Laban Pursues Jacob

22 When Laban was informed on the third day that Jacob had fled, 23 he took his kinsmen with him and pursued him a distance of seven days’ journey, and he overtook him in the hill country of Gilead. 24 However, (A)God came to Laban the Aramean in a (B)dream of the night and said to him, “[a](C)Be careful that you do not speak to Jacob either good or bad.”

25 And Laban caught up with Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country, and Laban with his kinsmen camped in the hill country of Gilead. 26 Then Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done [b]by deceiving me and carrying away my daughters like captives of the sword? 27 Why did you flee secretly and [c]deceive me, and did not tell me, so that I might have sent you away with joy and with songs, with (D)tambourine and with (E)lyre; 28 and did not allow me (F)to kiss my [d]grandchildren and my daughters? Now you have done foolishly. 29 It is in [e]my power to do you harm, but (G)the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘[f](H)Be careful not to speak either good or bad to Jacob.’ 30 Now you have indeed gone away because you longed greatly for your father’s house; but why did you steal (I)my gods?” 31 Then Jacob replied to Laban, “Because I was afraid, for I thought that you would take your daughters from me by force. 32 (J)The one with whom you find your gods shall not live; in the presence of our relatives [g]point out what is yours [h]among my belongings and take it for yourself.” Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them.

33 So Laban went into Jacob’s tent, and into Leah’s tent, and into the tent of the two slave women, 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 [i]household idols and put them in the camel’s saddlebag, and she sat on them. So Laban searched through all the tent, but did not find them. 35 And she said to her father, “May my lord not be angry that I cannot (K)stand in your presence, because the [j]way of women is upon me.” So he searched but did not find the [k](L)household idols.

36 Then Jacob became angry and argued with Laban; and Jacob said to Laban, “What is my offense? What is my sin that you have hotly pursued me? 37 Though you have searched through all my property, what have you found of all your household property? Set it here in front of my relatives and your relatives, so that they may decide between the two of us. 38 For these twenty years I have been with you; your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten the rams of your flocks. 39 I did not even bring to you that which was torn by wild animals; I took the loss myself. You demanded it of my hand whether stolen by day or stolen by night. 40 This is how I was: by day the [l]heat consumed me and the frost by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes. 41 For these twenty years I have been in your house; (M)I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you (N)changed my wages ten times. 42 If (O)the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the fear of Isaac, had not been for me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. (P)God has seen my affliction and the labor of my hands, so He (Q)rendered judgment last night.”

Read full chapter


  1. Genesis 31:24 Lit Take heed to yourself
  2. Genesis 31:26 Lit and you have stolen my heart
  3. Genesis 31:27 Lit steal me
  4. Genesis 31:28 Lit sons
  5. Genesis 31:29 Lit the power of my hand
  6. Genesis 31:29 Lit Take heed to yourself
  7. Genesis 31:32 Lit recognize
  8. Genesis 31:32 Lit with me
  9. Genesis 31:34 Heb teraphim
  10. Genesis 31:35 I.e., menstruation
  11. Genesis 31:35 Heb teraphim
  12. Genesis 31:40 Or drought