This article is part of a series of Bible passages, which together are mainly about how the Bible says the Jewish race developed and were given laws, how they settled in ancient Israel, and how it says God sometimes punished them for disobeying his commands, which led to them changing their ways.
This is Part 3 (of 3) in Section 1: "The Early Old Testament".
Some parts of the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation are very unpleasant. If you become offended by anything, please read An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.
Genesis chapter 30 (NLT)
25 Soon after Joseph was born to Rachel, Jacob said to Laban, "I want to go back home. 26 Let me take my wives and children, for I have earned them from you, and let me be on my way. You know I have fully paid for them with my service to you."
27 "Please don't leave me," Laban replied, "for I have learned by divination that the LORD has blessed me because you are here. 28 How much do I owe you? Whatever it is, I'll pay it."
29 Jacob replied, "You know how faithfully I've served you through these many years, and how your flocks and herds have grown. 30 You had little indeed before I came, and your wealth has increased enormously. The LORD has blessed you from everything I do! But now, what about me? When should I provide for my own family?"
31 "What wages do you want?" Laban asked again.
Jacob replied, "Don't give me anything at all. Just do one thing, and I'll go back to work for you. 32 Let me go out among your flocks today and remove all the sheep and goats that are speckled or spotted, along with all the dark-colored sheep. Give them to me as my wages. 33 This will make it easy for you to see whether or not I have been honest. If you find in my flock any white sheep or goats that are not speckled, you will know that I have stolen them from you."
34 "All right," Laban replied. "It will be as you have said."
43 Jacob's flocks increased rapidly, and he became very wealthy, with many servants, camels, and donkeys.
Genesis chapter 31 (NIV)
1 Jacob heard that Laban's sons were saying, "Jacob has taken everything our father owned and has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father." 2 And Jacob noticed that Laban's attitude toward him was not what it had been. 3 Then the Lord said to Jacob, "Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you." 4 So Jacob sent word to Rachel and Leah to come out to the fields where his flocks were. 5 He said to them, "I see that your father's attitude toward me is not what it was before, but the God of my father has been with me. 6 You know that I've worked for your father with all my strength, 7 yet your father has cheated me by changing my wages ten times. However, God has not allowed him to harm me. 8 If he said, 'The speckled ones will be your wages,' then all the flocks gave birth to speckled young; and if he said, 'The streaked ones will be your wages,' then all the flocks bore streaked young. 9 So God has taken away your father's livestock and has given them to me.
10 "In breeding season I once had a dream in which I looked up and saw that the male goats mating with the flock were streaked, speckled or spotted. 11 The angel of God said to me in the dream, 'Jacob.' I answered, 'Here I am.' 12 And he said, 'Look up and see that all the male goats mating with the flock are streaked, speckled or spotted, for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and where you made a vow to me. Now leave this land at once and go back to your native land.' "
14 Then Rachel and Leah replied, "Do we still have any share in the inheritance of our father's estate? 15 Does he not regard us as foreigners? Not only has he sold us, but he has used up what was paid for us. 16 Surely all the wealth that God took away from our father belongs to us and our children. So do whatever God has told you."
17 Then Jacob put his children and his wives on camels, 18 and he drove all his livestock ahead of him, along with all the goods he had accumulated in Paddan Aram, to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan. 19 When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father's household gods. 20 Moreover, Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean by not telling him he was running away. 21 So he fled with all he had, and crossing the River, he headed for the hill country of Gilead.
22 On the third day Laban was told that Jacob had fled. 23 Taking his relatives with him, he pursued Jacob for seven days and caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead. 24 Then God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and said to him, "Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad."
25 Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country of Gilead when Laban overtook him, and Laban and his relatives camped there too. 26 Then Laban said to Jacob, "What have you done? You've deceived me, and you've carried off my daughters like captives in war. 27 Why did you run off secretly and deceive me? Why didn't you tell me, so I could send you away with joy and singing to the music of tambourines and harps? 28 You didn't even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters good-by. You have done a foolish thing. 29 I have the power to harm you; but last night the God of your father said to me, 'Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.' 30 Now you have gone off because you longed to return to your father's house. But why did you steal my gods?"
31 Jacob answered Laban, "I was afraid, because I thought you would take your daughters away from me by force. 32 But if you find anyone who has your gods, he shall not live. In the presence of our relatives, see for yourself whether there is anything of yours here with me; and if so, take it." Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the gods. 33 So Laban went into Jacob's tent and into Leah's tent and into the tent of the two maidservants, but he found nothing. After he came out of Leah's tent, he entered Rachel's tent. 34 Now Rachel had taken the household gods and put them inside her camel's saddle and was sitting on them. Laban searched through everything in the tent but found nothing. 35 Rachel said to her father, "Don't be angry, my lord, that I cannot stand up in your presence; I'm having my period." So he searched but could not find the household gods.
Genesis chapter 31 (TEV)
36 Then 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? 37 Now 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. 38 I 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. 39 Whenever 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. 40 Many times I suffered from the heat during the day and from the cold at night. I was not able to sleep. 41 It 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. 42 If 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 judgment."
43 Laban 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, 44 I am ready to make an agreement with you. Let us make a pile of stones to remind us of our agreement." 45 So Jacob got a stone and set it up as a memorial. 46 He told his men to gather some rocks and pile them up. Then they ate a meal beside the pile of rocks. 48 Laban said to Jacob, "This pile of rocks will be a reminder for both of us." That is why that place was named Galeed. 49 Laban also said, "May the Lord keep an eye on us while we are separated from each other." So the place was also named Mizpah. 50 Laban went on, "If you mistreat my daughters or if you marry other women, even though I don't know about it, remember that God is watching us. 51 Here are the rocks that I have piled up between us, and here is the memorial stone. 52 Both 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. 53 The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor will judge between us."
Then, in the name of the God whom his father Isaac worshiped, Jacob solemnly vowed to keep this promise. 54 He 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. 55 Early the next morning Laban kissed his grandchildren and his daughters good-bye, and left to go back home.
Genesis chapter 32 (TEV)
3 Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the country of Edom. 4 He 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. 5 I own cattle, donkeys, sheep, goats, and slaves. I am sending you word, sir, in the hope of gaining your favor."
6 When 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 four hundred men with him." 7 Jacob was frightened and worried. He divided into two groups the people who were with him, and also his sheep, goats, cattle, and camels. 8 He thought, "If Esau comes and attacks the first group, the other may be able to escape."
9 Then 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. 10 I 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. 11 Save 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 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 After spending the night there, Jacob chose from his livestock as a present for his brother Esau: 200 female goats and 20 males, 200 female sheep and 20 males, 30 milk camels with their young, 40 cows and 10 bulls, 20 female donkeys and 10 males. 16 He 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." 17 He 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?' 18 you must answer, "They belong to your servant Jacob. He sends them as a present to his master Esau. Jacob himself is right behind us.' " 19 He 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. 20 You must say, "Yes, your servant Jacob is right behind us.' " Jacob was thinking, "I will win him over with the gifts, and when I meet him, perhaps he will forgive me." 21 He sent the gifts on ahead of him and spent that night in camp.
22 That same night Jacob got up, took his two wives, his two concubines, and his eleven children, and crossed the Jabbok River. 23 After he had sent them across, he also sent across all that he owned, 24 but he stayed behind, alone.
Genesis chapter 33 (NLT)
1 Then, in the distance, Jacob saw Esau coming with his four hundred men. 2 Jacob now arranged his family into a column, with his two concubines and their children at the front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last. 3 Then Jacob went on ahead. As he approached his brother, he bowed low seven times before him. 4 Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him affectionately and kissed him. Both of them were in tears.
5 Then Esau looked at the women and children and asked, "Who are these people with you?" "These are the children God has graciously given to me," Jacob replied. 6 Then the concubines came forward with their children and bowed low before him. 7 Next Leah came with her children, and they bowed down. Finally, Rachel and Joseph came and made their bows. 8 "And what were all the flocks and herds I met as I came?" Esau asked. Jacob replied, "They are gifts, my lord, to ensure your goodwill." 9 "Brother, I have plenty," Esau answered. "Keep what you have." 10 "No, please accept them," Jacob said, "for what a relief it is to see your friendly smile. ... 11 Please take my gifts, for God has been very generous to me. I have more than enough." Jacob continued to insist, so Esau finally accepted them. 12 "Well, let's be going," Esau said. "I will stay with you and lead the way." 13 But Jacob replied, "You can see, my lord, that some of the children are very young, and the flocks and herds have their young, too. If they are driven too hard, they may die. 14 So go on ahead of us. We will follow at our own pace and meet you at Seir." 15 "Well," Esau said, "at least let me leave some of my men to guide and protect you.""There is no reason for you to be so kind to me," Jacob insisted.
16 So Esau started back to Seir that same day. 17 Meanwhile, Jacob and his household traveled on to Succoth. There he built himself a house and made shelters for his flocks and herds. That is why the place was named Succoth.
Genesis chapter 34 (TEV)
1 One day Dinah, the daughter of Jacob and Leah, went to visit some of the Canaanite women. 2 When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, who was chief of that region, saw her, he took her and raped her. 3 But he found the young woman so attractive that he fell in love with her and tried to win her affection. 4 He told his father, "I want you to get Dinah for me as my wife." 5 Jacob learned that his daughter had been disgraced, but because his sons were out in the fields with his livestock, he did nothing until they came back.
6 Shechem's father Hamor went out to talk with Jacob, 7 just as Jacob's sons were coming in from the fields. When they heard about it, they were shocked and furious that Shechem had done such a thing and had insulted the people of Israel by raping Jacob's daughter. 8 Hamor said to him, "My son Shechem has fallen in love with your daughter; please let him marry her. 9 Let us make an agreement that there will be intermarriage between our people and yours. 10 Then you may stay here in our country with us; you may live anywhere you wish, trade freely, and own property." 11 Then Shechem said to Dinah's father and brothers, "Do me this favor, and I will give you whatever you want. 12 Tell me what presents you want, and set the payment for the bride as high as you wish; I will give you whatever you ask, if you will only let me marry her."
13 Because Shechem had disgraced their sister Dinah, Jacob's sons answered Shechem and his father Hamor in a deceitful way. 14 They said to him, "We cannot let our sister marry a man who is not circumcised; that would be a disgrace for us. 15 We can agree only on the condition that you become like us by circumcising all your males. 16 Then we will agree to intermarriage. We will settle among you and become one people with you. 17 But if you will not accept our terms and be circumcised, we will take her and leave."
18 These terms seemed fair to Hamor and his son Shechem, 19 and the young man lost no time in doing what was suggested, because he was in love with Jacob's daughter. He was the most important member of his family. 20 Hamor and his son Shechem went to the meeting place at the city gate and spoke to the people of the town: 21 "These men are friendly; let them live in the land with us and travel freely. The land is large enough for them also. Let us marry their daughters and give them ours in marriage. 22 But these men will agree to live among us and be one people with us only on the condition that we circumcise all our males, as they are circumcised. 23 Won't all their livestock and everything else they own be ours? So let us agree that they can live among us." 24 All the citizens of the city agreed with what Hamor and Shechem proposed, and all the males were circumcised.
25 Three days later, when the men were still sore from their circumcision, two of Jacob's sons, Simeon and Levi, the brothers of Dinah, took their swords, went into the city without arousing suspicion, and killed all the men, 26 including Hamor and his son Shechem. Then they took Dinah from Shechem's house and left. 27 After the slaughter Jacob's other sons looted the town to take revenge for their sister's disgrace. 28 They took the flocks, the cattle, the donkeys, and everything else in the city and in the fields. 29 They took everything of value, captured all the women and children, and carried off everything in the houses. 30 Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, "You have gotten me into trouble; now the Canaanites, the Perizzites, and everybody else in the land will hate me. I do not have many men; if they all band together against me and attack me, our whole family will be destroyed." 31 But they answered, "We cannot let our sister be treated like a common whore."
Genesis chapter 35 (NLT)
1 God said to Jacob, "Now move on to Bethel and settle there. Build an altar there to worship me - the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother, Esau." 2 So Jacob told everyone in his household, "Destroy your idols, wash yourselves, and put on clean clothing. 3 We are now going to Bethel, where I will build an altar to the God who answered my prayers when I was in distress. He has stayed with me wherever I have gone." 4 So they gave Jacob all their idols and their earrings, and he buried them beneath the tree near Shechem. 5 When they set out again, terror from God came over the people in all the towns of that area, and no one attacked them.
6 Finally, they arrived at Luz (now called Bethel) in Canaan. 8 Soon after this, Rebekah's old nurse, Deborah, died. She was buried beneath the oak tree in the valley below Bethel. Ever since, the tree has been called the "Oak of Weeping."
9 God appeared to Jacob once again when he arrived at Bethel after traveling from Paddan-aram. God blessed him 10 and said, "Your name is no longer Jacob; you will now be called Israel." 11 Then God said, "I am God Almighty. Multiply and fill the earth! Become a great nation, even many nations. Kings will be among your descendants! 12 And I will pass on to you the land I gave to Abraham and Isaac. Yes, I will give it to you and your descendants."
13 Then God went up from the place where he had spoken to Jacob. 14 Jacob set up a stone pillar to mark the place where God had spoken to him. He then poured wine over it as an offering to God and anointed the pillar with olive oil. 15 Jacob called the place Bethel - "house of God" - because God had spoken to him there.
Genesis chapter 35 (GWT)
16 Then they moved on from Bethel. When they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel went into labor and was having severe labor pains. 17 During one of her pains, the midwife said to her, "Don't be afraid! You're having another son!" 18 Rachel was dying. As she took her last breath, she named her son Benoni [Son of My Sorrow], but his father named him Benjamin [Son of My Right Hand]. 19 Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). 20 Then Jacob set up a stone as a marker for her grave. The same marker is at Rachel's grave today.
Genesis chapter 35 (NLT)
22 These are the names of the twelve sons of Jacob: 23 The sons of Leah were Reuben (Jacob's oldest son), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. 24 The sons of Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin. 25 The sons of Bilhah, Rachel's servant, were Dan and Naphtali. 26 The sons of Zilpah, Leah's servant, were Gad and Asher. These were the sons born to Jacob at Paddan-aram.
27 So Jacob came home to his father Isaac in Mamre, which is near Kiriath-arba (now called Hebron), where Abraham had also lived. 28 Isaac lived for 180 years, 29 and he died at a ripe old age, joining his ancestors in death. Then his sons, Esau and Jacob, buried him.
Hebrews chapter 10 (TEV)
36 You need to be patient, in order to do the will of God and receive what he promises. 37 For, as the scripture says," Just a little while longer, and he who is coming will come; he will not delay. 38 My righteous people, however, will believe and live; but if any of them turns back, I will not be pleased with them." 39 We are not people who turn back and are lost. Instead, we have faith and are saved.
Hebrews chapter 11 (TEV)
1 To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see. 2 It was by their faith that people of ancient times won God's approval. 3 It is by faith that we understand that the universe was created by God's word, so that what can be seen was made out of what cannot be seen.
8 It was faith that made Abraham obey when God called him to go out to a country which God had promised to give him. He left his own country without knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he lived as a foreigner in the country that God had promised him. He lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who received the same promise from God. 10 For Abraham was waiting for the city which God has designed and built, the city with permanent foundations.
13 It was in faith that all these persons died. They did not receive the things God had promised, but from a long way off they saw them and welcomed them, and admitted openly that they were foreigners and refugees on earth. 14 Those who say such things make it clear that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 They did not keep thinking about the country they had left; if they had, they would have had the chance to return. 16 Instead, it was a better country they longed for, the heavenly country. And so God is not ashamed for them to call him their God, because he has prepared a city for them.
John chapter 14 (TEV)
1 "Do not be worried and upset," ... "Believe in God and believe also in me. 2 There are many rooms in my Father's house, and I am going to prepare a place for you. I would not tell you this if it were not so. 3 And after I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to myself, so that you will be where I am."
This is the last file in this section. The next section is entitled "The famous Bible story of Joseph", and the first file in it is entitled "The Bible Story Of The Suffering Of Jacob's Son Joseph And His Rise To Fame In Egypt".
The main Bible pages on this site:
|Bible Part 1: Bible Quotations, The Holy Spirit, People And Their Stories|
|Bible Part 2: The Lives and Suffering of the Ancient Israelites|
|Bible Part 3: The Bible, Articles About Alleged Inaccuracies in it, And Stories of People who Became Christians.|
|If you have found parts of the Old Testament or the Book of Revelation offensive, please read An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.|
The selections of Bible quotations have been put together by Diana Holbourn.
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