Jacob Runs from Laban
- 1 Jacob heard that Labans sons
were complaining, Jacob is now a rich man, and he got everything
he owns from our father. 2 Jacob also noticed that Laban
was not as friendly as he had been before. 3 One day the Lord
said, Jacob, go back to your relatives in the land of your
ancestors, and I will bless you.
4 Jacob sent for Rachel and Leah to meet
him in the field where he kept his sheep, 5 and he told them:
- Your father isnt as friendly
with me as he used to be, but the God my ancestors worshiped
has been on my side. 6 You know that I have worked hard for your
father 7 and that he keeps cheating me by changing my wages time
after time. But God has protected me. 8 When your father said
the speckled sheep would be my wages, all of them were speckled.
And when he said the spotted ones would be mine, all of them
were spotted. 9 Thats how God has taken sheep and goats
from your father and given them to me.
10 Once, when the flocks were mating,
I dreamed that all the rams were either spotted or speckled.
11 Then Gods angel called me by name. I answered, 12 and
he said, Notice that all the rams are either spotted or
speckled. I know everything Laban is doing to you, 13 and I am
the God you worshiped at Bethel, when you poured olive oil on
a rock and made a promise to me. Leave here right away and return
to the land where you were born.
- 14 Rachel and Leah said to Jacob:
- Theres nothing left for us
to inherit from our father. 15 He treats us like foreigners and
has even cheated us out of the bride price that should have been
ours. 16 Now do whatever God tells you to do. Even the property
God took from our father and gave to you really belongs to us
and our children.
- 17 Then Jacob, his wives, and his
children got on camels and left 18 for the home of his father
Isaac in Canaan. Jacob took all of the flocks, herds, and other
property that he had gotten in northern Syria.
19 Before Rachel left,
she stole the household idols while Laban was out shearing his
20 Jacob tricked Laban the Aramean by
not saying that he intended to leave. 21 When Jacob crossed the
Euphrates River and headed for the hill country of Gilead, he
took with him everything he owned.
Laban Catches Up with Jacob
- 22 Three days later Laban found out
that Jacob had gone. 23 So he took some of his relatives along
and chased after Jacob for seven days, before catching up with
him in the hill country of Gilead. 24 But God appeared to Laban
in a dream that night and warned, Dont say a word
to Jacob. Dont make a threat or a promise.
25 Jacob had set up camp in the hill
country of Gilead, when Laban and his relatives came and set
up camp in another part of the hill country. Laban went to Jacob
26 and said:
- Look what youve done! Youve
tricked me and run off with my daughters like a kidnapper. 27
Why did you sneak away without telling me? I would have given
you a going-away party with singing and with music on tambourines
and harps. 28 You didnt even give me a chance to kiss my
own grandchildren and daughters good-by. That was really foolish.
29 I could easily hurt you, but the God your father worshiped
has warned me not to make any threats or promises.
30 I can understand why you were eager
to return to your father, but why did you have to steal my idols?
- 31 Jacob answered, I left secretly
because I was afraid you would take your daughters from me by
force. 32 If you find that any one of us has taken your idols,
Ill have that person killed. Let your relatives be witnesses.
Show me what belongs to you, and you can take it back.
Jacob did not realize that Rachel had stolen the household idols.
33 Laban searched the tents of Jacob,
Leah, and the two servant women, but did not find the idols.
Then he started for Rachels tent. 34 She had already hidden
them in the cushion she used as a saddle and was sitting on it.
Laban searched everywhere and did not find them. 35 Rachel said,
Father, please dont be angry with me for not getting
up; I am having my period. Laban kept on searching, but
still did not find the idols.
36 Jacob became very angry and said to
- What have I done wrong? Have I committed
some crime? Is that why you hunted me down? 37 After searching
through everything I have, did you find anything of yours? If
so, put it here, where your relatives and mine can see it. Then
we can decide what to do.
38 In all the twenty years that Ive
worked for you, not one of your sheep or goats has had a miscarriage,
and Ive never eaten even one of your rams. 39 If a wild
animal killed one of your sheep or goats, I paid for it myself.
In fact, you demanded the full price, whether the animal was
killed during the day or at night. 40 I sweated every day, and
I couldnt sleep at night because of the cold.
41 I had to work fourteen of these twenty
long years to earn your two daughters and another six years to
buy your sheep and goats. During that time you kept changing
my wages. 42 If the fearsome God worshiped by Abraham and my
father Isaac had not been on my side, you would have sent me
away without a thing. But God saw my hard work, and he knew the
trouble I was in, so he helped me. Then last night he told you
how wrong you were.
Jacob and Laban Make an Agreement
- 43 Laban said to Jacob, Leah and Rachel are
my daughters, and their children belong to me. All these sheep you are taking
are really mine too. In fact, everything you have belongs to me. But there
is nothing I can do to keep my daughters and their children. 44 So I am ready
to make an agreement with you, and we will pile up some large rocks here to
remind us of the agreement.
45 After Jacob had set up a large rock, 46 he told
his men to get some more rocks and pile them up next to it. Then Jacob and
Laban ate a meal together beside the rocks. 47 Laban named the pile of rocks
Jegar Sahadutha. But Jacob named it Galeed. 48 Laban said
to Jacob, This pile of rocks will remind us of our agreement.
Thats why the place was named Galeed. 49 Laban also said, This
pile of rocks means that the Lord will watch us both while we are apart from
each other. So the place was also named Mizpah.
50 Then Laban said:
- If you mistreat my daughters or marry other women,
I may not know about it, but remember, God is watching us! 51 Both this pile
of rocks and this large rock have been set up between us as a reminder. I
must never go beyond them to attack you, and you must never go beyond them
to attack me. 53 My father Nahor, your grandfather Abraham, and their ancestors
all worshiped the same God, and he will make sure that we each keep the agreement.
- Then Jacob made a promise in the name of the fearsome
God his father Isaac had worshiped. 54 Jacob killed an animal and offered
it as a sacrifice there on the mountain, and he invited his men to eat with
him. After the meal they spent the night on the mountain. 55 Early the next
morning, Laban kissed his daughters and his grandchildren good-by, then he
left to go back home.
The Contemporary English Version, c1995 by the American Bible Society.
Selected texts provided for use with the Hypertext Bible Commentary