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) And Jacob noticed that Laban’s attitude toward him was not what it had been.(C)

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

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(F) attitude toward me is not what it was before,(G) but the God of my father has been with me.(H) You know that I’ve worked for your father with all my strength,(I) 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) 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. 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.

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

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.

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

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.

31 And he heard the words of Laban's sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father's; and of that which was our father's hath he gotten all this glory.

And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before.

And the Lord said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.

And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock,

And said unto them, I see your father's countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me.

And ye know that with all my power I have served your father.

And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me.

If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstraked.

Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me.

10 And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled.

11 And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I.

12 And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee.

13 I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred.

14 And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house?

15 Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money.

16 For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is ours, and our children's: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do.

17 Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels;

18 And he carried away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten in Padanaram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan.

19 And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father's.

20 And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled.

21 So he fled with all that he had; and he rose up, and passed over the river, and set his face toward the mount Gilead.

22 And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob was fled.

23 And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days' journey; and they overtook him in the mount Gilead.

24 And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said unto him, Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.

25 Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mount: and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mount of Gilead.

26 And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou done, that thou hast stolen away unawares to me, and carried away my daughters, as captives taken with the sword?

27 Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp?

28 And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? thou hast now done foolishly in so doing.

29 It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt: but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.

30 And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father's house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?

31 And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid: for I said, Peradventure thou wouldest take by force thy daughters from me.

32 With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them.

33 And Laban went into Jacob's tent, and into Leah's tent, and into the two maidservants' tents; but he found them not. Then went he out of Leah's tent, and entered into Rachel's tent.

34 Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel's furniture, and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but found them not.

35 And she said to her father, Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the custom of women is upon me. And he searched but found not the images.

36 And Jacob was wroth, and chode with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What is my trespass? what is my sin, that thou hast so hotly pursued after me?

37 Whereas thou hast searched all my stuff, what hast thou found of all thy household stuff? set it here before my brethren and thy brethren, that they may judge betwixt us both.

38 This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten.

39 That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night.

40 Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes.

41 Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times.

42 Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.

43 And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and these cattle are my cattle, and all that thou seest is mine: and what can I do this day unto these my daughters, or unto their children which they have born?

44 Now therefore come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee.

45 And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar.

46 And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap: and they did eat there upon the heap.

47 And Laban called it Jegarsahadutha: but Jacob called it Galeed.

48 And Laban said, This heap is a witness between me and thee this day. Therefore was the name of it called Galeed;

49 And Mizpah; for he said, The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.

50 If thou shalt afflict my daughters, or if thou shalt take other wives beside my daughters, no man is with us; see, God is witness betwixt me and thee.

51 And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold this pillar, which I have cast betwixt me and thee:

52 This heap be witness, and this pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm.

53 The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us. And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac.

54 Then Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount, and called his brethren to eat bread: and they did eat bread, and tarried all night in the mount.

55 And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them: and Laban departed, and returned unto his place.

Jacob Flees from Laban

31 Now Jacob heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, “Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s, and from what was our father’s he has acquired all this (A)wealth.” And Jacob saw the (B)countenance of Laban, and indeed it was not (C)favorable toward him as before. Then the Lord said to Jacob, (D)“Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will (E)be with you.”

So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field, to his flock, and said to them, (F)“I see your father’s [a]countenance, that it is not favorable toward me as before; but the God of my father (G)has been with me. And (H)you know that with all my might I have served your father. Yet your father has deceived me and (I)changed my wages (J)ten times, but God (K)did not allow him to hurt me. If he said thus: (L)‘The speckled shall be your wages,’ then all the flocks bore speckled. And if he said thus: ‘The streaked shall be your wages,’ then all the flocks bore streaked. So God has (M)taken away the livestock of your father and given them to me.

10 “And it happened, at the time when the flocks conceived, that I lifted my eyes and saw in a dream, and behold, the rams which leaped upon the flocks were streaked, speckled, and gray-spotted. 11 Then (N)the Angel of God spoke to me in a dream, saying, ‘Jacob.’ And I said, ‘Here I am.’ 12 And He said, ‘Lift your eyes now and see, all the rams which leap on the flocks are streaked, speckled, and gray-spotted; for (O)I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel, (P)where you anointed the pillar and where you made a vow to Me. Now (Q)arise, get out of this land, and return to the land of your family.’ ”

14 Then Rachel and Leah answered and said to him, (R)“Is there still any portion or inheritance for us in our father’s house? 15 Are we not considered strangers by him? For (S)he has sold us, and also completely consumed our money. 16 For all these riches which God has taken from our father are really ours and our children’s; now then, whatever God has said to you, do it.”

17 Then Jacob rose and set his sons and his wives on camels. 18 And he carried away all his livestock and all his possessions which he had gained, his acquired livestock which he had gained in Padan Aram, to go to his father Isaac in the land of (T)Canaan. 19 Now Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel had stolen the (U)household[b] idols that were her father’s. 20 And Jacob stole away, unknown to Laban the Syrian, in that he did not tell him that he intended to flee. 21 So he fled with all that he had. He arose and crossed the river, and (V)headed[c] toward the mountains of Gilead.

Laban Pursues Jacob

22 And Laban was told on the third day that Jacob had fled. 23 Then he took (W)his brethren with him and pursued him for seven days’ journey, and he overtook him in the mountains of Gilead. 24 But God (X)had come to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said to him, “Be careful that you (Y)speak to Jacob neither good nor bad.”

25 So Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mountains, and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mountains of Gilead.

26 And Laban said to Jacob: “What have you done, that you have stolen away unknown to me, and (Z)carried away my daughters like captives taken with the sword? 27 Why did you flee away secretly, and steal away from me, and not tell me; for I might have sent you away with joy and songs, with timbrel and harp? 28 And you did not allow me (AA)to kiss my sons and my daughters. Now (AB)you have done foolishly in so doing. 29 It is in my power to do you harm, but the (AC)God of your father spoke to me (AD)last night, saying, ‘Be careful that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad.’ 30 And now you have surely gone because you greatly long for your father’s house, but why did you (AE)steal my gods?”

31 Then Jacob answered and said to Laban, “Because I was (AF)afraid, for I said, ‘Perhaps you would take your daughters from me by force.’ 32 With whomever you find your gods, (AG)do not let him live. In the presence of our brethren, identify what I have of yours and take it with you.” For Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them.

33 And Laban went into Jacob’s tent, into Leah’s tent, and into the two maids’ tents, but he did not find them. Then he went out of Leah’s tent and entered Rachel’s tent. 34 Now Rachel had taken the [d]household idols, put them in the camel’s saddle, and sat on them. And Laban [e]searched all about the tent but did not find them. 35 And she said to her father, “Let it not displease my lord that I cannot (AH)rise before you, for the manner of women is with me.” And he searched but did not find the [f]household idols.

36 Then Jacob was angry and rebuked Laban, and Jacob answered and said to Laban: “What is my [g]trespass? What is my sin, that you have so hotly pursued me? 37 Although you have searched all my things, what part of your household things have you found? Set it here before my brethren and your brethren, that they may judge between us both! 38 These twenty years I have been with you; your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried their young, and I have not eaten the rams of your flock. 39 (AI)That which was torn by beasts I did not bring to you; I bore the loss of it. (AJ)You required it from my hand, whether stolen by day or stolen by night. 40 There I was! In the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night, and my sleep departed from my eyes. 41 Thus I have been in your house twenty years; I (AK)served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and (AL)you have changed my wages ten times. 42 (AM)Unless the God of my father, the God of Abraham and (AN)the Fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. (AO)God has seen my affliction and the labor of my hands, and (AP)rebuked you last night.”

Laban’s Covenant with Jacob

43 And Laban answered and said to Jacob, “These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and this flock is my flock; all that you see is mine. But what can I do this day to these my daughters or to their children whom they have borne? 44 Now therefore, come, (AQ)let us make a [h]covenant, (AR)you and I, and let it be a witness between you and me.”

45 So Jacob (AS)took a stone and set it up as a pillar. 46 Then Jacob said to his brethren, “Gather stones.” And they took stones and made a heap, and they ate there on the heap. 47 Laban called it [i]Jegar Sahadutha, but Jacob called it [j]Galeed. 48 And Laban said, (AT)“This heap is a witness between you and me this day.” Therefore its name was called Galeed, 49 also (AU)Mizpah,[k] because he said, “May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from another. 50 If you afflict my daughters, or if you take other wives besides my daughters, although no man is with us—see, God is witness between you and me!”

51 Then Laban said to Jacob, “Here is this heap and here is this pillar, which I have placed between you and me. 52 This heap is a witness, and this pillar is a witness, that I will not pass beyond this heap to you, and you will not pass beyond this heap and this pillar to me, for harm. 53 The God of Abraham, the God of Nahor, and the God of their father (AV)judge between us.” And Jacob (AW)swore by (AX)the [l]Fear of his father Isaac. 54 Then Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain, and called his brethren to eat bread. And they ate bread and stayed all night on the mountain. 55 And early in the morning Laban arose, and (AY)kissed his sons and daughters and (AZ)blessed them. Then Laban departed and (BA)returned to his place.

Footnotes

  1. Genesis 31:5 Lit. face
  2. Genesis 31:19 Heb. teraphim
  3. Genesis 31:21 Lit. set his face toward
  4. Genesis 31:34 Heb. teraphim
  5. Genesis 31:34 Lit. felt
  6. Genesis 31:35 Heb. teraphim
  7. Genesis 31:36 transgression
  8. Genesis 31:44 treaty
  9. Genesis 31:47 Lit., in Aram., Heap of Witness
  10. Genesis 31:47 Lit., in Heb., Heap of Witness
  11. Genesis 31:49 Lit. Watch
  12. Genesis 31:53 A reference to God

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