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Genesis 31 Good News Translation (GNT)

Jacob Flees from Laban

31 Jacob heard that Laban's sons were saying, “Jacob has taken everything that belonged to our father. He got all his wealth from what our father owned.” He also saw that Laban was no longer as friendly as he had been earlier. Then the Lord said to him, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives. I will be with you.”

So Jacob sent word to Rachel and Leah to meet him in the field where his flocks were. He said to them, “I have noticed that your father is not as friendly toward me as he used to be; but my father's God has been with me. You both know that I have worked for your father with all my strength. Yet he has cheated me and changed my wages ten times. But God did not let him harm me. Whenever Laban said, ‘The speckled goats shall be your wages,’ all the flocks produced speckled young. When he said, ‘The striped goats shall be your wages,’ all the flocks produced striped young. God has taken flocks away from your father and given them to me.

10 “During the breeding season I had a dream, and I saw that the male goats that were mating were striped, spotted, and speckled. 11 The angel of God spoke to me in the dream and said, ‘Jacob!’ ‘Yes,’ I answered. 12 ‘Look,’ he continued, ‘all the male goats that are mating are striped, spotted, and speckled. I am making this happen because I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. 13 I am the God who appeared to you at Bethel, where you dedicated a stone as a memorial by pouring olive oil on it and where you made a vow to me. Now get ready and go back to the land where you were born.’”

14 Rachel and Leah answered Jacob, “There is nothing left for us to inherit from our father. 15 He treats us like foreigners. He sold us, and now he has spent all the money he was paid for us. 16 All this wealth which God has taken from our father belongs to us and to our children. Do whatever God has told you.”

17-18 So Jacob got ready to go back to his father in the land of Canaan. He put his children and his wives on the camels, and drove all his flocks ahead of him, with everything that he had gotten in Mesopotamia. 19 Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and during his absence Rachel stole the household gods that belonged to her father. 20 Jacob deceived Laban by not letting him know that he was leaving. 21 He took everything he owned and left in a hurry. He crossed the Euphrates River and started for the hill country of Gilead.

Laban Pursues Jacob

22 Three days later Laban was told that Jacob had fled. 23 He took his men with him and pursued Jacob for seven days until he caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead. 24 In a dream that night God came to Laban and said to him, “Be careful not to threaten Jacob in any way.” 25 Jacob had set up his camp on a mountain, and Laban set up his camp with his relatives in the hill country of Gilead.

26 Laban said to Jacob, “Why did you deceive me and carry off my daughters like women captured in war? 27 Why did you deceive me and slip away without telling me? If you had told me, I would have sent you on your way with rejoicing and singing to the music of tambourines and harps. 28 You did not even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters good-bye. That was a foolish thing to do! 29 I have the power to do you harm, but last night the God of your father warned me not to threaten you in any way. 30 I know that you left because you were so anxious to get back home, but why did you steal my household gods?”

31 Jacob answered, “I was afraid, because I thought that you might take your daughters away from me. 32 But if you find that anyone here has your gods, he will be put to death. Here, with our men as witnesses, look for anything that belongs to you and take what is yours.” Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen Laban's gods.

33 Laban went and searched Jacob's tent; then he went into Leah's tent, and the tent of the two slave women, but he did not find his gods. Then he went into Rachel's tent. 34 Rachel had taken the household gods and put them in a camel's saddlebag and was sitting on them. Laban searched through the whole tent, but did not find them. 35 Rachel said to her father, “Do not be angry with me, sir, but I am not able to stand up in your presence; I am having my monthly period.” Laban searched but did not find his household gods.

36 Then Jacob lost his temper. “What crime have I committed?” he asked angrily. “What law have I broken that gives you the right to hunt me down? 37 Now that you have searched through all my belongings, what household article have you found that belongs to you? Put it out here where your men and mine can see it, and let them decide which one of us is right. 38 I have been with you now for twenty years; your sheep and your goats have not failed to reproduce, and I have not eaten any rams from your flocks. 39 Whenever a sheep was killed by wild animals, I always bore the loss myself. I didn't take it to you to show that it was not my fault. You demanded that I make good anything that was stolen during the day or during the night. 40 Many times I suffered from the heat during the day and from the cold at night. I was not able to sleep. 41 It was like that for the whole twenty years I was with you. For fourteen years I worked to win your two daughters—and six years for your flocks. And even then, you changed my wages ten times. 42 If the God of my fathers, the God of Abraham and Isaac, had not been with me, you would have already sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen my trouble and the work I have done, and last night he gave his judgment.”

The Agreement between Jacob and Laban

43 Laban answered Jacob, “These young women are my daughters; their children belong to me, and these flocks are mine. In fact, everything you see here belongs to me. But since I can do nothing to keep my daughters and their children, 44 I am ready to make an agreement with you. Let us make a pile of stones to remind us of our agreement.”

45 So Jacob got a stone and set it up as a memorial. 46 He told his men to gather some rocks and pile them up. Then they ate a meal beside the pile of rocks. 47 Laban named it Jegar Sahadutha,[a] while Jacob named it Galeed.[b] 48 Laban said to Jacob, “This pile of rocks will be a reminder for both of us.” That is why that place was named Galeed. 49 Laban also said, “May the Lord keep an eye on us while we are separated from each other.” So the place was also named Mizpah.[c] 50 Laban went on, “If you mistreat my daughters or if you marry other women, even though I don't know about it, remember that God is watching us. 51 Here are the rocks that I have piled up between us, and here is the memorial stone. 52 Both this pile and this memorial stone are reminders. I will never go beyond this pile to attack you, and you must never go beyond it or beyond this memorial stone to attack me. 53 The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor[d] will judge between us.” Then, in the name of the God whom his father Isaac worshiped, Jacob solemnly vowed to keep this promise. 54 He killed an animal, which he offered as a sacrifice on the mountain, and he invited his men to the meal. After they had eaten, they spent the night on the mountain. 55 Early the next morning Laban kissed his grandchildren and his daughters good-bye, and left to go back home.

Footnotes:

  1. Genesis 31:47 This name in Aramaic means “a pile to remind us.”
  2. Genesis 31:47 This name in Hebrew means “a pile to remind us.”
  3. Genesis 31:49 This name sounds like the Hebrew for “place from which to watch.”
  4. Genesis 31:53 Abraham was Jacob's grandfather and Nahor was Laban's grandfather.
Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Genesis 31 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

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; he has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father.” And Jacob saw that Laban did not regard him as favorably as he did before. Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your ancestors and to your kindred, and I will be with you.” So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah into the field where his flock was, and said to them, “I see that your father does not regard me as favorably as he did before. But the God of my father has been with me. You know that I have served your father with all my strength; yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times, but God did not permit him to harm me. If he said, ‘The speckled shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore speckled; and if he said, ‘The striped shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore striped. Thus God has taken away the livestock of your father, and given them to me.

10 “During the mating of the flock I once had a dream in which I looked up and saw that the male goats that leaped upon the flock were striped, speckled, 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, ‘Look up and see that all the goats that leap on the flock are striped, speckled, and mottled; for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel,[a] where you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me. Now leave this land at once 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 that God has taken away from our father belongs to us and to our children; now then, do whatever God has said to you.”

17 So Jacob arose, and set his children and his wives on camels; 18 and he drove away all his livestock, all the property that he had gained, the livestock in his possession that he had acquired in Paddan-aram, to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.

19 Now Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel stole her father’s household gods. 20 And Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean, in that he did not tell him that he intended to flee. 21 So he fled with all that he had; starting out he crossed the Euphrates,[b] and set his face toward the hill country of Gilead.

Laban Overtakes Jacob

22 On the third day Laban was told that Jacob had fled. 23 So he took his kinsfolk with him and pursued him for seven days until he caught up with him in 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 Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country, and Laban with his kinsfolk camped in the hill country of Gilead. 26 Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done? You have deceived me, and carried away my daughters like captives of the sword. 27 Why did you flee secretly and deceive me and not tell me? I would 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? What you have done is foolish. 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 Even though you had to go because you longed greatly for your father’s house, 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 But anyone with whom you find your gods shall not live. In the presence of our kinsfolk, point out what I have that is yours, and take it.” Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the gods.[c]

33 So Laban went into Jacob’s tent, and into Leah’s tent, and into the tent of the two maids, 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 on them. Laban felt all about in 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 about through all my goods, what have you found of all your household goods? Set it here before my kinsfolk and your kinsfolk, so that they may decide between us two. 38 These twenty years I have been with you; your ewes and your female 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 It was like this with me: 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[d] 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 today about these daughters of mine, or about 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 kinsfolk, “Gather stones,” and they took stones, and made a heap; and they ate there by the heap. 47 Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha:[e] but Jacob called it Galeed.[f] 48 Laban said, “This heap is a witness between you and me today.” Therefore he called it Galeed, 49 and the pillar[g] Mizpah,[h] 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 in addition to my daughters, though no one else is with us, remember that God is witness between you and me.”

51 Then Laban said to Jacob, “See this heap and see 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 beyond this heap to you, and you will not pass beyond this heap and this pillar to me, for harm. 53 May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor”—the God of their father—“judge between us.” So Jacob swore by the Fear[i] of his father Isaac, 54 and Jacob offered a sacrifice on the height and called his kinsfolk to eat bread; and they ate bread and tarried all night in the hill country.

55 [j] Early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them; then he departed and returned home.

Footnotes:

  1. Genesis 31:13 Cn: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  2. Genesis 31:21 Heb the river
  3. Genesis 31:32 Heb them
  4. Genesis 31:42 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  5. Genesis 31:47 In Aramaic The heap of witness
  6. Genesis 31:47 In Hebrew The heap of witness
  7. Genesis 31:49 Compare Sam: MT lacks the pillar
  8. Genesis 31:49 That is Watchpost
  9. Genesis 31:53 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  10. Genesis 31:55 Ch 32.1 in Heb
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Genesis 31 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

31 But then he heard what Lavan’s sons were saying: “Ya‘akov has taken away everything that our father once had. It’s from what used to belong to our father that he has gotten so rich.” He also saw that Lavan regarded him differently than before. Adonai said to Ya‘akov, “Return to the land of your ancestors, to your kinsmen; I will be with you.” So Ya‘akov sent for Rachel and Le’ah and had them come to the field where his flock was. He said to them, “I see by the way your father looks that he feels differently toward me than before; but the God of my father has been with me. You know that I have served your father with all my strength, and that your father has belittled me and has changed my wages ten times; but God did not allow him to do me any damage. If he said, ‘The speckled will be your wages,’ then all the animals gave birth to speckled young; and if he said, ‘The streaked will be your wages,’ then all the animals gave birth to streaked young. This is how God has taken away your father’s animals and given them to me. 10 Once, when the animals were mating, I had a dream: I looked up and there in front of me the male goats which mated with the females were streaked, speckled and mottled. 11 Then, in the dream, the angel of God said to me, ‘Ya‘akov!’ and I replied, ‘Here I am.’ 12 He continued, ‘Raise your eyes now, and look: all the male goats mating with the females are streaked, speckled and mottled; for I have seen everything Lavan has been doing to you. 13 I am the God of Beit-El, where you anointed a standing-stone with oil, where you vowed your vow to me. Now get up, get out of this land, and return to the land where you were born.’” 14 Rachel and Le’ah answered him, “We no longer have any inheritance from our father’s possessions; 15 and he considers us foreigners, since he has sold us; moreover, he has consumed everything he received in exchange for us. 16 Nevertheless, the wealth which God has taken away from our father has become ours and our children’s anyway; so whatever God has told you to do, do.”

(vi) 17 Then Ya‘akov got up, put his sons and wives on the camels, 18 and carried off all his livestock, along with all the riches he had accumulated, the livestock in his possession which he had acquired in Paddan-Aram, to go to Yitz’chak his father in the land of Kena‘an.

19 Now Lavan had gone to shear his sheep, so Rachel stole the household idols that belonged to her father, 20 and Ya‘akov outwitted Lavan the Arami by not telling him of his intended flight. 21 So he fled with everything he had: he departed, crossed the [Euphrates] River and set out for the hill-country of Gil‘ad. 22 Not until the third day was Lavan told that Ya‘akov had fled.

23 Lavan took his kinsmen with him and spent the next seven days pursuing Ya‘akov, overtaking him in the hill-country of Gil‘ad. 24 But God came to Lavan the Arami in a dream that night and said to him, “Be careful that you don’t say anything to Ya‘akov, either good or bad.”

25 When Lavan caught up with Ya‘akov, Ya‘akov had set up camp in the hill-country; so Lavan and his kinsmen set up camp in the hill-country of Gil‘ad. 26 Lavan said to Ya‘akov, “What do you mean by deceiving me and carrying off my daughters as if they were captives taken in war? 27 Why did you flee in secret and deceive me and not tell me? I would have sent you off with joy and singing to the music of tambourines and lyres. 28 You didn’t even let me kiss my sons and daughters good-bye! What a stupid thing to do! 29 I have it in my power to do you harm; but the God of your father spoke to me last night and said, ‘Be careful that you don’t say anything to Ya‘akov, either good or bad.’ 30 Granted that you had to leave, because you longed so deeply for your father’s house; but why did you steal my gods?” 31 Ya‘akov answered Lavan, “Because I was afraid. I said, ‘Suppose you take your daughters away from me by force?’ 32 But if you find your gods with someone, that person will not remain alive. So with our kinsmen to witness, if you spot anything that I have which belongs to you, take it back.” Ya‘akov did not know that Rachel had stolen them. 33 Lavan went into Ya‘akov’s tent, then into Le’ah’s tent and into the tent of the two slave-girls; but he did not find them. He left Le’ah’s tent and entered Rachel’s tent. 34 Now Rachel had taken the household gods, put them in the saddle of the camel and was sitting on them. Lavan felt all around the tent but did not find them. 35 She said to her father, “Please don’t be angry that I’m not getting up in your presence, but it’s the time of my period.” So he searched, but he didn’t find the household gods.

36 Then Ya‘akov became angry and started arguing with Lavan. “What have I done wrong?” he demanded. “What is my offense, that you have come after me in hot pursuit? 37 You have felt around in all my stuff, but what have you found of all your household goods? Put it here, in front of my kinsmen and yours, so that they can render judgment between the two of us! 38 I have been with you for these twenty years! Your female sheep and goats haven’t aborted their young, and I haven’t eaten the male animals in your flocks. 39 If one of your flock was destroyed by a wild animal, I didn’t bring the carcass to you but bore the loss myself. You demanded that I compensate you for any animal stolen, whether by day or by night. 40 Here’s how it was for me: during the day thirst consumed me, and at night the cold — my sleep fled from my eyes. 41 These twenty years I’ve been in your house — I served you fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flock; and you changed my wages ten times! 42 If the God of my father, the God of Avraham, the one whom Yitz’chak fears, had not been on my side, by now you would certainly have already sent me away with nothing! God has seen how distressed I’ve been and how hard I’ve worked, and last night he passed judgment in my favor.”

(vii) 43 Lavan answered Ya‘akov, “The daughters are mine, the children are mine, the flocks are mine, and everything you see is mine! But what can I do today about these daughters of mine or the children they have borne? 44 So now, come, let’s make a covenant, I and you; and let it stand as a testimony between me and you.” 45 Ya‘akov took a stone and set it upright as a standing-stone. 46 Then Ya‘akov said to his kinsmen, “Gather some stones”; and they took stones, made a pile of them and ate there by the pile of stones. 47 Lavan called it Y’gar-Sahaduta [“pile of witness” in Aramaic], while Ya‘akov called it Gal-‘Ed [“pile of witness” in Hebrew].

48 Lavan said, “This pile witnesses between me and you today.” This is why it is called Gal-‘Ed 49 and also HaMitzpah [the watchtower], because he said, “May Adonai watch between me and you when we are apart from each other. 50 If you cause pain to my daughters, or if you take wives in addition to my daughters, then, even if no one is there with us, still God is witness between me and you.” 51 Lavan also said to Ya‘akov, “Here is this pile, and here is this standing-stone, which I have set up between me and you. 52 May this pile be a witness, and may the standing-stone be a witness, that I will not pass beyond this pile to you, and you will not pass beyond this pile and this standing-stone to me, to cause harm. 53 May the God of Avraham and also the god of Nachor, the god of their father, judge between us.” But Ya‘akov swore by the One his father Yitz’chak feared. 54 Ya‘akov offered a sacrifice on the mountain and invited his kinsmen to the meal. They ate the food and spent the whole night on the mountain.

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

Genesis 31 The Message (MSG)

31 1-2 Jacob learned that Laban’s sons were talking behind his back: “Jacob has used our father’s wealth to make himself rich at our father’s expense.” At the same time, Jacob noticed that Laban had changed toward him. He wasn’t treating him the same.

That’s when God said to Jacob, “Go back home where you were born. I’ll go with you.”

4-9 So Jacob sent word for Rachel and Leah to meet him out in the field where his flocks were. He said, “I notice that your father has changed toward me; he doesn’t treat me the same as before. But the God of my father hasn’t changed; he’s still with me. You know how hard I’ve worked for your father. Still, your father has cheated me over and over, changing my wages time and again. But God never let him really hurt me. If he said, ‘Your wages will consist of speckled animals’ the whole flock would start having speckled lambs and kids. And if he said, ‘From now on your wages will be streaked animals’ the whole flock would have streaked ones. Over and over God used your father’s livestock to reward me.

10-11 “Once, while the flocks were mating, I had a dream and saw the billy goats, all of them streaked, speckled, and mottled, mounting their mates. In the dream an angel of God called out to me, ‘Jacob!’

“I said, ‘Yes?’

12-13 “He said, ‘Watch closely. Notice that all the goats in the flock that are mating are streaked, speckled, and mottled. I know what Laban’s been doing to you. I’m the God of Bethel where you consecrated a pillar and made a vow to me. Now be on your way, get out of this place, go home to your birthplace.’”

14-16 Rachel and Leah said, “Has he treated us any better? Aren’t we treated worse than outsiders? All he wanted was the money he got from selling us, and he’s spent all that. Any wealth that God has seen fit to return to us from our father is justly ours and our children’s. Go ahead. Do what God told you.”

17-18 Jacob did it. He put his children and his wives on camels and gathered all his livestock and everything he had gotten, everything acquired in Paddan Aram, to go back home to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.

19-21 Laban was off shearing sheep. Rachel stole her father’s household gods. And Jacob had concealed his plans so well that Laban the Aramean had no idea what was going on—he was totally in the dark. Jacob got away with everything he had and was soon across the Euphrates headed for the hill country of Gilead.

22-24 Three days later, Laban got the news: “Jacob’s run off.” Laban rounded up his relatives and chased after him. Seven days later they caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead. That night God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream and said, “Be careful what you do to Jacob, whether good or bad.”

25 When Laban reached him, Jacob’s tents were pitched in the Gilead mountains; Laban pitched his tents there, too.

26-30 “What do you mean,” said Laban, “by keeping me in the dark and sneaking off, hauling my daughters off like prisoners of war? Why did you run off like a thief in the night? Why didn’t you tell me? Why, I would have sent you off with a great celebration—music, timbrels, flutes! But you wouldn’t permit me so much as a kiss for my daughters and grandchildren. It was a stupid thing for you to do. If I had a mind to, I could destroy you right now, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, ‘Be careful what you do to Jacob, whether good or bad.’ I understand. You left because you were homesick. But why did you steal my household gods?”

31-32 Jacob answered Laban, “I was afraid. I thought you would take your daughters away from me by brute force. But as far as your gods are concerned, if you find that anybody here has them, that person dies. With all of us watching, look around. If you find anything here that belongs to you, take it.” Jacob didn’t know that Rachel had stolen the gods.

33-35 Laban went through Jacob’s tent, Leah’s tent, and the tents of the two maids but didn’t find them. He went from Leah’s tent to Rachel’s. But Rachel had taken the household gods, put them inside a camel cushion, and was sitting on them. When Laban had gone through the tent, searching high and low without finding a thing, Rachel said to her father, “Don’t think I’m being disrespectful, my master, that I can’t stand before you, but I’m having my period.” So even though he turned the place upside down in his search, he didn’t find the household gods.

36-37 Now it was Jacob’s turn to get angry. He lit into Laban: “So what’s my crime, what wrong have I done you that you badger me like this? You’ve ransacked the place. Have you turned up a single thing that’s yours? Let’s see it—display the evidence. Our two families can be the jury and decide between us.

38-42 “In the twenty years I’ve worked for you, ewes and she-goats never miscarried. I never feasted on the rams from your flock. I never brought you a torn carcass killed by wild animals but that I paid for it out of my own pocket—actually, you made me pay whether it was my fault or not. I was out in all kinds of weather, from torrid heat to freezing cold, putting in many a sleepless night. For twenty years I’ve done this: I slaved away fourteen years for your two daughters and another six years for your flock and you changed my wages ten times. If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not stuck with me, you would have sent me off penniless. But God saw the fix I was in and how hard I had worked and last night rendered his verdict.”

43-44 Laban defended himself: “The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, the flock is my flock—everything you see is mine. But what can I do about my daughters or for the children they’ve had? So let’s settle things between us, make a covenant—God will be the witness between us.”

45 Jacob took a stone and set it upright as a pillar.

46-47 Jacob called his family around, “Get stones!” They gathered stones and heaped them up and then ate there beside the pile of stones. Laban named it in Aramaic, Yegar-sahadutha (Witness Monument); Jacob echoed the naming in Hebrew, Galeed (Witness Monument).

48-50 Laban said, “This monument of stones will be a witness, beginning now, between you and me.” (That’s why it is called Galeed—Witness Monument.) It is also called Mizpah (Watchtower) because Laban said, “God keep watch between you and me when we are out of each other’s sight. If you mistreat my daughters or take other wives when there’s no one around to see you, God will see you and stand witness between us.”

51-53 Laban continued to Jacob, “This monument of stones and this stone pillar that I have set up is a witness, a witness that I won’t cross this line to hurt you and you won’t cross this line to hurt me. The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor (the God of their ancestor) will keep things straight between us.”

53-55 Jacob promised, swearing by the Fear, the God of his father Isaac. Then Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain and worshiped, calling in all his family members to the meal. They ate and slept that night on the mountain. Laban got up early the next morning, kissed his grandchildren and his daughters, blessed them, and then set off for home.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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