1 But afterwards, he heard the words of the sons of Laban, saying, "Jacob has taken all that was our father's, and being enlarged by his ability, he has become famous."
2 Likewise, he observed that Laban's face was not the same toward him as it was yesterday and the day before.
3 Most importantly, the Lord was saying to him, "Return to the land of your fathers and to your generation, and I will be with you."
4 He sent and called for Rachel and Leah, in the field where he pastured the flocks,
5 and he said to them: "I see that your father's face is not the same toward me as it was yesterday and the day before. But the God of my father has been with me.
6 And you know that I have served your father with all my strength.
7 Even so, your father has circumvented me, and he has changed my wages ten times. And yet God has not permitted him to harm me.
8 Whenever he said, 'The speckled will be your wages,' all the sheep gave birth to speckled newborns. Yet truly, when he said the contrary, 'You will take whatever is white for your wages,' all the flocks gave birth to white ones.
9 And it is God who has taken your father's substance and given it to me.
10 For after the time had arrived for the ewes to conceive, I lifted up my eyes, and I saw in my sleep that the males climbing on the females were of variegated, and spotted, and diverse colors.
11 And the Angel of God said to me in my sleep, 'Jacob.' And I responded, 'Here I am.'
12 And he said: 'Lift up your eyes, and see that all the males climbing on the females are variegated, spotted, and also speckled. For I have seen all that Laban has done to you.
13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the stone and made a vow to me. Now therefore arise, and depart from this land, returning to the land of your nativity.' "
14 And Rachel and Leah responded: "Have we anything left behind among the resources and inheritance of our father's house?
15 Has he not considered us as foreigners, and sold us, and consumed our price?
16 But God has taken our father's riches and handed these to us and to our sons. Therefore, do all that God has instructed you."
17 And so Jacob rose up, and having placed the children and his wives upon camels, he went forth.
18 And he took all his substance and flocks, and whatever he had acquired in Mesopotamia, and he journeyed to his father Isaac, in the land of Canaan.
19 At that time, Laban had gone to shear the sheep, and so Rachel stole her father's idols.
20 And Jacob was not willing to confess to his father-in-law that he was fleeing.
21 And when he had gone away with all such things that were justly his, and, having crossed the river, was continuing on toward Mount Gilead,
22 it was reported to Laban on the third day that Jacob had fled.
23 And taking his brothers with him, he pursued him for seven days. And he overtook him at Mount Gilead.
24 And he saw in a dream, God saying to him, "Beware that you not speak anything harsh against Jacob."
25 And now Jacob had pitched his tent at the mountain. And when he, with his brothers, had overtaken him, he set his tent at the same place at Mount Gilead.
26 And he said to Jacob: "Why have you acted this way, departing from me in secret, with my daughters like captives of the sword?
27 Why would you want to flee without my knowledge and without telling me, though I might have led you forward with gladness, and songs, and timbrels, and lyres?
28 You have not permitted me to kiss my sons and daughters. You have acted foolishly. And now, indeed,
29 my hand has power to repay you with harm. But the God of your father said to me yesterday, 'Beware that you not speak anything stern against Jacob.'
30 It may be that you desired to go to your own, and that you longed for the house of your father. But why have you stolen my gods?"
31 Jacob answered: "I set out, unknown to you, because I feared that you might take away your daughters by violence.
32 But, since you accuse me of theft, with whomever you will find your gods, let him be slain in the sight of our brothers. Search; anything of yours that you will find with me, take it away." Now when he said this, he did not know that Rachel had stolen the idols.
33 And so Laban, entering the tent of Jacob, and of Leah, and of both the handmaids, did not find them. And when he had entered the tent of Rachel,
34 she quickly hid the idols under the camel's bedding, and she sat upon them. And when he had searched the entire tent and found nothing,
35 she said: "Do not be angry, my lord, that I am unable to rise up in your sight, because it has now happened to me according to the custom of women." So his careful search was thwarted.
36 And Jacob, being inflated, said with contention: "For which fault of mine, or for what sin of mine, have you become so enraged against me
37 and searched all the items of my house? What have you found from all the substance of your house? Place it here before my brothers, and your brothers, and let them judge between me and you.
38 For what reason have I been with you for twenty years? Your ewes and she-goats were not barren; the rams of your flocks I did not consume.
39 Neither did I reveal to you what was seized by the wild beast. I replaced all that was damaged. Whatever was lost by theft, you collected it from me.
40 Day and night, I was burned by heat and by frost, and sleep fled from my eyes.
41 And in this way, for twenty years, I have served you in your house: fourteen for your daughters, and six for your flocks. You have also changed my wages ten times.
42 If the God of my father Abraham and the fear of Isaac had not been close to me, perhaps by now you would have sent me away naked. But God looked kindly on my affliction and the labor of my hands, and he rebuked you yesterday."
43 Laban answered him: "My daughters and sons, and your flocks, and all that you discern are mine. What can I do to my sons and grandchildren?
44 Come, therefore, let us enter into a pact, so that it may be a testimony between me and you."
45 And so Jacob took a stone, and he set it up as a memorial.
46 And he said to his brothers, "Bring stones." And they, gathering together stones, made a tomb, and they ate upon it.
47 And Laban called it, 'Tomb of Witness,' and Jacob, 'Pile of Testimony;' each of them according to the fitness of his own language.
48 And Laban said: "This tomb will be a witness between me and you this day." (And for this reason, its name has been called Gilead, that is, 'Tomb of Witness.')
49 "May the Lord consider and judge between us, when we will have withdrawn from one another.
50 If you afflict my daughters, and if you bring in other wives over them, no one is a witness of our words except God, who understands beforehand."
51 And again he said to Jacob. "Lo, this tomb and the stone that I have set up between me and you,
52 will be a witness. This tomb," I say, "and the stone, they are for testimony, in case either I cross beyond it going toward you, or you cross beyond it thinking to harm me.
53 May the God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us." Therefore, Jacob swore by the fear of his father Isaac.
54 And after he had immolated sacrifices on the mountain, he called his brothers to eat bread. And when they had eaten, they lodged there.
55 In truth, Laban rose up in the night, and he kissed his sons and daughters, and he blessed them. And he returned to his place.
Time to Leave—Jacob Runs Away
1One day Jacob heard Laban’s sons talking. They said, “Jacob has taken everything that our father owned. He has become rich—and he has taken all this wealth from our father.” 2Then Jacob noticed that Laban was not as friendly as he had been in the past. 3The Lord said to Jacob, “Go back to your own land where your ancestors lived. I will be with you.”
4So Jacob told Rachel and Leah to meet him in the field where he kept his flocks of sheep and goats. 5He said to them, “I have noticed that your father is not as friendly with me as he used to be. But the God of my father has been with me. 6You both know that I have worked as hard as I could for your father. 7But he cheated me. He has changed my pay ten times. But during all this time, God protected me from all of Laban’s tricks.
8“At one time Laban said, ‘You can keep all the goats with spots. This will be your pay.’ After he said this, all the animals gave birth to spotted goats, so they were all mine. But then Laban said, ‘I will keep the spotted goats. You can have all the striped goats. That will be your pay.’ After he said this, all the animals gave birth to striped goats. 9So God has taken the animals away from your father and has given them to me.
10“I had a dream during the time when the animals were mating. I saw that the only male goats that were mating were the ones with stripes and spots. 11The angel of God spoke to me in that dream. The angel said, ‘Jacob!’
“I answered, ‘Yes!’
12“The angel said, ‘Look, only the striped and spotted goats are mating. I am causing this to happen. I have seen all the wrong things Laban has been doing to you. I am doing this so that you can have all the new baby goats. 13I am the God who came to you at Bethel, and there you made an altar, poured olive oil on it, and made a promise to me. Now I want you to be ready to go back to the country where you were born.’”
14Rachel and Leah answered Jacob, “Our father has nothing to give us when he dies. 15He treated us like strangers. He sold us to you, and then he spent all the money that should have been ours. 16God took all this wealth from our father, and now it belongs to us and our children. So you should do whatever God told you to do.”
17So Jacob prepared for the trip. He put his children and his wives on camels. 18Then they began traveling back to the land of Canaan, where his father lived. All the flocks of animals that Jacob owned walked ahead of them. He carried everything with him that he had gotten while he lived in Paddan Aram.
19While Laban was gone to cut the wool from his sheep, Rachel went into his house and stole the false gods that belonged to her father.
20Jacob tricked Laban the Aramean. He did not tell Laban he was leaving. 21Jacob took his family and everything he owned and left quickly. They crossed the Euphrates River and traveled toward the hill country of Gilead.
22Three days later Laban learned that Jacob had run away. 23So he gathered his men together and began to chase Jacob. After seven days Laban found Jacob near the hill country of Gilead. 24That night God came to Laban in a dream and said, “Be careful! Be careful of every word you say to Jacob.”
The Search for the Stolen Gods
25The next morning Laban caught up with Jacob. Jacob had set up his camp on the mountain, so Laban and all his men set up their camp in the hill country of Gilead.
26Laban said to Jacob, “Why did you trick me? Why did you take my daughters like they were women you captured during war? 27Why did you run away without telling me? If you had told me, I would have given you a party. There would have been singing and dancing with music. 28You didn’t even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters goodbye. You were very foolish to do this! 29I have the power to really hurt you. But last night the God of your father came to me in a dream. He warned me not to hurt you in any way. 30I know that you want to go back to your home. That is why you left. But why did you steal the gods from my house?”
31Jacob answered, “I left without telling you, because I was afraid. I thought you would take your daughters away from me. 32But I did not steal your gods. If you find anyone here with me who has taken your gods, they will be killed. Your men will be my witnesses. You can look for anything that belongs to you. Take anything that is yours.” (Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen Laban’s gods.)
33So Laban went and looked through Jacob’s camp. He looked in Jacob’s tent and then in Leah’s tent. Then he looked in the tent where the two slave women stayed, but he did not find the gods from his house. Then he went into Rachel’s tent. 34Rachel had hidden the gods inside her camel’s saddle, and she was sitting on them. Laban looked through the whole tent, but he did not find the gods.
35And Rachel said to her father, “Father, don’t be angry with me. I am not able to stand up before you. I am having my monthly time of bleeding.” So Laban looked through the camp, but he did not find the gods from his house.
36Then Jacob became very angry and said, “What wrong have I done? What law have I broken? What right do you have to chase me and stop me? 37You looked through everything I own and found nothing that belongs to you. If you found something, show it to me. Put it here where our men can see it. Let our men decide which one of us is right. 38I have worked 20 years for you. During all that time none of the baby sheep and goats died during birth. And I have not eaten any of the rams from your flocks. 39Any time a sheep was killed by wild animals, I always paid for the loss myself. I did not take the dead animal to you and say that it was not my fault. But I was robbed day and night. 40In the daytime the sun took away my strength, and at night sleep was taken from my eyes by the cold. 41I worked 20 years like a slave for you. For the first 14 years I worked to win your two daughters. The last six years I worked to earn your animals. And during that time you changed my pay ten times. 42But the God of my ancestors, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac,#31:42 Fear of Isaac A name for God. was with me. If God had not been with me, you would have sent me away with nothing. But he saw the trouble that I had and the work that I did, and last night God proved that I am right.”
Jacob and Laban’s Treaty
43Laban said to Jacob, “These women are my daughters. These children belong to me, and these animals are mine. Everything you see here belongs to me, but I can do nothing to keep my daughters and their children. 44So I am ready to make an agreement with you. We will set up a pile of stones to show that we have an agreement.”
45So Jacob found a large rock and put it there to show that he had made an agreement. 46He told his men to find some more rocks and to make a pile of rocks. Then they ate beside the pile of rocks. 47Laban named that place Yegar Sahadutha.#31:47 Yegar Sahadutha Aramaic words meaning “rock pile of the agreement.” But Jacob named that place Galeed.#31:47 Galeed Another name for Gilead. This Hebrew name means “rock pile of the agreement.”
48Laban said to Jacob, “This pile of rocks will help us both remember our agreement.” That is why Jacob called the place Galeed.
49Then Laban said, “Let the Lord watch over us while we are separated from each other.” So that place was also named Mizpah.#31:49 Mizpah This means “a place to watch from.”
50Then Laban said, “If you hurt my daughters, remember that God will punish you. If you marry other women, remember that God is watching. 51Here are the rocks that I have put between us, and here is the special rock to show that we made an agreement. 52This pile of rocks and this one special rock both help us to remember our agreement. I will never go past these rocks to fight against you, and you must never go on my side of these rocks to fight against me. 53May the God of Abraham, the God of Nahor, and the God of their ancestors judge us guilty if we break this agreement.”
Jacob’s father, Isaac, called God “Fear.” So Jacob used that name to make the promise. 54Then Jacob killed an animal and offered it as a sacrifice on the mountain. And he invited his men to come and share a meal. After they finished eating, they spent the night on the mountain. 55Early the next morning Laban kissed his grandchildren and his daughters goodbye. He blessed them and went back home.
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