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Genesis 31:24

31:24 But God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and warned him, 1  “Be careful 2  that you neither bless nor curse Jacob.” 3 

Genesis 31:36-55


31:36 Jacob became angry 4  and argued with Laban. “What did I do wrong?” he demanded of Laban. 5  “What sin of mine prompted you to chase after me in hot pursuit? 6  31:37 When you searched through all my goods, did you find anything that belonged to you? 7  Set it here before my relatives and yours, 8  and let them settle the dispute between the two of us! 9 

31:38 “I have been with you for the past twenty years. Your ewes and female goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten rams from your flocks. 31:39 Animals torn by wild beasts I never brought to you; I always absorbed the loss myself. 10  You always made me pay for every missing animal, 11  whether it was taken by day or at night. 31:40 I was consumed by scorching heat 12  during the day and by piercing cold 13  at night, and I went without sleep. 14  31:41 This was my lot 15  for twenty years in your house: I worked like a slave 16  for you – fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flocks, but you changed my wages ten times! 31:42 If the God of my father – the God of Abraham, the one whom Isaac fears 17  – had not been with me, you would certainly have sent me away empty-handed! But God saw how I was oppressed and how hard I worked, 18  and he rebuked you last night.”

31:43 Laban replied 19  to Jacob, “These women 20  are my daughters, these children are my grandchildren, 21  and these flocks are my flocks. All that you see belongs to me. But how can I harm these daughters of mine today 22  or the children to whom they have given birth? 31:44 So now, come, let’s make a formal agreement, 23  you and I, and it will be 24  proof that we have made peace.” 25 

31:45 So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a memorial pillar. 31:46 Then he 26  said to his relatives, “Gather stones.” So they brought stones and put them in a pile. 27  They ate there by the pile of stones. 31:47 Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha, 28  but Jacob called it Galeed. 29 

31:48 Laban said, “This pile of stones is a witness of our agreement 30  today.” That is why it was called Galeed. 31:49 It was also called Mizpah 31  because he said, “May the Lord watch 32  between us 33  when we are out of sight of one another. 34  31:50 If you mistreat my daughters or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no one else is with us, realize 35  that God is witness to your actions.” 36 

31:51 “Here is this pile of stones and this pillar I have set up between me and you,” Laban said to Jacob. 37  31:52 “This pile of stones and the pillar are reminders that I will not pass beyond this pile to come to harm you and that you will not pass beyond this pile and this pillar to come to harm me. 38  31:53 May the God of Abraham and the god of Nahor, 39  the gods of their father, judge between us.” Jacob took an oath by the God whom his father Isaac feared. 40  31:54 Then Jacob offered a sacrifice 41  on the mountain and invited his relatives to eat the meal. 42  They ate the meal and spent the night on the mountain.

31:55 (32:1) 43  Early in the morning Laban kissed 44  his grandchildren 45  and his daughters goodbye and blessed them. Then Laban left and returned home. 46 

1 tn Heb “said to him.”

2 tn Heb “watch yourself,” which is a warning to be on guard against doing something that is inappropriate.

3 tn Heb “lest you speak with Jacob from good to evil.” The precise meaning of the expression, which occurs only here and in v. 29, is uncertain. Since Laban proceeded to speak to Jacob at length, it cannot mean to maintain silence. Nor does it seem to be a prohibition against criticism (see vv. 26-30). Most likely it refers to a formal pronouncement, whether it be a blessing or a curse. Laban was to avoid saying anything to Jacob that would be intended to enhance him or to harm him.

4 tn Heb “it was hot to Jacob.” This idiom refers to anger.

5 tn Heb “and Jacob answered and said to Laban, ‘What is my sin?’” The proper name “Jacob” has been replaced by the pronoun (“he”) in the translation and the order of the introductory clause and direct discourse rearranged for stylistic reasons.

6 tn Heb “What is my sin that you have hotly pursued after me.” The Hebrew verb translated “pursue hotly” is used elsewhere of soldiers chasing defeated enemies (1 Sam 17:53).

7 tn Heb “what did you find from all the goods of your house?”

8 tn Heb “your relatives.” The word “relatives” has not been repeated in the translation here for stylistic reasons.

9 tn Heb “that they may decide between us two.”

10 tn The imperfect verbal form indicates that this was a customary or typical action.

11 tn Heb “from my hand you exacted it.” The imperfect verbal form again indicates that this was a customary or typical action. The words “for every missing animal” are supplied in the translation for clarity; the following clause in Hebrew, “stolen by day or stolen by night,” probably means “stolen by wild beasts” and refers to the same animals “torn by wild beasts” in the previous clause, although it may refer to animals stolen by people. The translation used here, “missing,” is ambiguous enough to cover either eventuality.

12 tn Or “by drought.”

13 tn Heb “frost, ice,” though when contrasted with the חֹרֶב (khorev, “drought, parching heat”) of the day, “piercing cold” is more appropriate as a contrast.

14 tn Heb “and my sleep fled from my eyes.”

15 tn Heb “this to me.”

16 tn Heb “served you,” but in this accusatory context the meaning is more “worked like a slave.”

17 tn Heb “the fear of Isaac,” that is, the one whom Isaac feared and respected. For further discussion of this title see M. Malul, “More on pahad yitschaq (Gen. 31:42,53) and the Oath by the Thigh,” VT 35 (1985): 192-200.

18 tn Heb “My oppression and the work of my hands God saw.”

19 tn Heb “answered and said.”

20 tn Heb “daughters.”

21 tn Heb “children.”

22 tn Heb “but to my daughters what can I do to these today?”

23 tn Heb “cut a covenant.”

24 tn The verb הָיָה (hayah) followed by the preposition לְ (lÿ) means “become.”

25 tn Heb “and it will become a witness between me and you.”

26 tn Heb “Jacob”; the proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“he”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.

27 sn The Hebrew word for “pile” is גַּל (gal), which sounds like the name “Galeed” (גַּלְעֵד, galed). See v. 48.

28 sn Jegar Sahadutha. Laban the Aramean gave the place an Aramaic name which means “witness pile” or “the pile is a witness.”

29 sn Galeed also means “witness pile” or “the pile is a witness,” but this name is Canaanite or Western Semitic and closer to later Hebrew. Jacob, though certainly capable of speaking Aramaic, here prefers to use the western dialect.

30 tn Heb “a witness between me and you.”

31 tn Heb “and Mizpah.”

32 sn The name Mizpah (מִצְפָּה, mitspah), which means “watchpost,” sounds like the verb translated “may he watch” (יִצֶף, yitsef). Neither Laban nor Jacob felt safe with each other, and so they agreed to go their separate ways, trusting the Lord to keep watch at the border. Jacob did not need this treaty, but Laban, perhaps because he had lost his household gods, felt he did.

33 tn Heb “between me and you.”

34 tn Heb “for we will be hidden, each man from his neighbor.”

35 tn Heb “see.”

36 tn Heb “between me and you.”

37 tn Heb “and Laban said to Jacob, ‘Behold this heap and behold the pillar which I have set between men and you.’” The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.

38 tn Heb “This pile is a witness and the pillar is a witness, if I go past this pile to you and if you go past this pile and this pillar to me for harm.”

39 tn The God of Abraham and the god of Nahor. The Hebrew verb translated “judge” is plural, suggesting that Laban has more than one “god” in mind. The Samaritan Pentateuch and the LXX, apparently in an effort to make the statement monotheistic, have a singular verb. In this case one could translate, “May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.” However, Laban had a polytheistic world view, as evidenced by his possession of household idols (cf. 31:19). The translation uses “God” when referring to Abraham’s God, for Genesis makes it clear that Abraham worshiped the one true God. It employs “god” when referring to Nahor’s god, for in the Hebrew text Laban refers to a different god here, probably one of the local deities.

40 tn Heb “by the fear of his father Isaac.” See the note on the word “fears” in v. 42.

41 tn The construction is a cognate accusative with the verb, expressing a specific sacrifice.

42 tn Heb “bread, food.” Presumably this was a type of peace offering, where the person bringing the offering ate the animal being sacrificed.

43 sn Beginning with 31:55, the verse numbers in the English Bible through 32:32 differ by one from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 31:55 ET = 32:1 HT, 32:1 ET = 32:2 HT, etc., through 32:32 ET = 32:33 HT. From 33:1 the verse numbers in the ET and HT are again the same.

44 tn Heb “and Laban got up early in the morning and he kissed.”

45 tn Heb “his sons.”

46 tn Heb “to his place.”

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