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Genesis - Chapter 31

1 Jacob learned that Laban's sons were saying, 'Jacob has taken everything that belonged to our father; it is at our father's expense that he has acquired all this wealth,'

2 and Jacob also saw that Laban's manner towards him was not as it had been in the past.

3 Yahweh said to Jacob, 'Go back to the land of your ancestors, where you were born, and I shall be with you.'

4 So Jacob had Rachel and Leah called to the fields where his flocks were,

5 and he said to them, 'I can see that your father's manner towards me is not as it was in the past, but the God of my father has been with me.

6 You yourselves know that I have worked for your father with all my might,

7 and that your father has tricked me, changing my wages ten times over, and yet God has not allowed him to harm me.

8 Whenever he said, "The spotted ones will be your wages," all the animals produced spotted young; whenever he said, "The striped ones will be your wages," all the animals produced striped young.

9 Thus God has reclaimed your father's livestock and given it to me.

10 Once, when the animals were on heat, I suddenly saw in a dream that the he-goats covering the females were striped or spotted or piebald.

11 In the dream the angel of God called to me, "Jacob!" I said, "Here I am."

12 He said, "Now take note: all the he-goats covering the females are striped or spotted or piebald -- for I too have noted all the things that Laban has been doing to you,

13 I am the God who appeared to you at Bethel, where you poured oil on a pillar and made a vow to me. On your feet, then, leave this country and return to the land of your birth." '

14 In answer Rachel and Leah said to him, 'Are we still likely to inherit anything from our father's estate?

15 Does he not think of us as outsiders now? For not only has he sold us, but he has completely swallowed up the money he got for us.

16 All the wealth that God has reclaimed from our father belonged to us and our children in any case. So do whatever God has told you.'

17 Forthwith, Jacob put his children and his wives on camels,

18 and drove off all his livestock -- with all the possessions he had acquired, the livestock belonging to him which he had acquired in Paddan-Aram -- to go to his father Isaac in Canaan.

19 Laban was away, shearing his sheep; Rachel in the meanwhile had appropriated the household idols belonging to her father,

20 and Jacob had outwitted Laban the Aramaean so that he would not be forewarned of his flight.

21 Thus he got away with all he had. He was soon across the River and heading for Mount Gilead.

22 Three days later Laban was told that Jacob had fled.

23 Taking his brothers with him, he pursued him for seven days and overtook him at Mount Gilead.

24 But God appeared to Laban the Aramaean in a dream that night and said to him, 'On no account say anything whatever to Jacob.'

25 Laban caught up with Jacob, who had pitched his tent in the hills; and Laban pitched camp on Mount Gilead.

26 Laban said to Jacob, 'What do you mean by outwitting me and then carrying off my daughters like prisoners of war?

27 Why did you flee in secret, stealing away without letting me know, so that I could send you on your way rejoicing, with songs and the music of tambourines and harps?

28 You did not even let me kiss my sons and daughters. You have behaved like a fool.

29 It is in my power to harm you, but the God of your father said to me last night, "On no account say anything whatever to Jacob."

30 Now it may be you really went because you had such a longing for your father's house, but why did you steal my gods?'

31 Jacob answered Laban, 'I was afraid, thinking you were going to snatch your daughters from me.

32 But whoever is found in possession of your gods shall not remain alive. In the presence of our brothers, examine for yourself what I have, and take what is yours.' Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had appropriated them.

33 Laban went into Jacob's tent, and then into Leah's tent and the tent of the two slave-girls, but he found nothing. He came out of Leah's tent and went into Rachel's.

34 Now Rachel had taken the household idols and put them inside a camel cushion, and was sitting on them. Laban went through everything in the tent but found nothing.

35 Then Rachel said to her father, 'Do not look angry, my lord, because I cannot rise in your presence, for I am as women are from time to time.' Laban searched but did not find the idols.

36 Then Jacob lost his temper and took Laban to task. And Jacob said to Laban, 'What is my offence, what is my crime, for you to have hounded me like this?

37 You have gone through all my belongings; have you found anything belonging to your household? Produce it here in the presence of my brothers and yours, and let them decide between the two of us.

38 In all the twenty years I was under you, your ewes and your she-goats never miscarried, and I never ate rams from your flock.

39 Those mauled I never brought back to you, but bore the loss myself. You demanded compensation from me, whether the animal was stolen in daylight or at night.

40 In the daytime the heat devoured me, and frost at night; I never had a good night's sleep.

41 It was like this for the twenty years I spent in your household. Fourteen years I slaved for you for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, since you changed my wages ten times over.

42 If the God of my father, the God of Abraham, the Kinsman of Isaac, had not been with me, you would have sent me away empty-handed. But God saw my plight and my labours, and last night he delivered judgement.'

43 Laban replied to Jacob, 'These daughters are my daughters and these children are my children, this livestock is my livestock: everything you see belongs to me. But what can I do today about my daughters here or about the children they have borne?

44 So come, let us make a pact, you and me . . . , and let that serve as a witness between us.'

45 Jacob then took a stone and set it up as a memorial.

46 Jacob said to his kinsmen, 'Collect some stones,' and gathering some stones they made a cairn. They had a meal there, on the cairn, and

47 Laban called it Jegar-Sahadutha while Jacob called it Galeed.

48 Laban said, 'May this cairn be a witness between us today.' That is why he named it Galeed,

49 and also Mizpah, because he said, 'Let Yahweh act as watchman between us when we are no longer in sight of each other.

50 If you ill-treat my daughters or marry other women besides my daughters, even though no one be with us, remember: God is witness between us.'

51 Then Laban said to Jacob, 'Here is this cairn I have thrown up between us, and here the pillar.

52 This cairn is a witness, and the pillar is a witness, that I am not to cross to your side of this cairn and you are not to cross to my side of this cairn and pillar, with hostile intent.

53 May the God of Abraham and the god of Nahor judge between us.' Then Jacob swore by the Kinsman of his father Isaac.

54 He offered a sacrifice on the mountain and invited his kinsmen to the meal. They ate the meal, and passed the night on the mountain.

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