GOD’S WORD Translation
Jacob’s Second and Third Encounters with God
31 Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were saying, “Jacob has taken everything that belonged to our father and has gained all his wealth from him.” 2 He also noticed that Laban did not appear as friendly to him as before.
3 Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your ancestors and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”
4 So Jacob sent a message to Rachel and Leah to come out to the open country where his flocks were. 5 He said to them, “I have seen that your father isn’t as friendly to me as he was before, but the God of my father has been with me. 6 You know that I have worked as hard as I could for your father. 7 Your father has cheated me. He has changed my wages ten times. But God hasn’t let him harm me. 8 Whenever he said, ‘The speckled ones will be your wages,’ all the flocks gave birth to speckled young. And whenever he said, ‘The striped ones will be your wages,’ all the flocks gave birth to striped young. 9 So God has taken away your father’s livestock and has given them to me.
10 “During the mating season I had a dream: I looked up and saw that the male goats which were mating were striped, speckled, or spotted. 11 In the dream the Messenger of God called to me, ‘Jacob!’ And I answered, ‘Yes, here I am.’ 12 He said, ‘Look up and see that all the male goats which are mating are striped, speckled, or spotted, because I have seen everything that Laban is doing to you. 13 I am the God who appeared to you at Bethel,[a] where you poured olive oil on a stone marker for a holy purpose and where you made a vow to me. Now leave this land, and go back to the land of your relatives.’”
14 Rachel and Leah answered him, “Is there anything left in our father’s household for us to inherit? 15 Doesn’t he think of us as foreigners? Not only did he sell us, but he has used up the money that was paid for us. 16 Certainly, all the wealth that God took away from our father belongs to us and our children. Now do whatever God has told you.”
Laban and Jacob Make Peace
17 Then Jacob put his children and his wives on camels. 18 He drove all his livestock ahead of him and took all the possessions that he had accumulated. He took his own livestock that he had accumulated in Paddan Aram and went back to his father Isaac in Canaan.
19 When Laban went to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father’s idols. 20 Jacob also tricked Laban the Aramean by not telling him he was leaving. 21 So he left in a hurry with all that belonged to him. He crossed the Euphrates River and went toward the mountains of Gilead.
22 Two days later Laban was told that Jacob had left in a hurry. 23 He and his relatives pursued Jacob for seven days. Laban caught up with him in the mountains of Gilead.
24 God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and said to him, “Be careful not to say anything at all to Jacob.”
25 When Laban finally caught up with Jacob, Jacob had put up his tents in the mountains. So Laban and his relatives put up their tents in the mountains of Gilead. 26 Then Laban asked Jacob, “What have you done by tricking me? You’ve carried off my daughters like prisoners of war. 27 Why did you leave secretly and trick me? You didn’t even tell me you were leaving. I would have sent you on your way rejoicing, with songs accompanied by tambourines and lyres. 28 You didn’t even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters. You’ve done a foolish thing. 29 I have the power to harm you. Last night the God of your father said to me, ‘Be careful not to say anything at all to Jacob.’ 30 Now you have left for your father’s home because you were so homesick. But why did you steal my gods?”
31 Jacob answered Laban, “I left because I was afraid. I thought you would take your daughters away from me by force. 32 If you find your gods, the one who has them will not be allowed to live. In the presence of our relatives, search as much as you want through what I have, and take what is yours.” (Jacob didn’t know that Rachel had stolen the gods.)
33 So Laban went into Jacob’s tent, into Leah’s tent, and into the tent of the two slaves. But he found nothing. He came out of Leah’s tent and went into Rachel’s tent. 34 Rachel had taken the idols and had put them in her camel’s saddle-bag and was sitting on them. Laban rummaged through the whole tent but found nothing.
35 Rachel said to her father, “Don’t be angry, Father, but I can’t get up to greet you; I’m having my period.” So even though Laban had made a thorough search, he didn’t find the idols.
36 Then Jacob became angry and confronted Laban. “What is my crime?” Jacob demanded of Laban. “What is my offense that you have come chasing after me? 37 Now that you’ve rummaged through all my things, did you find anything from your house? Put it here in front of all our relatives. Let them decide which one of us is right.
38 “I’ve been with you for 20 years. Your sheep and goats never miscarried, and I never ate any rams from your flocks. 39 I never brought you any of the flock that was killed by wild animals. I paid for the loss myself. That’s what you demanded of me when any of the flock was stolen during the day or at night. 40 The scorching heat during the day and the cold at night wore me down, and I lost a lot of sleep. 41 I’ve been with your household 20 years now. I worked for you 14 years for your two daughters and 6 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,[b] had not been with me, you would have sent me away empty-handed by now. God has seen my misery and hard work, and last night he made it right.”
43 Then Laban answered Jacob, “These are my daughters, my grandchildren, and my flocks. Everything you see is mine! Yet, what can I do today for my daughters or for their children? 44 Now, let’s make an agreement and let it stand as a witness between you and me.”
45 Jacob took a stone and set it up as a marker. 46 Then Jacob said to his relatives, “Gather some stones.” They took stones, put them into a pile, and ate there by the pile of stones. 47 In his language Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha [Witness Pile], but Jacob called it Galeed.[c]
48 Laban said, “This pile of stones stands as a witness between you and me today.” This is why it was named Galeed 49 and also Mizpah [Watchtower], because he said, “May the Lord watch between you and me when we’re unable to see each other. 50 If you mistreat my daughters or marry other women behind my back, remember that God stands as a witness between you and me.”
51 Laban said to Jacob, “Here is the pile of stones, and here is the marker that I have set up between you and me. 52 This pile of stones and this marker stand as witnesses that I will not go past the pile of stones to harm you, and that you will not go past the pile of stones or marker to harm me. 53 May the God of Abraham and Nahor—the God of their father—judge between us.”
So Jacob swore this oath by the Fear of his father Isaac 54 and offered a sacrifice on the mountain. He invited his relatives to eat the meal with him. They ate with him and spent the night on the mountain.[d]
55 Early the next morning Laban kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then Laban left and went back home.
New International Version
Jacob Flees From Laban
31 Jacob heard that Laban’s sons(A) were saying, “Jacob has taken everything our father owned and has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father.”(B) 2 And Jacob noticed that Laban’s attitude toward him was not what it had been.(C)
4 So Jacob sent word to Rachel and Leah to come out to the fields where his flocks were. 5 He said to them, “I see that your father’s(F) attitude toward me is not what it was before,(G) but the God of my father has been with me.(H) 6 You know that I’ve worked for your father with all my strength,(I) 7 yet your father has cheated(J) me by changing my wages(K) ten times.(L) However, God has not allowed him to harm me.(M) 8 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,’(N) then all the flocks bore streaked young. 9 So God has taken away your father’s livestock(O) and has given them to me.(P)
10 “In breeding season I once had a dream(Q) 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(R) said to me in the dream,(S) ‘Jacob.’ I answered, ‘Here I am.’(T) 12 And he said, ‘Look up and see that all the male goats mating with the flock are streaked, speckled or spotted,(U) for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you.(V) 13 I am the God of Bethel,(W) where you anointed a pillar(X) and where you made a vow(Y) to me. Now leave this land at once and go back to your native land.(Z)’”
14 Then Rachel and Leah replied, “Do we still have any share(AA) in the inheritance of our father’s estate? 15 Does he not regard us as foreigners?(AB) Not only has he sold us, but he has used up what was paid for us.(AC) 16 Surely all the wealth that God took away from our father belongs to us and our children.(AD) So do whatever God has told you.”
17 Then Jacob put his children and his wives(AE) on camels,(AF) 18 and he drove all his livestock ahead of him, along with all the goods he had accumulated(AG) in Paddan Aram,[a](AH) to go to his father Isaac(AI) in the land of Canaan.(AJ)
19 When Laban had gone to shear his sheep,(AK) Rachel stole her father’s household gods.(AL) 20 Moreover, Jacob deceived(AM) Laban the Aramean(AN) by not telling him he was running away.(AO) 21 So he fled(AP) with all he had, crossed the Euphrates River,(AQ) and headed for the hill country of Gilead.(AR)
Laban Pursues Jacob
22 On the third day(AS) Laban was told that Jacob had fled.(AT) 23 Taking his relatives(AU) with him(AV), he pursued Jacob for seven days and caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead.(AW) 24 Then God came to Laban the Aramean(AX) in a dream at night and said to him,(AY) “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.”(AZ)
25 Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country of Gilead(BA) when Laban overtook him, and Laban and his relatives camped there too. 26 Then Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done?(BB) You’ve deceived me,(BC) and you’ve carried off my daughters like captives in war.(BD) 27 Why did you run off secretly and deceive me? Why didn’t you tell me,(BE) so I could send you away with joy and singing to the music of timbrels(BF) and harps?(BG) 28 You didn’t even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters goodbye.(BH) You have done a foolish thing. 29 I have the power to harm you;(BI) but last night the God of your father(BJ) said to me, ‘Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.’(BK) 30 Now you have gone off because you longed to return to your father’s household.(BL) But why did you steal(BM) my gods?(BN)”
31 Jacob answered Laban, “I was afraid, because I thought you would take your daughters away from me by force.(BO) 32 But if you find anyone who has your gods, that person shall not live.(BP) 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.(BQ)
33 So Laban went into Jacob’s tent and into Leah’s tent(BR) and into the tent of the two female servants,(BS) but he found nothing.(BT) After he came out of Leah’s tent, he entered Rachel’s tent. 34 Now Rachel had taken the household gods(BU) and put them inside her camel’s saddle(BV) and was sitting on them. Laban searched(BW) through everything in the tent but found nothing.
36 Jacob was angry and took Laban to task. “What is my crime?” he asked Laban. “How have I wronged(CA) you that you hunt me down?(CB) 37 Now that you have searched through all my goods, what have you found that belongs to your household?(CC) Put it here in front of your relatives(CD) and mine, and let them judge between the two of us.(CE)
38 “I have been with you for twenty years now.(CF) Your sheep and goats have not miscarried,(CG) 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(CH) by day or night.(CI) 40 This was my situation: The heat consumed me in the daytime and the cold at night, and sleep fled from my eyes.(CJ) 41 It was like this for the twenty years(CK) I was in your household. I worked for you fourteen years for your two daughters(CL) and six years for your flocks,(CM) and you changed my wages(CN) ten times.(CO) 42 If the God of my father,(CP) the God of Abraham(CQ) and the Fear of Isaac,(CR) had not been with me,(CS) you would surely have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen my hardship and the toil of my hands,(CT) and last night he rebuked you.(CU)”
43 Laban answered Jacob, “The women are my daughters, the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks.(CV) 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,(CW) you and I, and let it serve as a witness between us.”(CX)
45 So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar.(CY) 46 He said to his relatives, “Gather some stones.” So they took stones and piled them in a heap,(CZ) and they ate there by the heap. 47 Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha, and Jacob called it Galeed.[b](DA)
48 Laban said, “This heap(DB) is a witness between you and me today.”(DC) That is why it was called Galeed. 49 It was also called Mizpah,[c](DD) because he said, “May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other. 50 If you mistreat(DE) my daughters or if you take any wives besides my daughters, even though no one is with us, remember that God is a witness(DF) between you and me.”(DG)
51 Laban also said to Jacob, “Here is this heap,(DH) and here is this pillar(DI) I have set up between you and me. 52 This heap is a witness, and this pillar is a witness,(DJ) that I will not go past this heap to your side to harm you and that you will not go past this heap(DK) and pillar to my side to harm me.(DL) 53 May the God of Abraham(DM) and the God of Nahor,(DN) the God of their father, judge between us.”(DO)
So Jacob took an oath(DP) in the name of the Fear of his father Isaac.(DQ) 54 He offered a sacrifice(DR) there in the hill country and invited his relatives to a meal.(DS) After they had eaten, they spent the night there.