1 But Jacob soon learned that Laban's sons were beginning to grumble. "Jacob has robbed our father!" they said. "All his wealth has been gained at our father's expense."
2 And Jacob began to notice a considerable cooling in Laban's attitude toward him.
3 Then the LORD said to Jacob, "Return to the land of your father and grandfather and to your relatives there, and I will be with you."
4 Jacob called Rachel and Leah out to the field where he was watching the flocks,
5 so he could talk things over with them. "Your father has turned against me and is not treating me like he used to," he told them. "But the God of my father has been with me.
6 You know how hard I have worked for your father,
7 but he has tricked me, breaking his wage agreement with me again and again. But God has not allowed him to do me any harm.
8 For if he said the speckled animals were mine, the whole flock began to produce speckled lambs. And when he changed his mind and said I could have the streaked ones, then all the lambs were born streaked.
9 In this way, God has made me wealthy at your father's expense.
10 During the mating season, I had a dream and saw that the male goats mating with the flock were streaked, speckled, and spotted.
11 Then in my dream, the angel of God said to me, `Jacob!' And I replied, `Yes, I'm listening!'
12 The angel said, `Look, and you will see that only the streaked, speckled, and spotted males are mating with the females of your flock. For I have seen all that Laban has done to you.
13 I am the God you met at Bethel, the place where you anointed the pillar of stone and made a vow to serve me. Now leave this country and return to the land you came from.' "
14 Rachel and Leah said, "That's fine with us! There's nothing for us here--none of our father's wealth will come to us anyway.
15 He has reduced our rights to those of foreign women. He sold us, and what he received for us has disappeared.
16 The riches God has given you from our father are legally ours and our children's to begin with. So go ahead and do whatever God has told you."
17 So Jacob put his wives and children on camels.
18 He drove the flocks in front of him--all the livestock he had acquired at Paddan-aram--and set out on his journey to the land of Canaan, where his father, Isaac, lived.
19 At the time they left, Laban was some distance away, shearing his sheep. Rachel stole her father's household gods and took them with her.
20 They set out secretly and never told Laban they were leaving.
21 Jacob took all his possessions with him and crossed the Euphrates River, heading for the territory of Gilead.
22 Laban didn't learn of their flight for three days.
23 But when he did, he gathered a group of his relatives and set out in hot pursuit. He caught up with them seven days later in the hill country of Gilead.
24 But the previous night God had appeared to Laban in a dream. "Be careful about what you say to Jacob!" he was told.
25 So when Laban caught up with Jacob as he was camped in the hill country of Gilead, he set up his camp not far from Jacob's.
26 "What do you mean by sneaking off like this?" Laban demanded. "Are my daughters prisoners, the plunder of war, that you have stolen them away like this?
27 Why did you slip away secretly? I would have given you a farewell party, with joyful singing accompanied by tambourines and harps.
28 Why didn't you let me kiss my daughters and grandchildren and tell them good-bye? You have acted very foolishly!
29 I could destroy you, but the God of your father appeared to me last night and told me, `Be careful about what you say to Jacob!'
30 I know you feel you must go, and you long intensely for your childhood home, but why have you stolen my household gods?"
31 "I rushed away because I was afraid," Jacob answered. "I said to myself, `He'll take his daughters from me by force.'