Bible: Genesis 31-32

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 

Jacob Wrestles at Peniel

32:1 So Jacob went on his way and the angels of God 120  met him. 32:2 When Jacob saw them, he exclaimed, 121  “This is the camp of God!” So he named that place Mahanaim. 122 

32:3 Jacob sent messengers on ahead 123  to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the region 124  of Edom. 32:4 He commanded them, “This is what you must say to my lord Esau: ‘This is what your servant 125  Jacob says: I have been staying with Laban until now. 32:5 I have oxen, donkeys, sheep, and male and female servants. I have sent 126  this message 127  to inform my lord, so that I may find favor in your sight.’

32:6 The messengers returned to Jacob and said, “We went to your brother Esau. He is coming to meet you and has four hundred men with him.” 32:7 Jacob was very afraid and upset. So he divided the people who were with him into two camps, as well as the flocks, herds, and camels. 32:8 If Esau attacks one camp,” 128  he thought, 129 then the other camp will be able to escape.” 130 

32:9 Then Jacob prayed, 131  “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, O Lord, you said 132  to me, ‘Return to your land and to your relatives and I will make you prosper.’ 133  32:10 I am not worthy of all the faithful love 134  you have shown 135  your servant. With only my walking stick 136  I crossed the Jordan, 137  but now I have become two camps. 32:11 Rescue me, 138  I pray, from the hand 139  of my brother Esau, 140  for I am afraid he will come 141  and attack me, as well as the mothers with their children. 142  32:12 But you 143  said, ‘I will certainly make you prosper 144  and will make 145  your descendants like the sand on the seashore, too numerous to count.’ 146 

32:13 Jacob 147  stayed there that night. Then he sent 148  as a gift 149  to his brother Esau 32:14 two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 32:15 thirty female camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. 32:16 He entrusted them to 150  his servants, who divided them into herds. 151  He told his servants, “Pass over before me, and keep some distance between one herd and the next.” 32:17 He instructed the servant leading the first herd, 152  “When my brother Esau meets you and asks, ‘To whom do you belong? 153  Where are you going? Whose herds are you driving?’ 154  32:18 then you must say, 155 They belong 156  to your servant Jacob. 157  They have been sent as a gift to my lord Esau. 158  In fact Jacob himself is behind us.’ 159 

32:19 He also gave these instructions to the second and third servants, as well as all those who were following the herds, saying, “You must say the same thing to Esau when you meet him. 160  32:20 You must also say, ‘In fact your servant Jacob is behind us.’” 161  Jacob thought, 162 I will first appease him 163  by sending a gift ahead of me. 164  After that I will meet him. 165  Perhaps he will accept me.” 166  32:21 So the gifts were sent on ahead of him 167  while he spent that night in the camp. 168 

32:22 During the night Jacob quickly took 169  his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons 170  and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 171  32:23 He took them and sent them across the stream along with all his possessions. 172  32:24 So Jacob was left alone. Then a man 173  wrestled 174  with him until daybreak. 175  32:25 When the man 176  saw that he could not defeat Jacob, 177  he struck 178  the socket of his hip so the socket of Jacob’s hip was dislocated while he wrestled with him.

32:26 Then the man 179  said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” 180  “I will not let you go,” Jacob replied, 181 unless you bless me.” 182  32:27 The man asked him, 183 What is your name?” 184  He answered, “Jacob.” 32:28 No longer will your name be Jacob,” the man told him, 185  “but Israel, 186  because you have fought 187  with God and with men and have prevailed.”

32:29 Then Jacob asked, “Please tell me your name.” 188 Why 189  do you ask my name?” the man replied. 190  Then he blessed 191  Jacob 192  there. 32:30 So Jacob named the place Peniel, 193  explaining, 194  “Certainly 195  I have seen God face to face 196  and have survived.” 197 

32:31 The sun rose 198  over him as he crossed over Penuel, 199  but 200  he was limping because of his hip. 32:32 That is why to this day 201  the Israelites do not eat the sinew which is attached to the socket of the hip, because he struck 202  the socket of Jacob’s hip near the attached sinew.

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