Bible: Genesis 31:1-55

Jacob’s Flight from Laban

31:1 Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were complaining, 1 Jacob has taken everything that belonged to our father! He has gotten rich 2  at our father’s expense! 3  31:2 When Jacob saw the look on Laban’s face, he could tell his attitude toward him had changed. 4 

31:3 The Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers 5  and to your relatives. I will be with you.” 6  31:4 So Jacob sent a message for Rachel and Leah 7  to come to the field 8  where his flocks were. 9  31:5 There he said to them, “I can tell that your father’s attitude toward me has changed, 10  but the God of my father has been with me. 31:6 You know that I’ve worked for your father as hard as I could, 11  31:7 but your father has humiliated 12  me and changed my wages ten times. But God has not permitted him to do me any harm. 31:8 If he said, 13 The speckled animals 14  will be your wage,’ then the entire flock gave birth to speckled offspring. But if he said, ‘The streaked animals will be your wage,’ then the entire flock gave birth to streaked offspring. 31:9 In this way God has snatched away your father’s livestock and given them to me.

31:10Once 15  during breeding season I saw 16  in a dream that the male goats mating with 17  the flock were streaked, speckled, and spotted. 31:11 In the dream the angel of God said to me, ‘Jacob!’ ‘Here I am!’ I replied. 31:12 Then he said, ‘Observe 18  that all the male goats mating with 19  the flock are streaked, speckled, or spotted, for I have observed all that Laban has done to you. 31:13 I am the God of Bethel, 20  where you anointed 21  the sacred stone and made a vow to me. 22  Now leave this land immediately 23  and return to your native land.’

31:14 Then Rachel and Leah replied to him, “Do we still have any portion or inheritance 24  in our father’s house? 31:15 Hasn’t he treated us like foreigners? He not only sold us, but completely wasted 25  the money paid for us! 26  31:16 Surely all the wealth that God snatched away from our father belongs to us and to our children. So now do everything God has told you.”

31:17 So Jacob immediately put his children and his wives on the camels. 27  31:18 He took 28  away all the livestock he had acquired in Paddan Aram and all his moveable property that he had accumulated. Then he set out toward the land of Canaan to return to his father Isaac. 29 

31:19 While Laban had gone to shear his sheep, 30  Rachel stole the household idols 31  that belonged to her father. 31:20 Jacob also deceived 32  Laban the Aramean by not telling him that he was leaving. 33  31:21 He left 34  with all he owned. He quickly crossed 35  the Euphrates River 36  and headed for 37  the hill country of Gilead.

31:22 Three days later Laban discovered Jacob had left. 38  31:23 So he took his relatives 39  with him and pursued Jacob 40  for seven days. 41  He caught up with 42  him in the hill country of Gilead. 31:24 But God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and warned him, 43  “Be careful 44  that you neither bless nor curse Jacob.” 45 

31:25 Laban overtook Jacob, and when Jacob pitched his tent in the hill country of Gilead, Laban and his relatives set up camp there too. 46  31:26 What have you done?” Laban demanded of Jacob. “You’ve deceived me 47  and carried away my daughters as if they were captives of war! 48  31:27 Why did you run away secretly 49  and deceive me? 50  Why didn’t you tell me so I could send you off with a celebration complete with singing, tambourines, and harps? 51  31:28 You didn’t even allow me to kiss my daughters and my grandchildren 52  good-bye. You have acted foolishly! 31:29 I have 53  the power to do you harm, but the God of your father told me last night, ‘Be careful 54  that you neither bless nor curse Jacob.’ 55  31:30 Now I understand that 56  you have gone away 57  because you longed desperately 58  for your father’s house. Yet why did you steal my gods? 59 

31:31I left secretly because I was afraid!” 60  Jacob replied to Laban. “I thought 61  you might take your daughters away from me by force. 62  31:32 Whoever has taken your gods will be put to death! 63  In the presence of our relatives 64  identify whatever is yours and take it.” 65  (Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them.) 66 

31:33 So Laban entered Jacob’s tent, and Leah’s tent, and the tent of the two female servants, but he did not find the idols. 67  Then he left Leah’s tent and entered Rachel’s. 68  31:34 (Now Rachel had taken the idols and put them inside her camel’s saddle 69  and sat on them.) 70  Laban searched the whole tent, but did not find them. 71  31:35 Rachel 72  said to her father, “Don’t be angry, 73  my lord. I cannot stand up 74  in your presence because I am having my period.” 75  So he searched thoroughly, 76  but did not find the idols.

31:36 Jacob became angry 77  and argued with Laban. “What did I do wrong?” he demanded of Laban. 78 What sin of mine prompted you to chase after me in hot pursuit? 79  31:37 When you searched through all my goods, did you find anything that belonged to you? 80  Set it here before my relatives and yours, 81  and let them settle the dispute between the two of us! 82 

31:38I have been with you for the past twenty years. Your ewes and female goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten rams from your flocks. 31:39 Animals torn by wild beasts I never brought to you; I always absorbed the loss myself. 83  You always made me pay for every missing animal, 84  whether it was taken by day or at night. 31:40 I was consumed by scorching heat 85  during the day and by piercing cold 86  at night, and I went without sleep. 87  31:41 This was my lot 88  for twenty years in your house: I worked like a slave 89  for you – fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flocks, but you changed my wages ten times! 31:42 If the God of my father – the God of Abraham, the one whom Isaac fears 90 had not been with me, you would certainly have sent me away empty-handed! But God saw how I was oppressed and how hard I worked, 91  and he rebuked you last night.”

31:43 Laban replied 92  to Jacob, “These women 93  are my daughters, these children are my grandchildren, 94  and these flocks are my flocks. All that you see belongs to me. But how can I harm these daughters of mine today 95  or the children to whom they have given birth? 31:44 So now, come, let’s make a formal agreement, 96  you and I, and it will be 97  proof that we have made peace.” 98 

31:45 So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a memorial pillar. 31:46 Then he 99  said to his relatives, “Gather stones.” So they brought stones and put them in a pile. 100  They ate there by the pile of stones. 31:47 Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha, 101  but Jacob called it Galeed. 102 

31:48 Laban said, “This pile of stones is a witness of our agreement 103  today.” That is why it was called Galeed. 31:49 It was also called Mizpah 104  because he said, “May the Lord watch 105  between us 106  when we are out of sight of one another. 107  31:50 If you mistreat my daughters or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no one else is with us, realize 108  that God is witness to your actions.” 109 

31:51Here is this pile of stones and this pillar I have set up between me and you,” Laban said to Jacob. 110  31:52 This pile of stones and the pillar are reminders that I will not pass beyond this pile to come to harm you and that you will not pass beyond this pile and this pillar to come to harm me. 111  31:53 May the God of Abraham and the god of Nahor, 112  the gods of their father, judge between us.” Jacob took an oath by the God whom his father Isaac feared. 113  31:54 Then Jacob offered a sacrifice 114  on the mountain and invited his relatives to eat the meal. 115  They ate the meal and spent the night on the mountain.

31:55 116  Early in the morning Laban kissed 117  his grandchildren 118  and his daughters goodbye and blessed them. Then Laban left and returned home. 119 

NET Bible Study Environment