31:49 It was also called Mizpah 1 because he said, “May the Lord watch 2 between us 3 when we are out of sight of one another. 4 31:50 If you mistreat my daughters or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no one else is with us, realize 5 that God is witness to your actions.” 6
31:51 “Here is this pile of stones and this pillar I have set up between me and you,” Laban said to Jacob. 7 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. 8 31:53 May the God of Abraham and the god of Nahor, 9 the gods of their father, judge between us.” Jacob took an oath by the God whom his father Isaac feared. 10
1 tn Heb “and Mizpah.”
2 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
3 tn Heb “between me and you.”
4 tn Heb “for we will be hidden, each man from his neighbor.”
5 tn Heb “see.”
6 tn Heb “between me and you.”
7 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.
8 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.”
9 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.