1 Jacob heard that Labans sons were saying: »Jacob has taken everything that belonged to our father. He has gained all his wealth from him.«
2 He also noticed that Laban did not appear as friendly to him as before.
3 Jehovah said to Jacob: »Go back to the land of your ancestors and to your relatives. I will be with you.«
4 Then Jacob sent a message to Rachel and Leah to come out to the open country where his flocks were.
5 He said to them: »I have seen that your fathers attitude toward me is not as friendly as before. The God of my father has been with me.
6 »You both know that I have worked for your father with all my strength.
7 »Yet he has cheated me. He changed my wages ten times. However, God did not let him harm me.«
8 »When Laban said, The speckled goats shall be your wages, all the flocks produced speckled young. When he said, The striped goats shall be your wages, all the flocks produced striped young.
9 »This way 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 the angel of God said to me in the dream, Jacob. I said, here I am.
12 »He said, Look up and see, now please, that all the male goats that are mating are striped, speckled, or spotted, because I have seen everything that Laban is doing to you.
13 »I am the God of Bethel. That is where you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me. Arise and leave this land. Return to the land of your birth.«
14 Rachel and Leah asked: »Do we still have any portion or inheritance in our fathers house?
15 »Are we not accounted as foreigners by him? He sold us and also utterly consumed the price paid for us.
16 »For all the riches that God took away from our father belong to us and to our children. Do what God told you to do.«
17 Then Jacob put his children and his wives on camels.
18 He drove all his livestock ahead of him. He took all the possessions that he had accumulated. He took his own livestock that he had accumulated in Paddan-aram and went back to his father Isaac in Canaan.
19 When Laban went to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her fathers household idols.
20 Jacob also tricked Laban the Aramean by not telling him he was leaving.
21 He left in a hurry with all that belonged to him. He crossed the Euphrates River and went toward the mountains of Gilead.
22 Three days after he left, Laban was told that Jacob had fled.
23 Laban took his men with him and pursued Jacob for seven days until he caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead.
24 In a dream that night God came to Laban. God said: »Be careful not to threaten Jacob in any way.«
25 Jacob camped on a mountain. So when Laban caught up with Jacob as he was camped in the hill country of Gilead, he set up his camp not far from Jacods.
26 Laban said to Jacob: »Why did you deceive me and carry off my daughters like women captured in war?
27 »Why did you deceive me and slip away without telling me? If you had told me, I would have sent you on your way with rejoicing and singing to the music of tambourines and harps.
28 »You did not even let me give a kiss to my sons and my daughters. This was a foolish thing you did.
29 »It is in my power to do you harm. But the God of your father came to me this night. He said, Take care that you say nothing good or bad to Jacob.
30 »It appears that you are going because your hearts desire is for your fathers house. But why have you taken my gods?«
31 Jacob answered Laban: »I was afraid you might take your daughters from me by force.
32 »As for your gods, if anyone of us has them, let him be put to death. Make a search in front of us all for what is yours, and take it.« Jacob had no knowledge that Rachel had taken them.
33 So Laban went into Jacobs tent and into Leahs tent, and into the tents of the two servant-women, but they were not there. He left Leahs tent and went into Rachels.
34 Rachel took the images. She put them in the camels basket and was seated on them. Laban searched through the tent and did not find them.
35 Rachel said to her father: »Do not be angry, Father, but I cannot get up to greet you. I am having my period.« So even though Laban had made a thorough search, he did not find the idols.
36 Jacob lost his temper. »What crime have I committed?« he asked angrily. »What law have I broken that gives you the right to hunt me down?
37 »Now that you have searched through all my belongings, what household article have you found that belongs to you? Put it out here where your men and mine can see it. Let them decide which one of us is right.
38 »I have been with you now for twenty years. Your sheep and your goats have not failed to reproduce. I have not even eaten any rams from your flocks.
39 »I always absorbed the loss when wild animals killed a sheep. I did not take it to you to show that it was not my fault. You demanded that I make good anything that was stolen during the day or during the night.
40 »Many times I suffered from the heat during the day and from the cold at night. I was not able to sleep.
41 »I have been in your house twenty years! I was your servant for fourteen years because of your daughters. I kept your flock for six years. You changed my wages ten times.
42 »If the God of my father, the God of Abraham, out of respect for Isaac, had not been with me, you would have sent me away empty-handed by now. God has seen my misery and hard work. Last night he made it right!«
43 Then Laban answered Jacob: »These are my daughters, my grandchildren, and my flocks. Everything you see is mine! Yet, what can I do today for my daughters or for their children?
44 »Now, let us make an agreement covenant and let it stand as a witness between you and me.«
45 Jacob took a stone and set it up as a marker.
46 Jacob said to his relatives: »Gather some stones.« They took stones, put them into a pile, and ate there by the pile of stones.
47 In his language, Laban called it »Jegar Sahadutha« Witness Pile, but Jacob called it »Galeed.«
48 Laban said: »This pile of stones stands as a witness between you and me today.« This is why it was named Galeed,
49 and also Mizpah Watchtower, because he said: »May Jehovah watch between you and me when we are unable to see each other.
50 »If you mistreat my daughters or marry other women behind my back, remember that God stands as a witness between you and me.«
51 Laban also said to Jacob: »Here is the pile of stones. Here is the marker that I have set up between you and me.
52 »This pile of stones and this marker stand as witnesses that I will not go past the pile of stones to harm you, and that you will not go past the pile of stones or marker to harm me.
53 »May the God of Abraham and Nahorthe God of their fatherjudge between us.« So Jacob swore this oath out of respect for his father Isaac.
54 He offered a sacrifice on the mountain. He invited his relatives to eat the meal with him. They ate with him and spent the night on the mountain.
55 Early the next morning Laban kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then Laban left and went back home.