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The Blue Letter Bible

Genesis 31 :: New Living Translation (NLT)

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Jacob Flees from Laban
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:1 - But Jacob soon learned that Laban’s sons were grumbling about him. “Jacob has robbed our father of everything!” they said. “He has gained all his wealth at our father’s expense.”
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:2 - And Jacob began to notice a change in Laban’s attitude toward him.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:3 - Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your father and grandfather and to your relatives there, and I will be with you.”
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:4 - So Jacob called Rachel and Leah out to the field where he was watching his flock.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:5 - He said to them, “I have noticed that your father’s attitude toward me has changed. But the God of my father has been with me.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:6 - You know how hard I have worked for your father,
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:7 - but he has cheated me, changing my wages ten times. But God has not allowed him to do me any harm.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:8 - For if he said, ‘The speckled animals will be your wages,’ the whole flock began to produce speckled young. And when he changed his mind and said, ‘The striped animals will be your wages,’ then the whole flock produced striped young.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:9 - In this way, God has taken your father’s animals and given them to me.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:10 - “One time during the mating season, I had a dream and saw that the male goats mating with the females were streaked, speckled, and spotted.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:11 - Then in my dream, the angel of God said to me, ‘Jacob!’ And I replied, ‘Yes, here I am.’
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:12 - “The angel said, ‘Look up, and you will see that only the streaked, speckled, and spotted males are mating with the females of your flock. For I have seen how Laban has treated you.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:13 - I am the God who appeared to you at Bethel,[fn] the place where you anointed the pillar of stone and made your vow to me. Now get ready and leave this country and return to the land of your birth.’”
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:14 - Rachel and Leah responded, “That’s fine with us! We won’t inherit any of our father’s wealth anyway.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:15 - He has reduced our rights to those of foreign women. And after he sold us, he wasted the money you paid him for us.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:16 - All the wealth God has given you from our father legally belongs to us and our children. So go ahead and do whatever God has told you.”
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:17 - So Jacob put his wives and children on camels,
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:18 - and he drove all his livestock in front of him. He packed all the belongings he had acquired in Paddan-aram and set out for the land of Canaan, where his father, Isaac, lived.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:19 - At the time they left, Laban was some distance away, shearing his sheep. Rachel stole her father’s household idols and took them with her.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:20 - Jacob outwitted Laban the Aramean, for they set out secretly and never told Laban they were leaving.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:21 - So Jacob took all his possessions with him and crossed the Euphrates River,[fn] heading for the hill country of Gilead.
Laban Pursues Jacob
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:22 - Three days later, Laban was told that Jacob had fled.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:23 - So he gathered a group of his relatives and set out in hot pursuit. He caught up with Jacob seven days later in the hill country of Gilead.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:24 - But the previous night God had appeared to Laban the Aramean in a dream and told him, “I’m warning you—leave Jacob alone!”
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:25 - Laban caught up with Jacob as he was camped in the hill country of Gilead, and he set up his camp not far from Jacob’s.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:26 - “What do you mean by deceiving me like this?” Laban demanded. “How dare you drag my daughters away like prisoners of war?
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:27 - Why did you slip away secretly? Why did you deceive me? And why didn’t you say you wanted to leave? I would have given you a farewell feast, with singing and music, accompanied by tambourines and harps.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:28 - Why didn’t you let me kiss my daughters and grandchildren and tell them good-bye? You have acted very foolishly!
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:29 - I could destroy you, but the God of your father appeared to me last night and warned me, ‘Leave Jacob alone!’
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:30 - I can understand your feeling that you must go, and your intense longing for your father’s home. But why have you stolen my gods?”
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:31 - “I rushed away because I was afraid,” Jacob answered. “I thought you would take your daughters from me by force.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:32 - But as for your gods, see if you can find them, and let the person who has taken them die! And if you find anything else that belongs to you, identify it before all these relatives of ours, and I will give it back!” But Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the household idols.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:33 - Laban went first into Jacob’s tent to search there, then into Leah’s, and then the tents of the two servant wives—but he found nothing. Finally, he went into Rachel’s tent.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:34 - But Rachel had taken the household idols and hidden them in her camel saddle, and now she was sitting on them. When Laban had thoroughly searched her tent without finding them,
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:35 - she said to her father, “Please, sir, forgive me if I don’t get up for you. I’m having my monthly period.” So Laban continued his search, but he could not find the household idols.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:36 - Then Jacob became very angry, and he challenged Laban. “What’s my crime?” he demanded. “What have I done wrong to make you chase after me as though I were a criminal?
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:37 - You have rummaged through everything I own. Now show me what you found that belongs to you! Set it out here in front of us, before our relatives, for all to see. Let them judge between us!
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:38 - “For twenty years I have been with you, caring for your flocks. In all that time your sheep and goats never miscarried. In all those years I never used a single ram of yours for food.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:39 - If any were attacked and killed by wild animals, I never showed you the carcass and asked you to reduce the count of your flock. No, I took the loss myself! You made me pay for every stolen animal, whether it was taken in broad daylight or in the dark of night.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:40 - “I worked for you through the scorching heat of the day and through cold and sleepless nights.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:41 - Yes, for twenty years I slaved in your house! I worked for fourteen years earning your two daughters, and then six more years for your flock. And you changed my wages ten times!
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:42 - In fact, if the God of my father had not been on my side—the God of Abraham and the fearsome God of Isaac[fn]—you would have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen your abuse and my hard work. That is why he appeared to you last night and rebuked you!”
Jacob’s Treaty with Laban
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:43 - Then Laban replied to Jacob, “These women are my daughters, these children are my grandchildren, and these flocks are my flocks—in fact, everything you see is mine. But what can I do now about my daughters and their children?
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:44 - So come, let’s make a covenant, you and I, and it will be a witness to our commitment.”
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:45 - So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a monument.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:46 - Then he told his family members, “Gather some stones.” So they gathered stones and piled them in a heap. Then Jacob and Laban sat down beside the pile of stones to eat a covenant meal.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:47 - To commemorate the event, Laban called the place Jegar-sahadutha (which means “witness pile” in Aramaic), and Jacob called it Galeed (which means “witness pile” in Hebrew).
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:48 - Then Laban declared, “This pile of stones will stand as a witness to remind us of the covenant we have made today.” This explains why it was called Galeed—“Witness Pile.”
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:49 - But it was also called Mizpah (which means “watchtower”), for Laban said, “May the LORD keep watch between us to make sure that we keep this covenant when we are out of each other’s sight.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:50 - If you mistreat my daughters or if you marry other wives, God will see it even if no one else does. He is a witness to this covenant between us.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:51 - “See this pile of stones,” Laban continued, “and see this monument I have set between us.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:52 - They stand between us as witnesses of our vows. I will never pass this pile of stones to harm you, and you must never pass these stones or this monument to harm me.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:53 - I call on the God of our ancestors—the God of your grandfather Abraham and the God of my grandfather Nahor—to serve as a judge between us.”
So Jacob took an oath before the fearsome God of his father, Isaac,[fn] to respect the boundary line.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:54 - Then Jacob offered a sacrifice to God there on the mountain and invited everyone to a covenant feast. After they had eaten, they spent the night on the mountain.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 31:55 - [fn]Laban got up early the next morning, and he kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then he left and returned home.
NLT Footnotes
As in Greek version and an Aramaic Targum; Hebrew reads the God of Bethel.
Hebrew the river.
Or and the Fear of Isaac.
Or the Fear of his father, Isaac.
Verse 31:55 is numbered 32:1 in Hebrew text.

Holy Bible, New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Full copyright information is provided here. Visit the New Living Translation website.

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