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Genesis 31:45-52

Context

31:45 So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a memorial pillar. 31:46 Then he 1  said to his relatives, “Gather stones.” So they brought stones and put them in a pile. 2  They ate there by the pile of stones. 31:47 Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha, 3  but Jacob called it Galeed. 4 

31:48 Laban said, “This pile of stones is a witness of our agreement 5  today.” That is why it was called Galeed. 31:49 It was also called Mizpah 6  because he said, “May the Lord watch 7  between us 8  when we are out of sight of one another. 9  31:50 If you mistreat my daughters or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no one else is with us, realize 10  that God is witness to your actions.” 11 

31:51 “Here is this pile of stones and this pillar I have set up between me and you,” Laban said to Jacob. 12  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. 13 

1 tn Heb “Jacob”; the proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“he”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.

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

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

4 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.

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

6 tn Heb “and Mizpah.”

7 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.

8 tn Heb “between me and you.”

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

10 tn Heb “see.”

11 tn Heb “between me and you.”

12 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.

13 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.”



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