Jacob Flees From Laban
1Jacob 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.” 2And Jacob noticed that Laban’s attitude toward him was not what it had been.
3Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”
4So Jacob sent word to Rachel and Leah to come out to the fields where his flocks were. 5He 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. 6You know that I’ve worked for your father with all my strength, 7yet your father has cheated me by changing my wages ten times. However, God has not allowed him to harm me. 8If 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. 9So 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. 11The angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob.’ I answered, ‘Here I am.’ 12And 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. 13I 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.’ ”
14Then Rachel and Leah replied, “Do we still have any share in the inheritance of our father’s estate? 15Does he not regard us as foreigners? Not only has he sold us, but he has used up what was paid for us. 16Surely all the wealth that God took away from our father belongs to us and our children. So do whatever God has told you.”
17Then Jacob put his children and his wives on camels, 18and he drove all his livestock ahead of him, along with all the goods he had accumulated in Paddan Aram,31:18 That is, Northwest Mesopotamia to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.
19When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father’s household gods. 20Moreover, Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean by not telling him he was running away. 21So he fled with all he had, crossed the Euphrates River, and headed for the hill country of Gilead.
Laban Pursues Jacob
22On the third day Laban was told that Jacob had fled. 23Taking his relatives with him, he pursued Jacob for seven days and caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead. 24Then 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.”
25Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country of Gilead when Laban overtook him, and Laban and his relatives camped there too. 26Then Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done? You’ve deceived me, and you’ve carried off my daughters like captives in war. 27Why 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? 28You didn’t even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters goodbye. You have done a foolish thing. 29I 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.’ 30Now you have gone off because you longed to return to your father’s household. But why did you steal my gods?”
31Jacob answered Laban, “I was afraid, because I thought you would take your daughters away from me by force. 32But 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.
33So 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. 34Now 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.
35Rachel 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.
36Jacob was angry and took Laban to task. “What is my crime?” he asked Laban. “How have I wronged you that you hunt me down? 37Now 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. 39I 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. 40This was my situation: The heat consumed me in the daytime and the cold at night, and sleep fled from my eyes. 41It 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. 42If 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.”
43Laban 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? 44Come now, let’s make a covenant, you and I, and let it serve as a witness between us.”
45So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar. 46He said to his relatives, “Gather some stones.” So they took stones and piled them in a heap, and they ate there by the heap. 47Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha, and Jacob called it Galeed.31:47 The Aramaic Jegar Sahadutha and the Hebrew Galeed both mean witness heap.
48Laban said, “This heap is a witness between you and me today.” That is why it was called Galeed. 49It was also called Mizpah,31:49 Mizpah means watchtower. because he said, “May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other. 50If 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.”
51Laban also said to Jacob, “Here is this heap, and here is this pillar I have set up between you and me. 52This 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. 53May 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. 54He offered a sacrifice there in the hill country and invited his relatives to a meal. After they had eaten, they spent the night there.
55Early the next morning Laban kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then he left and returned home.31:55 In Hebrew texts this verse (31:55) is numbered 32:1.
1And he heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father’s; and of that which was our father’s hath he gotten all this glory. 2And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before.31.2 as before: Heb. as yesterday and the day before 3And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee. 4And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock, 5And said unto them, I see your father’s countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me. 6And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. 7And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me. 8If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstraked. 9Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me. 10And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled.31.10 rams: or, he goats 11And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I. 12And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. 13I am the God of Beth-el, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred. 14And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father’s house? 15Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money. 16For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is ours, and our children’s: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do.
17¶ Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels; 18And he carried away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten in Padan-aram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan. 19And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father’s.31.19 images: Heb. teraphim 20And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled.31.20 unawares…: Heb. the heart of Laban 21So he fled with all that he had; and he rose up, and passed over the river, and set his face toward the mount Gilead. 22And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob was fled. 23And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days’ journey; and they overtook him in the mount Gilead. 24And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said unto him, Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.31.24 either…: Heb. from good to bad
25¶ Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mount: and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mount of Gilead. 26And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou done, that thou hast stolen away unawares to me, and carried away my daughters, as captives taken with the sword? 27Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp?31.27 steal…: Heb. hast stolen me 28And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? thou hast now done foolishly in so doing. 29It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt: but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad. 30And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father’s house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods? 31And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid: for I said, Peradventure thou wouldest take by force thy daughters from me. 32With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them. 33And Laban went into Jacob’s tent, and into Leah’s tent, and into the two maidservants’ tents; but he found them not. Then went he out of Leah’s tent, and entered into Rachel’s tent. 34Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel’s furniture, and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but found them not.31.34 searched: Heb. felt 35And she said to her father, Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the custom of women is upon me. And he searched, but found not the images.
36¶ And Jacob was wroth, and chode with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What is my trespass? what is my sin, that thou hast so hotly pursued after me? 37Whereas thou hast searched all my stuff, what hast thou found of all thy household stuff? set it here before my brethren and thy brethren, that they may judge betwixt us both.31.37 searched: Heb. felt 38This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten. 39That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night. 40Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes. 41Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times. 42Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.
43¶ And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and these cattle are my cattle, and all that thou seest is mine: and what can I do this day unto these my daughters, or unto their children which they have born? 44Now therefore come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee. 45And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar. 46And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap: and they did eat there upon the heap. 47And Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha: but Jacob called it Galeed.31.47 Jegar-sahadutha: that is, The heap of witness, Chaldee31.47 Galeed: that is, The heap of witness, Heb. 48And Laban said, This heap is a witness between me and thee this day. Therefore was the name of it called Galeed; 49And Mizpah; for he said, The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.31.49 Mizpah: that is, A beacon, or, watchtower 50If thou shalt afflict my daughters, or if thou shalt take other wives beside my daughters, no man is with us; see, God is witness betwixt me and thee. 51And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold this pillar, which I have cast betwixt me and thee; 52This heap be witness, and this pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm. 53The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us. And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac. 54Then Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount, and called his brethren to eat bread: and they did eat bread, and tarried all night in the mount.31.54 offered…: or, killed beasts 55And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them: and Laban departed, and returned unto his place.