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Genesis chapter 31

New International Version

1 Jacob heard that Laban's sons were saying, 'Jacob has taken everything our father owned and has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father.' 2 And Jacob noticed that Laban's attitude toward him was not what it had been.
3 Then the LORD said to Jacob, 'Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.'
4 So Jacob sent word to Rachel and Leah to come out to the fields where his flocks were. 5 He said to them, 'I see that your father's attitude toward me is not what it was before, but the God of my father has been with me. 6 You know that I've worked for your father with all my strength, 7 yet your father has cheated me by changing my wages ten times. However, God has not allowed him to harm me. 8 If he said, 'The speckled ones will be your wages,' then all the flocks gave birth to speckled young; and if he said, 'The streaked ones will be your wages,' then all the flocks bore streaked young. 9 So God has taken away your father's livestock and has given them to me.
10 In breeding season I once had a dream in which I looked up and saw that the male goats mating with the flock were streaked, speckled or spotted. 11 The angel of God said to me in the dream, 'Jacob.' I answered, 'Here I am.' 12 And he said, 'Look up and see that all the male goats mating with the flock are streaked, speckled or spotted, for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and where you made a vow to me. Now leave this land at once and go back to your native land.''
14 Then Rachel and Leah replied, 'Do we still have any share in the inheritance of our father's estate? 15 Does he not regard us as foreigners? Not only has he sold us, but he has used up what was paid for us. 16 Surely all the wealth that God took away from our father belongs to us and our children. So do whatever God has told you.'
17 Then Jacob put his children and his wives on camels, 18 and he drove all his livestock ahead of him, along with all the goods he had accumulated in Paddan Aram, to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.
19 When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father's household gods. 20 Moreover, Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean by not telling him he was running away. 21 So he fled with all he had, crossed the Euphrates River, and headed for the hill country of Gilead.
22 On the third day Laban was told that Jacob had fled. 23 Taking his relatives with him, he pursued Jacob for seven days and caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead. 24 Then God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and said to him, 'Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.'
25 Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country of Gilead when Laban overtook him, and Laban and his relatives camped there too. 26 Then Laban said to Jacob, 'What have you done? You've deceived me, and you've carried off my daughters like captives in war. 27 Why did you run off secretly and deceive me? Why didn't you tell me, so I could send you away with joy and singing to the music of timbrels and harps? 28 You didn't even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters goodbye. You have done a foolish thing. 29 I have the power to harm you; but last night the God of your father said to me, 'Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.' 30 Now you have gone off because you longed to return to your father's household. But why did you steal my gods?'
31 Jacob answered Laban, 'I was afraid, because I thought you would take your daughters away from me by force. 32 But if you find anyone who has your gods, that person shall not live. In the presence of our relatives, see for yourself whether there is anything of yours here with me; and if so, take it.' Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the gods.
33 So Laban went into Jacob's tent and into Leah's tent and into the tent of the two female servants, but he found nothing. After he came out of Leah's tent, he entered Rachel's tent. 34 Now Rachel had taken the household gods and put them inside her camel's saddle and was sitting on them. Laban searched through everything in the tent but found nothing.
35 Rachel said to her father, 'Don't be angry, my lord, that I cannot stand up in your presence; I'm having my period.' So he searched but could not find the household gods.
36 Jacob was angry and took Laban to task. 'What is my crime?' he asked Laban. 'How have I wronged you that you hunt me down? 37 Now that you have searched through all my goods, what have you found that belongs to your household? Put it here in front of your relatives and mine, and let them judge between the two of us.
38 I have been with you for twenty years now. Your sheep and goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten rams from your flocks. 39 I did not bring you animals torn by wild beasts; I bore the loss myself. And you demanded payment from me for whatever was stolen by day or night. 40 This was my situation: The heat consumed me in the daytime and the cold at night, and sleep fled from my eyes. 41 It was like this for the twenty years I was in your household. I worked for you fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flocks, and you changed my wages ten times. 42 If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, you would surely have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen my hardship and the toil of my hands, and last night he rebuked you.'
43 Laban answered Jacob, 'The women are my daughters, the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks. All you see is mine. Yet what can I do today about these daughters of mine, or about the children they have borne? 44 Come now, let's make a covenant, you and I, and let it serve as a witness between us.'
45 So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar. 46 He said to his relatives, 'Gather some stones.' So they took stones and piled them in a heap, and they ate there by the heap. 47 Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha, and Jacob called it Galeed.
48 Laban said, 'This heap is a witness between you and me today.' That is why it was called Galeed. 49 It was also called Mizpah, because he said, 'May the LORD keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other. 50 If you mistreat my daughters or if you take any wives besides my daughters, even though no one is with us, remember that God is a witness between you and me.'
51 Laban also said to Jacob, 'Here is this heap, and here is this pillar I have set up between you and me. 52 This heap is a witness, and this pillar is a witness, that I will not go past this heap to your side to harm you and that you will not go past this heap and pillar to my side to harm me.
53 May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.' So Jacob took an oath in the name of the Fear of his father Isaac. 54 He offered a sacrifice there in the hill country and invited his relatives to a meal. After they had eaten, they spent the night there.
55 Early the next morning Laban kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then he left and returned home.
English Standard Version

1 Now Jacob heard that the sons of Laban were saying, “Jacob has taken all that was our father’s, and from what was our father’s he has gained all this wealth.” 2 And Jacob saw that Laban did not regard him with favor as before. 3 Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you.”
4 So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah into the field where his flock was 5 and said to them, “I see that your father does not regard me with favor as he did before. But the God of my father has been with me. 6 You know that I have served your father with all my strength, 7 yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times. But God did not permit him to harm me. 8 If he said, ‘The spotted shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore spotted; and if he said, ‘The striped shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore striped. 9 Thus God has taken away the livestock of your father and given them to me. 10 In the breeding season of the flock I lifted up my eyes and saw in a dream that the goats that mated with the flock were striped, spotted, and mottled. 11 Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob,’ and I said, ‘Here I am!’ 12 And he said, ‘Lift up your eyes and see, all the goats that mate with the flock are striped, spotted, and mottled, for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me. Now arise, go out from this land and return to the land of your kindred.’” 14 Then Rachel and Leah answered and said to him, “Is there any portion or inheritance left to us in our father’s house? 15 Are we not regarded by him as foreigners? For he has sold us, and he has indeed devoured our money. 16 All the wealth that God has taken away from our father belongs to us and to our children. Now then, whatever God has said to you, do.”
17 So Jacob arose and set his sons and his wives on camels. 18 He drove away all his livestock, all his property that he had gained, the livestock in his possession that he had acquired in Paddan-aram, to go to the land of Canaan to his father Isaac. 19 Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel stole her father’s household gods. 20 And Jacob tricked Laban the Aramean, by not telling him that he intended to flee. 21 He fled with all that he had and arose and crossed the Euphrates, and set his face toward the hill country of Gilead.
22 When it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob had fled, 23 he took his kinsmen with him and pursued him for seven days and followed close after him into the hill country of Gilead. 24 But God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream by night and said to him, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.”
25 And Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country, and Laban with his kinsmen pitched tents in the hill country of Gilead. 26 And Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done, that you have tricked me and driven away my daughters like captives of the sword? 27 Why did you flee secretly and trick me, and did not tell me, so that I might have sent you away with mirth and songs, with tambourine and lyre? 28 And why did you not permit me to kiss my sons and my daughters farewell? Now you have done foolishly. 29 It is in my power to do you harm. But the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.’ 30 And now you have gone away because you longed greatly for your father’s house, but why did you steal my gods?” 31 Jacob answered and said to Laban, “Because I was afraid, for I thought that you would take your daughters from me by force. 32 Anyone with whom you find your gods shall not live. In the presence of our kinsmen point out what I have that is yours, and take it.” Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them.
33 So Laban went into Jacob’s tent and into Leah’s tent and into the tent of the two female servants, but he did not find them. And he went out of Leah’s tent and entered Rachel’s. 34 Now Rachel had taken the household gods and put them in the camel’s saddle and sat on them. Laban felt all about the tent, but did not find them. 35 And she said to her father, “Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise before you, for the way of women is upon me.” So he searched but did not find the household gods.
36 Then Jacob became angry and berated Laban. Jacob said to Laban, “What is my offense? What is my sin, that you have hotly pursued me? 37 For you have felt through all my goods; what have you found of all your household goods? Set it here before my kinsmen and your kinsmen, that they may decide between us two. 38 These twenty years I have been with you. Your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried, and I have not eaten the rams of your flocks. 39 What was torn by wild beasts I did not bring to you. I bore the loss of it myself. From my hand you required it, whether stolen by day or stolen by night. 40 There I was: by day the heat consumed me, and the cold by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes. 41 These twenty years I have been in your house. I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times. 42 If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been on my side, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God saw my affliction and the labor of my hands and rebuked you last night.”
43 Then Laban answered and said to Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine. But what can I do this day for these my daughters or for their children whom they have borne? 44 Come now, let us make a covenant, you and I. And let it be a witness between you and me.” 45 So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar. 46 And Jacob said to his kinsmen, “Gather stones.” And they took stones and made a heap, and they ate there by the heap. 47 Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha, but Jacob called it Galeed. 48 Laban said, “This heap is a witness between you and me today.” Therefore he named it Galeed, 49 and Mizpah, for he said, “The LORD watch between you and me, when we are out of one another’s sight. 50 If you oppress my daughters, or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no one is with us, see, God is witness between you and me.”
51 Then Laban said to Jacob, “See this heap and the pillar, which I have set between you and me. 52 This heap is a witness, and the pillar is a witness, that I will not pass over this heap to you, and you will not pass over this heap and this pillar to me, to do harm. 53 The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.” So Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac, 54 and Jacob offered a sacrifice in the hill country and called his kinsmen to eat bread. They ate bread and spent the night in the hill country.
55 Early in the morning Laban arose and kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then Laban departed and returned home.
King James Version

1 And he heard the words of Laban's sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father's; and of that which was our father's hath he gotten all this glory. 2 And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before. 3 And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee. 4 And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock, 5 And said unto them, I see your father's countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me. 6 And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. 7 And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me. 8 If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstraked. 9 Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me. 10 And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled. 11 And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I. 12 And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. 13 I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred. 14 And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house? 15 Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money. 16 For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is ours, and our children's: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do.
17 Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels; 18 And he carried away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten in Padanaram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan. 19 And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father's. 20 And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled. 21 So he fled with all that he had; and he rose up, and passed over the river, and set his face toward the mount Gilead. 22 And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob was fled. 23 And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days' journey; and they overtook him in the mount Gilead. 24 And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said unto him, Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.
25 Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mount: and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mount of Gilead. 26 And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou done, that thou hast stolen away unawares to me, and carried away my daughters, as captives taken with the sword? 27 Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp? 28 And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? thou hast now done foolishly in so doing. 29 It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt: but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad. 30 And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father's house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods? 31 And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid: for I said, Peradventure thou wouldest take by force thy daughters from me. 32 With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them. 33 And Laban went into Jacob's tent, and into Leah's tent, and into the two maidservants' tents; but he found them not. Then went he out of Leah's tent, and entered into Rachel's tent. 34 Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel's furniture, and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but found them not. 35 And she said to her father, Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the custom of women is upon me. And he searched, but found not the images.
36 And Jacob was wroth, and chode with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What is my trespass? what is my sin, that thou hast so hotly pursued after me? 37 Whereas thou hast searched all my stuff, what hast thou found of all thy household stuff? set it here before my brethren and thy brethren, that they may judge betwixt us both. 38 This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten. 39 That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night. 40 Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes. 41 Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times. 42 Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.
43 And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and these cattle are my cattle, and all that thou seest is mine: and what can I do this day unto these my daughters, or unto their children which they have born? 44 Now therefore come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee. 45 And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar. 46 And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap: and they did eat there upon the heap. 47 And Laban called it Jegarsahadutha: but Jacob called it Galeed. 48 And Laban said, This heap is a witness between me and thee this day. Therefore was the name of it called Galeed; 49 And Mizpah; for he said, The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another. 50 If thou shalt afflict my daughters, or if thou shalt take other wives beside my daughters, no man is with us; see, God is witness betwixt me and thee. 51 And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold this pillar, which I have cast betwixt me and thee; 52 This heap be witness, and this pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm. 53 The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us. And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac. 54 Then Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount, and called his brethren to eat bread: and they did eat bread, and tarried all night in the mount. 55 And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them: and Laban departed, and returned unto his place.
New American Standard Bible

1 Now Jacob heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, 'Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s, and from what belonged to our father he has made all this wealth.' 2 And Jacob saw the attitude of Laban, and behold, it was not friendly toward him as it had been before. 3 Then the LORD said to Jacob, 'Return to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.' 4 So Jacob sent word and called Rachel and Leah to his flock in the field, 5 and said to them, 'I see your father’s attitude, that it is not friendly toward me as it was before, but the God of my father has been with me. 6 You know that I have served your father with all my strength. 7 Yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times; however, God did not allow him to do me harm. 8 If he said this: ‘The speckled shall be your wages,’ then all the flock delivered speckled; and if he said this: ‘The striped shall be your wages,’ then all the flock delivered striped. 9 So God has taken away your father’s livestock and given them to me. 10 And it came about at the time when the flock was breeding that I raised my eyes and saw in a dream—and behold—the male goats that were mating were striped, speckled, or mottled. 11 Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob’; and I said, ‘Here I am.’ 12 He said, ‘Now raise your eyes and see that all the male goats that are mating are striped, speckled, or mottled; for I have seen everything that Laban has been doing to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a memorial stone, where you made a vow to Me; now arise, leave this land, and return to the land of your birth.’?' 14 Rachel and Leah said to him, 'Do we still have any share or inheritance in our father’s house? 15 Are we not regarded by him as foreigners? For he has sold us, and has also entirely consumed our purchase price. 16 Surely all the wealth which God has taken away from our father belongs to us and our children; now then, do whatever God has told you.'
17 Then Jacob stood up and put his children and his wives on camels; 18 and he drove away all his livestock and all his property which he had acquired, the livestock he possessed which he had acquired in Paddan-aram, to go to the land of Canaan to his father Isaac. 19 Laban had gone to shear his flock, and Rachel stole the household idols that were her father’s. 20 And Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean by not telling him that he was fleeing. 21 So he fled with all that he had; and he got up and crossed the Euphrates River, and set out for the hill country of Gilead.
22 When Laban was informed on the third day that Jacob had fled, 23 he took his kinsmen with him and pursued him a distance of seven days’ journey, and he overtook him in the hill country of Gilead. 24 However, God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream of the night and said to him, 'Be careful that you do not speak to Jacob either good or bad.'
25 And Laban caught up with Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country, and Laban with his kinsmen camped in the hill country of Gilead. 26 Then Laban said to Jacob, 'What have you done by deceiving me and carrying away my daughters like captives of the sword? 27 Why did you flee secretly and deceive me, and did not tell me, so that I might have sent you away with joy and with songs, with tambourine and with lyre; 28 and did not allow me to kiss my grandchildren and my daughters? Now you have done foolishly. 29 It is in my power to do you harm, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Be careful not to speak either good or bad to Jacob.’ 30 Now you have indeed gone away because you longed greatly for your father’s house; but why did you steal my gods?' 31 Then Jacob replied to Laban, 'Because I was afraid, for I thought that you would take your daughters from me by force. 32 The one with whom you find your gods shall not live; in the presence of our relatives point out what is yours among my belongings and take it for yourself.' Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them.
33 So Laban went into Jacob’s tent, and into Leah’s tent, and into the tent of the two slave women, but he did not find them. Then he went out of Leah’s tent and entered Rachel’s tent. 34 Now Rachel had taken the household idols and put them in the camel’s saddlebag, and she sat on them. So Laban searched through all the tent, but did not find them. 35 And she said to her father, 'May my lord not be angry that I cannot stand in your presence, because the way of women is upon me.' So he searched but did not find the household idols.
36 Then Jacob became angry and argued with Laban; and Jacob said to Laban, 'What is my offense? What is my sin that you have hotly pursued me? 37 Though you have searched through all my property, what have you found of all your household property? Set it here in front of my relatives and your relatives, so that they may decide between the two of us. 38 For these twenty years I have been with you; your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten the rams of your flocks. 39 I did not even bring to you that which was torn by wild animals; I took the loss myself. You demanded it of my hand whether stolen by day or stolen by night. 40 This is how I was: by day the heat consumed me and the frost by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes. 41 For these twenty years I have been in your house; I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you changed my wages ten times. 42 If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the fear of Isaac, had not been for me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God has seen my affliction and the labor of my hands, so He rendered judgment last night.'
43 Then Laban replied to Jacob, 'The daughters are my daughters, the children are my grandchildren, the flocks are my flocks, and everything that you see is mine. But what can I do this day to these daughters of mine or to their children to whom they have given birth? 44 So now come, let’s make a covenant, you and I, and it shall be a witness between you and me.' 45 Then Jacob took a stone and set it up as a memorial stone. 46 Jacob said to his relatives, 'Gather stones.' So they took stones and made a heap, and they ate there by the heap. 47 Now Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha, but Jacob called it Galeed. 48 Laban said, 'This heap is a witness between you and me this day.' Therefore it was named Galeed, 49 and Mizpah, for he said, 'May the LORD keep watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other. 50 If you mistreat my daughters, or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no one is with us, see, God is witness between you and me.' 51 Laban also said to Jacob, 'Behold this heap and behold the memorial stone which I have set between you and me. 52 This heap is a witness, and the memorial stone is a witness, that I will not pass by this heap to you for harm, and you will not pass by this heap and this memorial stone to me, for harm. 53 The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.' So Jacob swore by the fear of his father Isaac. 54 Then Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain, and called his relatives to the meal; and they ate the meal and spent the night on the mountain. 55 Then early in the morning Laban got up, and kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then Laban departed and returned to his place.
New Living Translation

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.' 2 And Jacob began to notice a change in Laban's attitude toward him.
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.'
4 So Jacob called Rachel and Leah out to the field where he was watching his flock. 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. 6 You know how hard I have worked for your father, 7 but he has cheated me, changing my wages ten times. But God has not allowed him to do me any harm. 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. 9 In this way, God has taken your father's animals and given them to me.
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. 11 Then in my dream, the angel of God said to me, 'Jacob!' And I replied, 'Yes, here I am.'
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. 13 I am the God who appeared to you at Bethel, 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.''
14 Rachel and Leah responded, 'That's fine with us! We won't inherit any of our father's wealth anyway. 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. 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.'
17 So Jacob put his wives and children on camels, 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. 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. 20 Jacob outwitted Laban the Aramean, for they set out secretly and never told Laban they were leaving. 21 So Jacob took all his possessions with him and crossed the Euphrates River, heading for the hill country of Gilead.
22 Three days later, Laban was told that Jacob had fled. 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. 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!'
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. 26 'What do you mean by deceiving me like this?' Laban demanded. 'How dare you drag my daughters away like prisoners of war? 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. 28 Why didn't you let me kiss my daughters and grandchildren and tell them good-bye? You have acted very foolishly! 29 I could destroy you, but the God of your father appeared to me last night and warned me, 'Leave Jacob alone!' 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?'
31 'I rushed away because I was afraid,' Jacob answered. 'I thought you would take your daughters from me by force. 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.
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. 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, 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.
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? 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!
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. 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.
40 'I worked for you through the scorching heat of the day and through cold and sleepless nights. 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! 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--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!'
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? 44 So come, let's make a covenant, you and I, and it will be a witness to our commitment.'
45 So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a monument. 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. 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).
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.' 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. 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.
51 'See this pile of stones,' Laban continued, 'and see this monument I have set between us. 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.
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, to respect the boundary line. 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.
55 Laban got up early the next morning, and he kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then he left and returned home.
Christian Standard Bible

1 Now Jacob heard what Laban's sons were saying: "Jacob has taken all that was our father's and has built this wealth from what belonged to our father." 2 And Jacob saw from Laban's face that his attitude toward him was not the same as before.
3 The LORD said to him, "Go back to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you."
4 Jacob had Rachel and Leah called to the field where his flocks were. 5 He said to them, "I can see from your father's face that his attitude toward me is not the same as before, but the God of my father has been with me. 6 You know that with all my strength I have served your father 7 and that he has cheated me and changed my wages ten times. But God has not let him harm me. 8 If he said, 'The spotted sheep will be your wages,' then all the sheep were born spotted. If he said, 'The streaked sheep will be your wages,' then all the sheep were born streaked. 9 God has taken away your father's herds and given them to me.
10 "When the flocks were breeding, I saw in a dream that the streaked, spotted, and speckled males were mating with the females. 11 In that dream the angel of God said to me, 'Jacob!' and I said, 'Here I am.' 12 And he said, 'Look up and see: all the males that are mating with the flocks are streaked, spotted, and speckled, for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel, where you poured oil on the stone marker and made a solemn vow to me. Get up, leave this land, and return to your native land.'"
14 Then Rachel and Leah answered him, "Do we have any portion or inheritance in our father's family? 15 Are we not regarded by him as outsiders? For he has sold us and has certainly spent our purchase price. 16 In fact, all the wealth that God has taken away from our father belongs to us and to our children. So do whatever God has said to you."
17 So Jacob got up and put his children and wives on the camels. 18 He took all the livestock and possessions he had acquired in Paddan-aram, and he drove his herds to go to the land of Canaan, to his father Isaac. 19 When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father's household idols. 20 And Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean, not telling him that he was fleeing. 21 He fled with all his possessions, crossed the Euphrates, and headed for the hill country of Gilead.
22 On the third day Laban was told that Jacob had fled. 23 So he took his relatives with him, pursued Jacob for seven days, and overtook him in the hill country of Gilead. 24 But God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night. "Watch yourself!" God warned him. "Don't say anything to Jacob, either good or bad."
25 When Laban overtook Jacob, Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country, and Laban and his relatives also pitched their tents in the hill country of Gilead. 26 Laban said to Jacob, "What have you done? You have deceived me and taken my daughters away like prisoners of war! 27 Why did you secretly flee from me, deceive me, and not tell me? I would have sent you away with joy and singing, with tambourines and lyres, 28 but you didn't even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters. You have acted foolishly. 29 I could do you great harm, but last night the God of your father said to me: 'Watch yourself! Don't say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.' 30 Now you have gone off because you long for your father's family--but why have you stolen my gods?"
31 Jacob answered, "I was afraid, for I thought you would take your daughters from me by force. 32 If you find your gods with anyone here, he will not live! Before our relatives, point out anything that is yours and take it." Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the idols.
33 So Laban went into Jacob's tent, Leah's tent, and the tents of the two concubines, but he found nothing. When he left Leah's tent, he went into Rachel's tent. 34 Now Rachel had taken Laban's household idols, put them in the saddlebag of the camel, and sat on them. Laban searched the whole tent but found nothing.
35 She said to her father, "Don't be angry, my lord, that I cannot stand up in your presence; I am having my period." So Laban searched, but could not find the household idols.
36 Then Jacob became incensed and brought charges against Laban. "What is my crime?" he said to Laban. "What is my sin, that you have pursued me? 37 You've searched all my possessions! Have you found anything of yours? Put it here before my relatives and yours, and let them decide between the two of us. 38 I've been with you these twenty years. Your ewes and female goats have not miscarried, and I have not eaten the rams from your flock. 39 I did not bring you any of the flock torn by wild beasts; I myself bore the loss. You demanded payment from me for what was stolen by day or by night. 40 There I was--the heat consumed me by day and the frost by night, and sleep fled from my eyes. 41 For twenty years in your household I served you--fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flocks--and you have changed my wages ten times! 42 If the God of my father, the God of Abraham, the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, certainly now you would have sent me off empty-handed. But God has seen my affliction and my hard work, and he issued his verdict last night."
43 Then Laban answered Jacob, "The daughters are my daughters; the sons, my sons; and the flocks, my flocks! Everything you see is mine! But what can I do today for these daughters of mine or for the children they have borne? 44 Come now, let's make a covenant, you and I. Let it be a witness between the two of us."
45 So Jacob picked out a stone and set it up as a marker. 46 Then Jacob said to his relatives, "Gather stones." And they took stones and made a mound, then ate there by the mound. 47 Laban named the mound Jegar-sahadutha, but Jacob named it Galeed.
48 Then Laban said, "This mound is a witness between you and me today." Therefore the place was called Galeed 49 and also Mizpah, for he said, "May the LORD watch between you and me when we are out of each other's sight. 50 If you mistreat my daughters or take other wives, though no one is with us, understand that God will be a witness between you and me." 51 Laban also said to Jacob, "Look at this mound and the marker I have set up between you and me. 52 This mound is a witness and the marker is a witness that I will not pass beyond this mound to you, and you will not pass beyond this mound and this marker to do me harm. 53 The God of Abraham, and the gods of Nahor--the gods of their father--will judge between us." And Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac. 54 Then Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain and invited his relatives to eat a meal. So they ate a meal and spent the night on the mountain. 55 Laban got up early in the morning, kissed his grandchildren and daughters, and blessed them. Then Laban left to return home.

What does Genesis chapter 31 mean?

Genesis 31 is a long, eventful chapter that follows Jacob from his last days in a twenty-year career as Laban's servant. It ends with Jacob standing with his wives and children, as a free man, in the borderlands of the promised land of Canaan. It's not a smooth transition, though, and this chapter details several controversies.

This chapter begins with two revelations. First, Jacob learns that Laban's sons are dangerously angry with him for taking such a large portion of Laban's profits, their future inheritance. Worse, Jacob hears that he has lost the favor of Laban himself. Second, God speaks to Jacob once more and commands him to return to his own people in Canaan. God promises to be with him (Genesis 31:1–3).

Jacob knows he must leave. He is afraid, though. What if his wives, Laban's daughters, don't want to go? What if Laban won't let him go? He immediately sends for his wives to see if they will support the move. He makes his case: Laban no longer favors him. Even after twenty years of faithful service, Laban continually cheats him. Rachel and Leah agree, despite their longstanding rivalry. They describe their decision bitterly, in financial terms. They won't get any inheritance from Laban, anyway. They'll go with Jacob (Genesis 31:4–16).

Next, Jacob decides to skip any confrontation with Laban. In the past, Laban has talked Jacob into seemingly terrible agreements, though God has blessed Jacob even in those circumstances. Worse, Jacob is concerned that Laban may forbid Jacob to leave with all the people and property that he sees as ultimately belonging to him. Jacob doesn't give Laban the chance to object. He just packs and leaves in a hurry (Genesis 31:17–21).

Three days later, Laban hears that Jacob is gone. He saddles up with his kinsman and gives chase, catching up with Jacob's large company in the hill country of Gilead. The confrontation will happen after all. Unexpectedly warned by God not to "say anything to Jacob, either good or bad," Laban may have moderated his words to Jacob. Instead of expressing his wrath, Laban sounds hurt. If Jacob had only told him he was leaving, Laban would have thrown him a party, or so he says. Laban speaks as if Jacob tried to steal Laban's chance to kiss his daughters and grandchildren goodbye. He understands that Jacob longed for his father's household, but why did Jacob steal Laban's house gods (Genesis 31:22–30)?

Jacob answers Laban honestly. He thought Laban would take his daughters, Jacob's wives, away by force. He also insists he did not take Laban's idols, not knowing that Rachel did exactly that. Jacob foolishly promises that anyone found with the idols will die. This puts his beloved wife's life at risk (Genesis 31:31–32).

Jacob allows Laban to search the camp. Due to Rachel's quick thinking, and deception, Laban finds nothing. Feeling righteously indignant, Jacob finally expresses all of his fury to Laban, not just about the idol search, but also about twenty years of shabby treatment in spite of Jacob's faithful service. Only God's protection and blessing has kept Jacob from leaving empty-handed to return to his own people (Genesis 31:33–42).

Laban disagrees. He still believes his daughters and their children and all that Jacob possesses belongs to him. Because Jacob's God has warned Laban, though, Laban won't fight for them. Instead, he offers an alternative both to protect himself in the future and to take control of the situation. He proposes a covenant that both men will swear never to cross over the point where they stand in order to do the other harm (Genesis 31:43–50).

Jacob agrees. The covenant is made and recognized with the building of a heap of stones, a sacrifice upon an altar, and the sharing of a meal. Finally, Laban rides off and Jacob turns to face his homeland as a free man (Genesis 31:51–55).

Still, this won't be the end of Jacob's worries as he heads home. When he fled, twenty years prior, it was to escape the murderous wrath of Esau, the older twin brother Jacob had cheated (Genesis 27:36; 27:41). Jacob might be free, but he's also heading towards a man who might still be looking for revenge. The next two chapters will show how this eventual meeting plays out.