Genesis 31 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Jacob Flees with Family and Flocks
31 Now Jacob heard that the sons of Laban were saying, “Jacob has taken all that was our father’s; and from what was our father’s he has gained all this wealth.” 2 And Jacob saw that Laban did not regard him with favor as before. 3 Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you.” 4 So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah into the field where his flock was, 5 and said to them, “I see that your father does not regard me with favor as he did before. But the God of my father has been with me. 6 You know that I have served your father with all my strength; 7 yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times, but God did not permit him to harm me. 8 If he said, ‘The spotted shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore spotted; and if he said, ‘The striped shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore striped. 9 Thus God has taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me. 10 In the mating season of the flock I lifted up my eyes, and saw in a dream that the he-goats which leaped upon the flock were striped, spotted, and mottled. 11 Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob,’ and I said, ‘Here I am!’ 12 And he said, ‘Lift up your eyes and see, all the goats that leap upon the flock are striped, spotted, and mottled; for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me. Now arise, go forth from this land, and return to the land of your birth.’” 14 Then Rachel and Leah answered him, “Is there any portion or inheritance left to us in our father’s house? 15 Are we not regarded by him as foreigners? For he has sold us, and he has been using up the money given for us. 16 All the property which God has taken away from our father belongs to us and to our children; now then, whatever God has said to you, do.”
17 So Jacob arose, and set his sons and his wives on camels; 18 and he drove away all his cattle, all his livestock which he had gained, the cattle in his possession which he had acquired in Paddan-aram, to go to the land of Canaan to his father Isaac. 19 Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel stole her father’s household gods. 20 And Jacob outwitted Laban the Aramean, in that he did not tell him that he intended to flee. 21 He fled with all that he had, and arose and crossed the Euphra′tes, and set his face toward the hill country of Gilead.
Laban Overtakes Jacob
22 When it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob had fled, 23 he took his kinsmen with him and pursued him for seven days and followed close after him into the hill country of Gilead. 24 But God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream by night, and said to him, “Take heed that you say not a word to Jacob, either good or bad.”
25 And Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country, and Laban with his kinsmen encamped in the hill country of Gilead. 26 And Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done, that you have cheated me, and carried away my daughters like captives of the sword? 27 Why did you flee secretly, and cheat me, and did not tell me, so that I might have sent you away with mirth and songs, with tambourine and lyre? 28 And why did you not permit me to kiss my sons and my daughters farewell? Now you have done foolishly. 29 It is in my power to do you harm; but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Take heed that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad.’ 30 And now you have gone away because you longed greatly for your father’s house, but why did you steal my gods?” 31 Jacob answered Laban, “Because I was afraid, for I thought that you would take your daughters from me by force. 32 Any one with whom you find your gods shall not live. In the presence of our kinsmen point out what I have that is yours, and take it.” 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 maidservants, but he did not find them. And he went out of Leah’s tent, and entered Rachel’s. 34 Now Rachel had taken the household gods and put them in the camel’s saddle, and sat upon them. Laban felt all about the tent, but did not find them. 35 And she said to her father, “Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise before you, for the way of women is upon me.” So he searched, but did not find the household gods.
36 Then Jacob became angry, and upbraided Laban; Jacob said to Laban, “What is my offense? What is my sin, that you have hotly pursued me? 37 Although you have felt through all my goods, what have you found of all your household goods? Set it here before my kinsmen and your kinsmen, that they may decide between us two. 38 These twenty years I have been with you; your ewes and your she-goats have not miscarried, and I have not eaten the rams of your flocks. 39 That which was torn by wild beasts I did not bring to you; I bore the loss of it myself; of my hand you required it, whether stolen by day or stolen by night. 40 Thus I was; by day the heat consumed me, and the cold by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes. 41 These twenty years I have been in your house; I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times. 42 If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been on my side, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God saw my affliction and the labor of my hands, and rebuked you last night.”
Laban and Jacob Make a Covenant
43 Then Laban answered and said to Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, the flocks are my flocks, and 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 Come now, let us make a covenant, you and I; and let it be a witness between you and me.” 45 So Jacob took a stone, and set it up as a pillar. 46 And Jacob said to his kinsmen, “Gather stones,” and they took stones, and made a heap; and they ate there by the heap. 47 Laban called it Je′gar-sahadu′tha:[a] but Jacob called it Galeed.[b] 48 Laban said, “This heap is a witness between you and me today.” Therefore he named it Galeed, 49 and the pillar[c] Mizpah,[d] for he said, “The Lord watch between you and me, when we are absent one from the other. 50 If you ill-treat my daughters, or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no man is with us, remember, God is witness between you and me.”
51 Then Laban said to Jacob, “See this heap and the pillar, which I have set between you and me. 52 This heap is a witness, and the pillar is a witness, that I will not pass over this heap to you, and you will not pass over this heap and this pillar to me, for harm. 53 The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.” So Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac, 54 and Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain and called his kinsmen to eat bread; and they ate bread and tarried all night on the mountain.
55 [e] Early in the morning Laban arose, and kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them; then he departed and returned home.