Genesis chapter 31

Jacob flees from Laban. Laban pursues Jacob. Jacob and Laban make a covenant.

 


 

JACOB FLEES FROM LABAN

 

VERSE 1. Jacob heard Laban’s sons’ words, saying, “Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s. He has obtained all this wealth from that which was our father’s.”

 

VERSE 2. Jacob saw the expression on Laban’s face, and, behold, it was not toward him as before.

 

VERSE 3. The LORD said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers, and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”

Return to the land of your fathers. The LORD God saw the injustices committed against Jacob.

When the situation was deemed irreconcilable, it was time for Jacob to leave.

Injustice demands a solution. But sometimes the only solution possible is geography.

You flee.

And when you finally get away, the LORD God can do new things for you.

Two obvious examples come to mind: abuse and violence. In both cases, the abuser cannot be reasoned with. There is no resolution. And the victim has a duty to protect self.

In all likelihood, the only way to protect self is to flee. That’s what Jacob had to do.

 

VERSE 4. Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field to his flock,

 

VERSE 5. and said to them, “I see the expression on your father’s face, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father has been with me.

 

VERSE 6. You know that I have served your father with all of my strength.

 

VERSE 7. Your father has deceived me, and changed my wages ten times, but God didn’t allow him to hurt me.

Your father has deceived me. Jacob did not make excuses for the abusive behavior of Laban.

 

VERSE 8. If he said, ‘The speckled will be your wages,’ then all the flock bore speckled. If he said, ‘The streaked will be your wages,’ then all the flock bore streaked.

 

VERSE 9. Thus God has taken away your father’s livestock, and given them to me.

 

VERSE 10. During mating season, I lifted up my eyes, and saw in a dream, and behold, the male goats which leaped on the flock were streaked, speckled, and grizzled.

 

VERSE 11. The angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob,’ and I said, ‘Here I am.’

 

VERSE 12. He said, ‘Now lift up your eyes, and behold, all the male goats which leap on the flock are streaked, speckled, and grizzled, for I have seen all that Laban does to you.

 

VERSE 13. I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar, where you vowed a vow to me. Now arise, get out from this land, and return to the land of your birth.’ ”

 

VERSE 14. Rachel and Leah answered him, “Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father’s house?

 

VERSE 15. Aren’t we considered as foreigners by him? For he has sold us, and has also used up our money.

 

VERSE 16. For all the riches which God has taken away from our father are ours and our children’s. Now then, whatever God has said to you, do.”

whatever God has said to you, do. Rachel and Leah practice radical discipleship.

They are willing to follow the leading of the LORD God, no matter where he takes them.

 

VERSE 17. Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives on the camels,

 

VERSE 18. and he took away all his livestock, and all his possessions which he had gathered, including the livestock which he had gained in Paddan Aram, to go to Isaac his father, to the land of Canaan.

 

VERSE 19. Now Laban had gone to shear his sheep; and Rachel stole the teraphim that were her father’s.

teraphim. These were household idols. They might have been associated with inheritance rights to the household property.

Rachel stole the teraphim. Rachel stole her father’s idols.

Even though Rachel practiced radical discipleship, she had not yet discerned the need to separate herself from idolatry.

 

VERSE 20. Jacob deceived Laban the Syrian, in that he didn’t tell him that he was running away.

 

VERSE 21. So he fled with all that he had. He rose up, passed over the River, and set his face toward the mountain of Gilead.

 

LABAN PURSUES JACOB

 

VERSE 22. Laban was told on the third day that Jacob had fled.

 

VERSE 23. He took his relatives with him, and pursued him seven days’ journey. He overtook him in the mountain of Gilead.

 

VERSE 24. God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream of the night, and said to him, “Be careful that you don’t speak to Jacob either good or bad.”

 

VERSE 25. Laban caught up with Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mountain, and Laban with his relatives encamped in the mountain of Gilead.

 

VERSE 26. Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done, that you have deceived me, and carried away my daughters like captives of the sword?

 

VERSE 27. Why did you flee secretly, and deceive me, and didn’t tell me, that I might have sent you away with mirth and with songs, with tambourine and with harp;

 

VERSE 28. and didn’t allow me to kiss my sons and my daughters? Now have you done foolishly.

 

VERSE 29. It is in the power of my hand to hurt you, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Be careful that you don’t speak to Jacob either good or bad.’

 

VERSE 30. Now, you want to be gone, because you greatly longed for your father’s house, but why have you stolen my gods?”

 

VERSE 31. Jacob answered Laban, “Because I was afraid, for I said, ‘Lest you should take your daughters from me by force.’

 

VERSE 32. Anyone you find your gods with shall not live. Before our relatives, discern what is yours with me, and take it.” For Jacob didn’t know that Rachel had stolen them.

 

VERSE 33. Laban went into Jacob’s tent, into Leah’s tent, and into the tent of the two female servants; but he didn’t find them. He went out of Leah’s tent, and entered into Rachel’s tent.

 

VERSE 34. Now Rachel had taken the teraphim, put them in the camel’s saddle, and sat on them. Laban felt around all the tent, but didn’t find them.

 

VERSE 35. She said to her father, “Don’t let my lord be angry that I can’t rise up before you; for I’m having my period.” He searched, but didn’t find the teraphim.

 

VERSE 36. Jacob was angry, and argued with Laban. Jacob answered Laban, “What is my trespass? What is my sin, that you have hotly pursued me?

 

VERSE 37. Now that you have felt around in all my stuff, what have you found of all your household stuff? Set it here before my relatives and your relatives, that they may judge between us two.

 

VERSE 38. “These twenty years I have been with you. Your ewes and your female goats have not cast their young, and I haven’t eaten the rams of your flocks.

 

VERSE 39. That which was torn of animals, I didn’t bring to you. I bore its loss. Of my hand you required it, whether stolen by day or stolen by night.

 

VERSE 40. This was my situation: in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep fled from my eyes.

 

VERSE 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.

 

VERSE 42. Unless the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely now you would have sent me away empty. God has seen my affliction and the labor of my hands, and rebuked you last night.”

the fear of Isaac. That is, the Awesome One of Isaac.

This is a way of referring to the LORD God Almighty.

 

JACOB AND LABAN MAKE A COVENANT

 

VERSE 43. Laban answered Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine! What can I do today to these my daughters, or to their children whom they have borne?

 

VERSE 44. Now come, let’s make a covenant, you and I. Let it be for a witness between me and you.”

 

VERSE 45. Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar.

 

VERSE 46. Jacob said to his relatives, “Gather stones.” They took stones, and made a heap. They ate there by the heap.

 

VERSE 47. Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha, but Jacob called it Galeed.

Jegar Sahadutha. This means “Witness Heap in Aramaic.

Galeed. This means Witness Heap” in Hebrew.

 

VERSE 48. Laban said, “This heap is witness between me and you today.” Therefore it was named Galeed

 

VERSE 49. and Mizpah, for he said, “The LORD watch between me and you, when we are absent one from another.

 

VERSE 50. If you afflict my daughters, or if you take wives in addition to my daughters, no man is with us; behold, God is witness between me and you.”

 

VERSE 51. Laban said to Jacob, “See this heap, and see the pillar, which I have set between me and you.

 

VERSE 52. May this heap be a witness, and the pillar be a witness, that I will not pass over this heap to you, and that you will not pass over this heap and this pillar to me, for harm.

 

VERSE 53. The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.” Then Jacob swore by the fear of his father, Isaac.

 

VERSE 54. Jacob offered a sacrifice in the mountain, and called his relatives to eat bread. They ate bread, and stayed all night in the mountain.

Jacob offered a sacrifice. Jacob stepped into a priestly role.

 

VERSE 55. Early in the morning, Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them. Laban departed and returned to his place.

 


next chapter »

« previous chapter


GENESIS

CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50

RESOURCES: Summary, Outline, Memorize

Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


 

Author: Todd Van Natta

I was given a great gift. It is to be passionate about Jesus Christ and the Bible and the spiritual life. I am a Christian believer. I believe in Jesus Christ. I’m in love with Jesus! I believe the Bible. I love the Bible. For decades, I've been reading it cover-to-cover, again and again and again. I’ve memorized a whole lot of Bible verses. Most of all, I want the Bible to help us fall more deeply in love with God the Father, with Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, with other people, and with ourselves. And I've been reading the great writings from the entire Christian heritage for decades. At Explore the Faith, I share what I have discovered.