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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 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)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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