On the third day Laban was told that Jacob had fled. So he took his relatives with him, pursued Jacob for seven days, and overtook him in the hill country of Gilead. But God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night. “Watch yourself!” God warned him. “Don’t say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.”
When Laban overtook Jacob, Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country, and Laban and his relatives also pitched their tents in the hill country of Gilead. Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done? You have deceived me and taken my daughters away like prisoners of war! Why did you secretly flee from me, deceive me, and not tell me? I would have sent you away with joy and singing, with tambourines and lyres, but you didn’t even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters. You have acted foolishly. I could do you great harm, but last night the God of your father said to me: ‘Watch yourself! Don’t say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.’ Now you have gone off because you long for your father’s family — but why have you stolen my gods?”
Jacob answered, “I was afraid, for I thought you would take your daughters from me by force. If you find your gods with anyone here, he will not live! Before our relatives, point out anything that is yours and take it.” Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the idols.
So Laban went into Jacob’s tent, Leah’s tent, and the tents of the two concubines, but he found nothing. When he left Leah’s tent, he went into Rachel’s tent. Now Rachel had taken Laban’s household idols, put them in the saddlebag of the camel, and sat on them. Laban searched the whole tent but found nothing.
She said to her father, “Don’t be angry, my lord, that I cannot stand up in your presence; I am having my period.” So Laban searched, but could not find the household idols.
Then Jacob became incensed and brought charges against Laban. “What is my crime?” he said to Laban. “What is my sin, that you have pursued me? You’ve searched all my possessions! Have you found anything of yours? Put it here before my relatives and yours, and let them decide between the two of us. I’ve been with you these twenty years. Your ewes and female goats have not miscarried, and I have not eaten the rams from your flock. I did not bring you any of the flock torn by wild beasts; I myself bore the loss. You demanded payment from me for what was stolen by day or by night. There I was — the heat consumed me by day and the frost by night, and sleep fled from my eyes. For twenty years in your household I served you — fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flocks — and you have changed my wages ten times! If the God of my father, the God of Abraham, the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, certainly now you would have sent me off empty-handed. But God has seen my affliction and my hard work, and he issued his verdict last night.”
Then Laban answered Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters; the sons, my sons; and the flocks, my flocks! Everything you see is mine! But what can I do today for these daughters of mine or for the children they have borne? Come now, let’s make a covenant, you and I. Let it be a witness between the two of us.”
So Jacob picked out a stone and set it up as a marker. Then Jacob said to his relatives, “Gather stones.” And they took stones and made a mound, then ate there by the mound.