56-57 : Jacob Seeks To Leave Laban

56-57 : Jacob Seeks To Leave Laban


At the end of the seven years,
Jacob said to Laban:"Give me my wife, for I have fulfilled our agreement."

And Laban prepared a wedding feast.
But that evening in the darkness, Laban brought Leah to Jacob,
 and he married her, believing she was Rachel.
When Jacob discovered that he had been deceived, he said to Laban:
"What have you done to me? Did I not serve you for Rachel?"

Laban said: "In our land it is not right to marry off the younger before the firstborn.
But if you will promise to serve me yet seven years more, I will give you Rachel, too, as a wife."
So Jacob took Rachel as his wife also,
as it was the custom in that time for a man to have more than one wife.

He served Laban seven more years.
And he loved Rachel more than Leah.
Rachel did not bear any children and was unhappy.But Leah gave Jacob many sons.
Then the Lord took pity on Rachel and allowed her to bear a son.
And she named her son Joseph.
After twenty years with Laban, Jacob had prospered exceedingly.
He had many cattle, and menservants and maidservants, and camels and asses.
But he heard the words of Laban's sons, saying:
"Jacob has taken away all that was our father's, and from our father he has all his wealth."
Jacob also saw that Laban was not the same towards him as before.
And the Lord said to him: "Return unto the land of your fathers,
 to your own land, and I will be with you."
So Jacob called Rachel and Leah to the field, where he was with his flock and said to them:
"I see from your father's face that he no longer regards me as he did, but the God of my fathers has been with me.And you know that I have served your father with all my power.
Yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times, but never has God allowed him to do me harm. "

The angel of God spoke to me in a dream and said: 'I am the God of Bethel where you anointed the pillar and where you vowed a vow to me. Now arise, go out from this country and return to your own land."'

Rachel and Leah answered and said to him: "Whatever God has said to
you, do."
So Jacob rose€ up and set his sons and his wives upon camels and he took all his cattle
 and all his goods, to return to Isaac hbis father in the land of Canaan.


And when the time came for him to leave,

Jacob stole away secretly while Laban was shearing his sheep.
He passed over the river, fleeing with all that he possessed, and set his face toward Mount Gilead.

On the third day, Laban was told that Jacob had fled.
He took his brothers with him, and pursued Jacob for seven days and overtook him on Mount Gilead.
But God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night and said to him:
"Take heed that you speak not to Jacob, neither good nor bad."

Jacob had pitched his tent on the mount and Laban and his brothers pitched their tents close by.
 Then Laban came to Jacob and said: "What have you done?
Why did you steal away without my knowledge and carry away my daughters, like war captives?
Why did you not tell me so that I could send you on your way with merriment,
with tambourines and with harps?
You did not allow me even to kiss my grandsons and daughters goodbye.
In so doing, you have behaved foolishly.
It is in my power to harm you, but the God of your father spoke to me last night,
saying: 'Take heed not to speak to Jacob, good or bad.' Now if you left because you
are longing to return to your father' house, why then have you stolen my family images?"
Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen Laban's images, and he answered:
"Search the tents and whatever you may find belonging to you, take it.
And if anyone has stolen your family images, let that one not live."

So Laban searched Jacob's tent and the servants' tents, but he did not find the images.
Rachel had hidden the images in the trappings of her camel and was sitting upon them.
Laban searched her tent but did not find the images,
and Rachel said to her father:"Let it not displease you that I do not rise in your presence,
but I am not
feeling well today."
Then Jacob became angry and chided Laban, saying: "What wrong have I done against
you, what sin have I committed that you should pursue me?
You have searched all my belongings, but what have you found that was yours?
Let it be set down here before my brothers and your brothers and let them judge between us.
For twenty years I have been with you: your ewes and your she-goats have done well,
 and never have I eaten a ram from your flocks.
The heat consumed me during the day and the cold by night. Sleep departed from my eyes.
I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years more for your cattle, and you have changed my wages ten times. "
Had you not feared the God of my father, the God of Abraham and Isaac, surely you would have sent me away now empty-handed.
God has seen my suffering and the labour of my hands, and he rebuked you last night."

Laban answered and said to Jacob: "These daughters are my daughters, these children are my children, these cattle are my cattle, and all that you see are mine.
 "What could I do against my
daughters and the children they have borne?
Therefore, come, let us make a covenant,and let it be for a witness between you and me."


Jacob took a stone and set it up for a pillar.
 Then Jacob said to the men with him: "Gather stones and make a heap."
They did so and there they ate, upon the heap.
Then Laban said:"Behold this heap and behold this pillar, which I have cast between me and you. This heap is a witness between us.
 I will not pass over this heap to you, and you shall not pass over this heap to harm me.
 The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor judge between us."
Jacob swore by the fear of his father Isaac.
 Then he offered sacrffice upon the mount and called his brethren to eat bread,
and they ate and tarried all night on the mount.
Early in the morning Laban rose and kissed his sons and his daughters and blessed them.
He departed and returned to his land.


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