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Genesis 31 Common English Bible (CEB)

Jacob’s household leaves Laban

31 Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were saying, “Jacob took everything our father owned and from it he produced all of this wealth.” And Jacob saw that Laban no longer liked him as much as he used to.

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

So Jacob sent for Rachel and Leah and summoned them into the field where his flock was. He said to them, “I am aware that your father no longer likes me as much as he used to. But my father’s God has been with me. You know that I’ve worked for your father as hard as I could. But your father cheated me and changed my payment ten times. Yet God didn’t let him harm me. If he said, ‘The speckled ones will be your payment,’ the whole flock gave birth to speckled young. And if he said, ‘The striped ones will be your payment,’ the whole flock gave birth to striped young. God took away your father’s livestock and gave them to me. 10 When the flocks were mating, I looked up and saw in a dream that the male goats that mounted the flock were striped, speckled, and spotted. 11 In the dream, God’s messenger said to me, ‘Jacob!’ and I said, ‘I’m here.’ 12 He said, ‘Look up and watch all the striped, speckled, and spotted male goats mounting the flock. I’ve seen everything that Laban is doing to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a sacred pillar and where you made a solemn promise to me. Now, get up and leave this country and go back to the land of your relatives.’”

14 Rachel and Leah answered him, “Is there any share or inheritance left for us in our father’s household? 15 Doesn’t he think of us as foreigners since he sold us and has even used up the payment he received for us? 16 All of the wealth God took from our father belongs to us and our children. Now, do everything God told you to do.”

17 So Jacob got up, put his sons and wives on the camels, 18 and set out with all of his livestock and all of his possessions that he had acquired[a] in Paddan-aram in order to return to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan. 19 Now, while Laban was out shearing his sheep, Rachel stole the household’s divine images that belonged to her father. 20 Moreover, Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean by not sending word to him that he was leaving. 21 So Jacob and his entire household left. He got up, crossed the river, and set out directly for the mountains of Gilead.

22 Three days later, Laban found out that Jacob had gone, 23 so Laban took his brothers with him, chased Jacob for seven days, and caught up with him in the mountains of Gilead. 24 That night, God appeared to Laban the Aramean in a dream and said, “Be careful and don’t say anything hastily to Jacob one way or the other.”

25 Laban reached Jacob after Jacob had pitched his tent in the mountains. So Laban and his brothers also pitched theirs in the mountains of Gilead. 26 Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done? You have deceived me and taken off with my daughters as if they were prisoners of war. 27 Why did you leave secretly, deceiving me, and not letting me know? I would’ve sent you off with a celebration, with songs and tambourines and harps. 28 You didn’t even let me kiss my sons and my daughters good-bye. Now you’ve acted like a fool, 29 and I have the power to punish you. However, your father’s God told me yesterday, ‘Be careful and don’t say anything hastily to Jacob one way or the other.’ 30 You’ve rushed off now because you missed your father’s household so much, but why did you steal my gods?”

31 Jacob responded to Laban, “I was afraid and convinced myself that you would take your daughters away from me. 32 Whomever you find with your divine images won’t live. Identify whatever I have that is yours, in front of your brothers, and take it.” Jacob didn’t know that Rachel had stolen them. 33 Laban went into Jacob’s tent, Leah’s tent, and her two servants’ tent and didn’t find them.

So he left Leah’s tent and went into Rachel’s. 34 Now Rachel had taken the divine images and put them into the camel’s saddlebag and sat on them. Laban felt around in the whole tent but couldn’t find them. 35 Rachel said to her father, “Sir, don’t be angry with me because I can’t get up for you; I’m having my period.” He searched but couldn’t find the divine images.

36 Jacob was angry and complained to Laban, “What have I done wrong and what’s my crime that you’ve tracked me down like this? 37 You’ve now felt through all of my baggage, and what have you found from your household’s belongings? Put it in front of our relatives, and let them decide between us. 38 For these twenty years I’ve been with you, your female sheep and goats haven’t miscarried, and I haven’t eaten your flock’s rams. 39 When animals were killed, I didn’t bring them to you but took the loss myself. You demanded compensation from me for any animals poached during the day or night. 40 The dry heat consumed me during the day, and the frost at night; I couldn’t sleep. 41 I’ve now spent twenty years in your household. I worked for fourteen years for your two daughters and for six years for your flock, and you changed my pay ten times. 42 If the God of my father—the God of Abraham and the awesome one of Isaac—hadn’t been with me, you’d have no doubt sent me away without anything. God saw my harsh treatment and my hard work and reprimanded you yesterday.”

Jacob and Laban’s treaty

43 Laban responded and told Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks. Everything you see is mine. But what can I do now about my daughters and about their sons? 44 Come, let’s make a treaty, you and me, and let something be our witness.”[b]

45 So Jacob took a stone, set it up as a sacred pillar, 46 and said to his relatives, “Gather stones.” So they took stones, made a mound, and ate there near the mound. 47 Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha,[c] but Jacob called it Galeed.[d]

48 Laban said, “This mound is our witness today,” and, therefore, he too named it Galeed. 49 He also named it Mizpah,[e] because he said, “The Lord will observe both of us when we are separated from each other. 50 If you treat my daughters badly and if you marry other women, though we aren’t there, know that God observed our witness.”

51 Laban said to Jacob, “Here is this mound and here is the sacred pillar that I’ve set up for us. 52 This mound and the sacred pillar are witnesses that I won’t travel beyond this mound and that you won’t travel beyond this mound and this pillar to do harm. 53 The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor[f] will keep order between us.” So Jacob gave his word in the name of the awesome one of his father Isaac. 54 Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain, and invited his relatives to a meal. They ate together and spent the night on the mountain. 55 [g] Laban got up early in the morning, kissed his sons and daughters, blessed them, and left to go back to his own place.

Footnotes:

  1. Genesis 31:18 LXX; MT includes he had acquired, the livestock in his possession.
  2. Genesis 31:44 Or convenant or testimony
  3. Genesis 31:47 Or mound of witness (Aram)
  4. Genesis 31:47 Or mound of witness
  5. Genesis 31:49 Or observation
  6. Genesis 31:53 LXX; MT includes their father’s God.
  7. Genesis 31:55 32:1 in Heb
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

Genesis 31 New 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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