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Genesis Chapter 31 | Parsha: Va-yetse

1Now he heard the things that Laban’s sons were saying: “Jacob has taken all that was our father’s, and from that which was our father’s he has built up all this wealth.” 2Jacob also saw that Laban’s manner toward him was not as it had been in the past. 3Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers where you were born, and I will be with you.” 4Jacob had Rachel and Leah called to the field, where his flock was, 5and said to them, “I see that your father’s manner toward me is not as it has been in the past. But the God of my father has been with me. 6As you know, I have served your father with all my might; 7but your father has cheated me, changing my wages time and again. God, however, would not let him do me harm. 8If he said thus, ‘The speckled shall be your wages,’ then all the flocks would drop speckled young; and if he said thus, ‘The streaked shall be your wages,’ then all the flocks would drop streaked young. 9God has taken away your father’s livestock and given it to me.

10“Once, at the mating time of the flocks, I had a dream in which I saw that the he-goats mating with the flock were streaked, speckled, and mottled. 11And in the dream an angel of God said to me, ‘Jacob!’ ‘Here,’ I answered. 12And he said, ‘Note well that all the he-goats which are mating with the flock are streaked, speckled, and mottled; for I have noted all that Laban has been doing to you. 13I am the God of Beth-el, where you anointed a pillar and where you made a vow to Me. Now, arise and leave this land and return to your native land.’”

14Then Rachel and Leah answered him, saying, “Have we still a share in the inheritance of our father’s house? 15Surely, he regards us as outsiders, now that he has sold us and has used up our purchase price. 16Truly, all the wealth that God has taken away from our father belongs to us and to our children. Now then, do just as God has told you.”

17Thereupon Jacob put his children and wives on camels; 18and he drove off all his livestock and all the wealth that he had amassed, the livestock in his possession that he had acquired in Paddan-aram, to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.

19Meanwhile Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel stole her father’s household idols. 20Jacob kept Laban the Aramean in the dark, not telling him that he was fleeing, 21and fled with all that he had. Soon he was across the Euphrates and heading toward the hill country of Gilead.

22On the third day, Laban was told that Jacob had fled. 23So he took his kinsmen with him and pursued him a distance of seven days, catching up with him in the hill country of Gilead. 24But God appeared to Laban the Aramean in a dream by night and said to him, “Beware of attempting anything with Jacob, good or bad.”

25Laban overtook Jacob. Jacob had pitched his tent on the Height, and Laban with his kinsmen encamped in the hill country of Gilead. 26And Laban said to Jacob, “What did you mean by keeping me in the dark and carrying off my daughters like captives of the sword? 27Why did you flee in secrecy and mislead me and not tell me? I would have sent you off with festive music, with timbrel and lyre. 28You did not even let me kiss my sons and daughters good-by! It was a foolish thing for you to do. 29I have it in my power to do you harm; but the God of your father said to me last night, ‘Beware of attempting anything with Jacob, good or bad.’ 30Very well, you had to leave because you were longing for your father’s house; but why did you steal my gods?

31Jacob answered Laban, saying, “I was afraid because I thought you would take your daughters from me by force. 32But anyone with whom you find your gods shall not remain alive! In the presence of our kinsmen, point out what I have of yours and take it.” Jacob, of course, did not know that Rachel had stolen them.

33So Laban went into Jacob’s tent and Leah’s tent and the tents of the two maidservants; but he did not find them. Leaving Leah’s tent, he entered Rachel’s tent. 34Rachel, meanwhile, had taken the idols and placed them in the camel cushion and sat on them; and Laban rummaged through the tent without finding them. 35For she said to her father, “Let not my lord take it amiss that I cannot rise before you, for the period of women is upon me.” Thus he searched, but could not find the household idols.

36Now Jacob became incensed and took up his grievance with Laban. Jacob spoke up and said to Laban, “What is my crime, what is my guilt that you should pursue me? 37You rummaged through all my things; what have you found of all your household objects? Set it here, before my kinsmen and yours, and let them decide between us two.

38“These twenty years I have spent in your service, your ewes and she-goats never miscarried, nor did I feast on rams from your flock. 39That which was torn by beasts I never brought to you; I myself made good the loss; you exacted it of me, whether snatched by day or snatched by night. 40Often, scorching heat ravaged me by day and frost by night; and sleep fled from my eyes. 41Of the twenty years that I spent in your household, I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flocks; and you changed my wages time and again. 42Had not the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, been with me, you would have sent me away empty-handed. But God took notice of my plight and the toil of my hands, and He gave judgment last night.”

43Then Laban spoke up and said to Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks; all that you see is mine. Yet what can I do now about my daughters or the children they have borne? 44Come, then, let us make a pact, you and I, that there may be a witness between you and me.” 45Thereupon Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar. 46And Jacob said to his kinsmen, “Gather stones.” So they took stones and made a mound; and they partook of a meal there by the mound. 47Laban named it Yegar-sahadutha, but Jacob named it Gal-ed. 48And Laban declared, “This mound is a witness between you and me this day.” That is why it was named Gal-ed; 49And [it was called] Mizpah, because he said, “May the Lord watch between you and me, when we are out of sight of each other. 50If you ill-treat my daughters or take other wives besides my daughters—though no one else be about, remember, God Himself will be witness between you and me.”

51And Laban said to Jacob, “Here is this mound and here the pillar which I have set up between you and me: 52this mound shall be witness and this pillar shall be witness that I am not to cross to you past this mound, and that you are not to cross to me past this mound and this pillar, with hostile intent. 53May the God of Abraham and the god of Nahor”—their ancestral deities—“judge between us.” And Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac. 54Jacob then offered up a sacrifice on the Height, and invited his kinsmen to partake of the meal. After the meal, they spent the night on the Height.

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