Some Notes:

The English language has no gender-neutral pronouns. So when the words man, he, him, etc are used, they mean "Generic human being" unless the context specifically says otherwise. Only women get words devoted just to them.

Thou, Thee, and Thine are singular pronouns. You and Your are plural in the 16th Century English the King James Bible was translated into. This actually makes the message clearer than our habit of using "you" as both a singular and a plural.

In many scriptures I have changed the King James (English) spelling to American spelling (labour=labor, for example. I understand those in England still spell it with a u). Also, in some scriptures I have changed the "-eth" to a simple "s." Spelling standards weren't set in English until the mid 1800's, well after the translating of the KJV. So I see no problem with making these simple changes that don't affect the meaning of the scripture but make it easier for our modern mouths and ears to deal with.

Genesis 31- Jacob goes home.

1 And he heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, “Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s; and of that which was our father’s has he gotten all this glory.”

Laban’s boys are beginning to resent Jacob’s prosperity. Since the spotted animals are all Jacob’s, and Jacob is making sure the strong animals have the spotted babies (and lots of them), Jacob is getting richer and Laban is getting poorer.

2 And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before.

3 And the LORD said unto Jacob, “Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.”

God gives permission for Jacob to go back home.

4 And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock,

5 And said unto them, “I see your father’s countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me.

“Your daddy don’t like me so much anymore.”

6 “And ye know that with all my power I have served your father.

Jacob had been a hard, responsible worker.

7 “And your father has deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me.

Laban had continually tried to take advantage of Jacob, first by giving him the wrong wife, then removing all the spotted animals from the herd and hiding them so there wouldn’t be any more spotted born in his herd. Evidently he changed Jacob’s wages at other times than what is mentioned in the Bible.

8 “If he said thus, ‘The speckled shall be thy wages;’ then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, ‘The ring-streaked shall be thy hire;’ then bare all the cattle ring-streaked.

9 “Thus God has taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me.

God does control genetics and used them for Jacob’s good.

10 “And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ring-streaked, speckled, and grizzled.

“Cattle” is a generic term for large livestock and would cover cows, sheep, goats, possibly even donkeys and camels.

11 “And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, ‘Jacob:’ And I said, ‘Here am I.’

12 “And He said, ‘Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ring-streaked, speckled, and grizzled: for I have seen all that Laban does unto thee.’

It sounds like part of Jacob’s knowledge of how to get strong, healthy, spotted animals was due to divine revelation.

13 “’I am the God of Bethel (the city where Jacob saw the ladder out of Heaven), where thou anointed the pillar, and where thou vowed a vow unto Me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred.’”

14 And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, “Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father’s house?

15 “Are we not counted of him strangers? For he has sold us, and has quite devoured also our money.

It doesn’t sound like Laban had a good relationship with his daughters. It sounds like they resented- at least a bit- being “sold” to Jacob.

It also sounds like they didn’t approve of the way he managed his money.

16 “For all the riches which God has taken from our father, that is ours, and our children’s: now then, whatever God has said unto thee, do.”

They were willing to leave.

17 Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels;

18 And he carried away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten in Padanaram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan.

19 And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father’s.

These idols were certainly used in idolatrous worship but were also probably the images that were passed on to whoever was the head of the family clan. Rachael’s theft was possibly because she thought her hubby deserved the headship.

20 And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled.

Jacob obviously fears Laban. He thinks it would be healthier to sneak away than ask permission to go.

21 So he fled with all that he had; and he rose up, and passed over the river, and set his face toward the mount Gilead.

Mt Gilead was near Sechem, where Jacob eventually settled.

22 And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob was fled.

23 And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days’ journey; and they overtook him in the mount Gilead.

Laban gathers an army and chases after Jacob.

24 And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said unto him, “Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.”

God warns Laban (who is in hot pursuit of Jacob intent on doing him harm) to not threaten Jacob or to try to sweet talk him. God wanted Jacob to go home.

25 Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mount: and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mount of Gilead.

26 And Laban said to Jacob, “What have thou done, that thou have stolen away unawares to me, and carried away my daughters, as captives taken with the sword?

“Why did you run away?”

Now all of a sudden he cares about his daughters? They don’t sound like they think he cares a few verses ago.

27 “Wherefore did thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and did not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with [tambourines], and with harp?

“I’d have given you a farewell party if you had just told me.”

28 “And have not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? Thou have now done foolishly in so doing.

“I didn’t even (sniff, sniff) get tell my daughters and grandkids goodbye.”

29 “It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt: but the God of your father spake unto me last night, saying, ‘Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.’

30 And now, though thou would need be gone, because thou sore long after thy father’s house, yet why have thou stolen my gods?”

31 And Jacob answered and said to Laban, “Because I was afraid: for I said, Peradventure thou would take by force thy daughters from me.

“I snuck away because I knew you wouldn’t let me take my family with me.”

Jacob knew very well Laban would have taken them all back as prisoners or even killed Jacob.

32 “With whomever thou find thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee.” For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them.

33 And Laban went into Jacob’s tent, and into Leah’s tent, and into the two maidservants’ tents; but he found them not. Then went he out of Leah’s tent, and entered into Rachel’s tent.

34 Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel’s furniture, and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but found them not.

35 And she said to her father, “Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the custom of women is upon me.” And he searched, but found not the images.

She told her father she was on her period and so couldn’t get up. This kept the images hidden.

36 And Jacob was wroth, and chode with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, “What is my trespass? What is my sin, that thou have so hotly pursued after me?

Now Jacob is mad.

37 “Whereas thou hast searched all my stuff, what have thou found of all thy household stuff? Set it here before my brethren and thy brethren, that they may judge between us both.

38 “This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten.

The lack of miscarriages is a sign of good animal husbandry.

39 “That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand did thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night.

40 “Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes.

Jacob has suffered a great deal in caring for Laban’s animals.

41 “Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou have changed my wages ten times.

Other than switching women on him, we don’t know what the changes were. Verse eight sounds like Laban kept changing which color of animal Jacob got.

42 “Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou would have sent me away now empty. God has seen mine affliction and the labor of my hands, and rebuked thee last night.”

Interesting that Jacob talks about his father and grandfather’s God, but also throws in the “fear of Isaac.” It appears that the reputation of that army Abraham started is still known even this far away from Canaan.

43 And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, “These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and these cattle are my cattle, and all that thou see is mine: and what can I do this day unto these my daughters, or unto their children which they have born?

Sadly many parents don’t acknowledge their children as adults. The Bible says that when a man and a woman marry, they form a new family. They are no longer responsible to their parents, but directly to God.

Laban was claiming ownership of the children and claiming that his daughters were more his than Jacob’s.

This is not the way the Bible says it should be. Wives are the responsibility of their hubbies and children are the responsibility of their parents (though grandparents do have a responsibility to their grandchildren, it is in support of the parents).

44 “Now then come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee.”

Laban purposes a truce. Like God left him a choice.

45 And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar.

46 And Jacob said unto his brethren, “Gather stones;” and they took stones, and made an heap: and they did eat there upon the heap.

47 And Laban called it Jegarsahadutha: but Jacob called it Galeed.

Jegarsahadutha means “Heap of Witness” in Armenian. Galeed means the same thing in Hebrew.

48 And Laban said, “This heap is a witness between me and thee this day.” Therefore was the name of it called Galeed;

49 And Mizpah; for he said, “The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.

Mizpah means “watch.”

50 “If thou shall afflict my daughters, or if thou shall take other wives beside my daughters, no man is with us; see, God is witness between me and thee.”

Laban first makes sure Jacob understands how he wants his daughters treated, though by this time he would know if Jacob was an abuser or not.

51 And Laban said to Jacob, “Behold this heap, and behold this pillar, which I have cast between me and thee;

52 “This heap be witness, and this pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shall not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm.

53 “The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.” And Jacob swore by the fear of his father Isaac.

Though Laban pursued Jacob with intent to harm, he appears to be afraid of him now. Maybe it was daddy’s trained warriors he was afraid of.

Laban also mentions the God of his father and grandfather and says He is also the God of Abraham. This debunks the idea that Abraham’s father was a pagan and Abraham the first of the believers in one God.

54 Then Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount, and called his brethren to eat bread: and they did eat bread, and stayed all night in the mount.

Eating is often a big part of ancient rituals. Well, modern ones too, if truth be told.

The brethren mentioned here would have been Jacob’s brothers-in-law.

55 And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them: and Laban departed, and returned unto his place.