Good News Translation (GNB)
31

Jacob Flees from Laban

311Jacob heard that Laban's sons were saying, “Jacob has taken everything that belonged to our father. All his wealth has come from what our father owned.” 2He also saw that Laban was no longer as friendly as he had been earlier. 3Then the LORD said to him, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives. I will be with you.”

4So Jacob sent word to Rachel and Leah to meet him in the field where his flocks were. 5He said to them, “I have noticed that your father is not as friendly towards me as he used to be; but my father's God has been with me. 6You both know that I have worked for your father with all my strength. 7Yet he has cheated me and changed my wages ten times. But God did not let him harm me. 8Whenever 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. 9God has taken flocks away from your father and given them to me.

10“During the breeding season I had a dream, and I saw that the male goats that were mating were striped, spotted, and speckled. 11The angel of God spoke to me in the dream and said, ‘Jacob!’ ‘Yes,’ I answered. 12‘Look,’ he continued, ‘all the male goats that are mating are striped, spotted, and speckled. I am making this happen because I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. 13

31.13:
Gen 28.18–22
I am the God who appeared to you at Bethel, where you dedicated a stone as a memorial by pouring olive oil on it and where you made a vow to me. Now get ready to go back to the land where you were born.’ ”

14Rachel and Leah answered Jacob, “There is nothing left for us to inherit from our father. 15He treats us like foreigners. He sold us, and now he has spent all the money he was paid for us. 16All this wealth which God has taken from our father belongs to us and to our children. Do whatever God has told you.”

17-18So Jacob got ready to go back to his father in the land of Canaan. He put his children and his wives on the camels, and drove all his flocks ahead of him, with everything that he had acquired in Mesopotamia. 19Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and during his absence Rachel stole the household gods that belonged to her father. 20Jacob deceived Laban by not letting him know that he was leaving. 21He took everything he owned and left in a hurry. He crossed the River Euphrates and started for the hill country of Gilead.

Laban Pursues Jacob

22Three days later Laban was told that Jacob had fled. 23He took his men with him and pursued Jacob for seven days until he caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead. 24In a dream that night God came to Laban and said to him, “Be careful not to threaten Jacob in any way.” 25Jacob had set up his camp on a mountain, and Laban set up his camp with his relatives in the hill country of Gilead.

26Laban said to Jacob, “Why did you deceive me and carry off my daughters like women captured in war? 27Why 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. 28You did not even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters goodbye. That was a foolish thing to do! 29I have the power to do you harm, but last night the God of your father warned me not to threaten you in any way. 30I know that you left because you were so anxious to get back home, but why did you steal my household gods?”

31Jacob answered, “I was afraid, because I thought that you might take your daughters away from me. 32But if you find that anyone here has your gods, he will be put to death. Here, with our men as witnesses, look for anything that belongs to you and take what is yours.” Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen Laban's gods.

33Laban went and searched Jacob's tent; then he went into Leah's tent, and the tent of the two slave women, but he did not find his gods. Then he went into Rachel's tent. 34Rachel had taken the household gods and put them in a camel's saddlebag and was sitting on them. Laban searched through the whole tent, but did not find them. 35Rachel said to her father, “Do not be angry with me, sir, but I am not able to stand up in your presence; I am having my monthly period.” Laban searched but did not find his household gods.

36Then 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? 37Now 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, and let them decide which one of us is right. 38I have been with you now for twenty years; your sheep and your goats have not failed to reproduce, and I have not eaten any rams from your flocks. 39Whenever a sheep was killed by wild animals, I always bore the loss myself. I didn't 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. 40Many times I suffered from the heat during the day and from the cold at night. I was not able to sleep. 41It was like that for the whole twenty years I was with you. For fourteen years I worked to win your two daughters — and six years for your flocks. And even then, you changed my wages ten times. 42If the God of my fathers, the God of Abraham and Isaac, had not been with me, you would have already sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen my trouble and the work I have done, and last night he gave his judgement.”

The Agreement between Jacob and Laban

43Laban answered Jacob, “These young women are my daughters; their children belong to me, and these flocks are mine. In fact, everything you see here belongs to me. But since I can do nothing to keep my daughters and their children, 44I am ready to make an agreement with you. Let us make a pile of stones to remind us of our agreement.”

45So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a memorial. 46He told his men to gather some rocks and pile them up. Then they ate a meal beside the pile of rocks. 47Laban named it Jegar Sahadutha,31.47 Jegar Sahadutha: This name in Aramaic means “a pile to remind us”. while Jacob named it Galeed.31.47 Galeed: This name in Hebrew means “a pile to remind us”. 48Laban said to Jacob, “This pile of rocks will be a reminder for both of us.” That is why that place was named Galeed. 49Laban also said, “May the LORD keep an eye on us while we are separated from each other.” So the place was also named Mizpah.31.49 Mizpah: This name sounds like the Hebrew for “place from which to watch”. 50Laban went on, “If you ill-treat my daughters or if you marry other women, even though I don't know about it, remember that God is watching us. 51Here are the rocks that I have piled up between us, and here is the memorial stone. 52Both this pile and this memorial stone are reminders. I will never go beyond this pile to attack you, and you must never go beyond it or beyond this memorial stone to attack me. 53The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor31.53 AbrahamNahor: Abraham was Jacob's grandfather and Nahor was Laban's grandfather. will judge between us.” Then, in the name of the God whom his father Isaac worshipped, Jacob solemnly vowed to keep this promise. 54He killed an animal, which he offered as a sacrifice on the mountain, and he invited his men to the meal. After they had eaten, they spent the night on the mountain. 55Early the next morning Laban kissed his grandchildren and his daughters goodbye, and left to go back home.

32

Jacob Prepares to Meet Esau

321As Jacob went on his way, some angels met him. 2When he saw them, he said, “This is God's camp”; so he called the place Mahanaim.32.2 Mahanaim: This name in Hebrew means “two camps”.

3Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the country of Edom. 4He instructed them to say: “I, Jacob, your obedient servant, report to my master Esau that I have been staying with Laban and that I have delayed my return until now. 5I own cattle, donkeys, sheep, goats, and slaves. I am sending you word, sir, in the hope of gaining your favour.”

6When the messengers came back to Jacob, they said, “We went to your brother Esau, and he is already on his way to meet you. He has 400 men with him.” 7Jacob was frightened and worried. He divided into two groups the people who were with him, and also his sheep, goats, cattle, and camels. 8He thought, “If Esau comes and attacks the first group, the other may be able to escape.”

9Then Jacob prayed, “God of my grandfather Abraham and God of my father Isaac, hear me! You told me, LORD, to go back to my land and to my relatives, and you would make everything go well for me. 10I am not worth all the kindness and faithfulness that you have shown me, your servant. I crossed the Jordan with nothing but a walking stick, and now I have come back with these two groups. 11Save me, I pray, from my brother Esau. I am afraid — afraid that he is coming to attack us and destroy us all, even the women and children. 12

32.12:
Gen 22.17
Remember that you promised to make everything go well for me and to give me more descendants than anyone could count, as many as the grains of sand along the seashore.”

13-15After spending the night there, Jacob chose from his livestock as a present for his brother Esau: 200 female goats and twenty males, 200 female sheep and twenty males, thirty milk camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten males. 16He divided them into herds and put one of his servants in charge of each herd. He said to them, “Go ahead of me, and leave a space between each herd and the one behind it.” 17He ordered the first servant, “When my brother Esau meets you and asks, ‘Who is your master? Where are you going? Who owns these animals in front of you?’ 18you must answer, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. He sends them as a present to his master Esau. Jacob himself is just behind us.’ ” 19He gave the same order to the second, the third, and to all the others who were in charge of the herds: “This is what you must say to Esau when you meet him. 20You must say, ‘Yes, your servant Jacob is just behind us.’ ” Jacob was thinking, “I will win him over with the gifts, and when I meet him, perhaps he will forgive me.” 21He sent the gifts on ahead of him and spent that night in camp.

Jacob Wrestles at Peniel

22That same night Jacob got up, took his two wives, his two concubines, and his eleven children, and crossed the River Jabbok. 23After he had sent them across, he also sent across all that he owned, 24

32.24–26:
Hos 12.3–4
but he stayed behind, alone.

Then a man came and wrestled with him until just before daybreak. 25When the man saw that he was not winning the struggle, he struck Jacob on the hip, and it was thrown out of joint. 26The man said, “Let me go; daylight is coming.”

“I won't, unless you bless me,” Jacob answered.

27“What is your name?” the man asked.

“Jacob,” he answered.

28

32.28:
Gen 35.10
The man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob. You have struggled with God and with men, and you have won; so your name will be Israel.”32.28 Israel: This name sounds like the Hebrew for “he struggles with God” or “God struggles”.

29

32.29:
Judg 13.17–18
Jacob said, “Now tell me your name.”

But he answered, “Why do you want to know my name?” Then he blessed Jacob.

30Jacob said, “I have seen God face to face, and I am still alive”; so he named the place Peniel.32.30 Peniel: This name sounds like the Hebrew for “the face of God”. 31The sun rose as Jacob was leaving Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. 32Even today the descendants of Israel do not eat the muscle which is on the hip joint, because it was on this muscle that Jacob was struck.

33

Jacob Meets Esau

331Jacob saw Esau coming with his 400 men, so he divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and the two concubines. 2He put the concubines and their children first, then Leah and her children, and finally Rachel and Joseph at the rear. 3Jacob went ahead of them and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother. 4But Esau ran to meet him, threw his arms round him, and kissed him. They were both crying. 5When Esau looked round and saw the women and the children, he asked, “Who are these people with you?”

“These, sir, are the children whom God has been good enough to give me,” Jacob answered. 6Then the concubines came up with their children and bowed down; 7then Leah and her children came, and last of all Joseph and Rachel came and bowed down.

8Esau asked, “What about that other group I met? What did that mean?”

Jacob answered, “It was to gain your favour.”

9But Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have.”

10Jacob said, “No, please, if I have gained your favour, accept my gift. To see your face is for me like seeing the face of God, now that you have been so friendly to me. 11Please accept this gift which I have brought for you; God has been kind to me and given me everything I need.” Jacob kept on urging him until he accepted.

12Esau said, “Let's prepare to leave. I will go ahead of you.”

13Jacob answered, “You know that the children are weak, and I must think of the sheep and cattle with their young. If they are driven hard for even one day, the whole herd will die. 14Please go on ahead of me, and I will follow slowly, going as fast as I can with the livestock and the children until I catch up with you in Edom.”

15Esau said, “Then let me leave some of my men with you.”

But Jacob answered, “There is no need for that for I only want to gain your favour.”33.15 for I only want to gain your favour; or if it's all right with you. 16So that day Esau started on his way back to Edom. 17But Jacob went to Sukkoth, where he built a house for himself and shelters for his livestock. That is why the place was named Sukkoth.33.17 Sukkoth: This name in Hebrew means “shelters”.

18On his return from Mesopotamia Jacob arrived safely at the city of Shechem in the land of Canaan and set up his camp in a field near the city. 19

33.19:
Josh 24.32
Jn 4.5
He bought that part of the field from the descendants of Hamor father of Shechem for a hundred pieces of silver. 20He put up an altar there and named it after El, the God of Israel.