[c] because he said, “May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other. 50 If you mistreat my daughters or if you take any wives besides my daughters, even though no one is with us, remember that God is a witness between you and me.”

51 Laban also said to Jacob, “Here is this heap, and here is this pillar I have set up between you and me. 52 This heap is a witness, and this pillar is a witness, that I will not go past this heap to your side to harm you and that you will not go past this heap and pillar to my side to harm me. 53 May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.”

So Jacob took an oath in the name of the Fear of his father Isaac. 54 He offered a sacrifice there in the hill country and invited his relatives to a meal. After they had eaten, they spent the night there.

55 Early the next morning Laban kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then he left and returned home.[d]

Footnotes:

  1. Genesis 31:18 That is, Northwest Mesopotamia
  2. Genesis 31:47 The Aramaic Jegar Sahadutha and the Hebrew Galeed both mean witness heap.
  3. Genesis 31:49 Mizpah means watchtower.
  4. Genesis 31:55 In Hebrew texts this verse (31:55) is numbered 32:1.
New International Version (NIV)

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