Click here to listen to an audio version of the Daily Bible Reading for today.
Jacob Flees from Laban
31 But Jacob soon learned that Labanâ€™s sons were grumbling about him. â€œJacob has robbed our father of everything!â€ they said. â€œHe has gained all his wealth at our fatherâ€™s expense.â€ 2 And Jacob began to notice a change in Labanâ€™s attitude toward him.
3 Then the Lord said to Jacob, â€œReturn to the land of your father and grandfather and to your relatives there, and I will be with you.â€
4 So Jacob called Rachel and Leah out to the field where he was watching his flock. 5 He said to them, â€œI have noticed that your fatherâ€™s attitude toward me has changed. 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 cheated me, changing my wages ten times. But God has not allowed him to do me any harm. 8 For if he said, â€˜The speckled animals will be your wages,â€™ the whole flock began to produce speckled young. And when he changed his mind and said, â€˜The striped animals will be your wages,â€™ then the whole flock produced striped young. 9 In this way, God has taken your fatherâ€™s animals and given them to me.
10 â€œOne time during the mating season, I had a dream and saw that the male goats mating with the females were streaked, speckled, and spotted. 11 Then in my dream, the angel of God said to me, â€˜Jacob!â€™ And I replied, â€˜Yes, here I am.â€™
12 â€œThe angel said, â€˜Look up, and you will see that only the streaked, speckled, and spotted males are mating with the females of your flock. For I have seen how Laban has treated you. 13 I am the God who appeared to you at Bethel, the place where you anointed the pillar of stone and made your vow to me. Now get ready and leave this country and return to the land of your birth.â€™â€
14 Rachel and Leah responded, â€œThatâ€™s fine with us! We wonâ€™t inherit any of our fatherâ€™s wealth anyway. 15 He has reduced our rights to those of foreign women. And after he sold us, he wasted the money you paid him for us. 16 All the wealth God has given you from our father legally belongs to us and our children. So go ahead and do whatever God has told you.â€
17 So Jacob put his wives and children on camels, 18 and he drove all his livestock in front of him. He packed all the belongings he had acquired in Paddan-aram and set out for 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 fatherâ€™s household idols and took them with her. 20 Jacob outwitted Laban the Aramean, for they set out secretly and never told Laban they were leaving. 21 So Jacob took all his possessions with him and crossed the Euphrates River, heading for the hill country of Gilead.
Laban Pursues Jacob
22 Three days later, Laban was told that Jacob had fled. 23 So he gathered a group of his relatives and set out in hot pursuit. He caught up with Jacob seven days later in the hill country of Gilead. 24 But the previous night God had appeared to Laban the Aramean in a dream and told him, â€œIâ€™m warning youâ€”leave Jacob alone!â€
25 Laban caught up with Jacob as he was camped in the hill country of Gilead, and he set up his camp not far from Jacobâ€™s. 26 â€œWhat do you mean by deceiving me like this?â€ Laban demanded. â€œHow dare you drag my daughters away like prisoners of war? 27 Why did you slip away secretly? Why did you deceive me? And why didnâ€™t you say you wanted to leave? I would have given you a farewell feast, with singing and music, accompanied by tambourines and harps. 28 Why didnâ€™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 warned me, â€˜Leave Jacob alone!â€™ 30 I can understand your feeling that you must go, and your intense longing for your fatherâ€™s home. But why have you stolen my gods?â€
31 â€œI rushed away because I was afraid,â€ Jacob answered. â€œI thought you would take your daughters from me by force. 32 But as for your gods, see if you can find them, and let the person who has taken them die! And if you find anything else that belongs to you, identify it before all these relatives of ours, and I will give it back!â€ But Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the household idols.
33 Laban went first into Jacobâ€™s tent to search there, then into Leahâ€™s, and then the tents of the two servant wivesâ€”but he found nothing. Finally, he went into Rachelâ€™s tent. 34 But Rachel had taken the household idols and hidden them in her camel saddle, and now she was sitting on them. When Laban had thoroughly searched her tent without finding them, 35 she said to her father, â€œPlease, sir, forgive me if I donâ€™t get up for you. Iâ€™m having my monthly period.â€ So Laban continued his search, but he could not find the household idols.
36 Then Jacob became very angry, and he challenged Laban. â€œWhatâ€™s my crime?â€ he demanded. â€œWhat have I done wrong to make you chase after me as though I were a criminal? 37 You have rummaged through everything I own. Now show me what you found that belongs to you! Set it out here in front of us, before our relatives, for all to see. Let them judge between us!
38 â€œFor twenty years I have been with you, caring for your flocks. In all that time your sheep and goats never miscarried. In all those years I never used a single ram of yours for food. 39 If any were attacked and killed by wild animals, I never showed you the carcass and asked you to reduce the count of your flock. No, I took the loss myself! You made me pay for every stolen animal, whether it was taken in broad daylight or in the dark of night.
40 â€œI worked for you through the scorching heat of the day and through cold and sleepless nights. 41 Yes, for twenty years I slaved in your house! I worked for fourteen years earning your two daughters, and then six more years for your flock. And you changed my wages ten times! 42 In fact, if the God of my father had not been on my sideâ€”the God of Abraham and the fearsome God of Isaacâ€”you would have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen your abuse and my hard work. That is why he appeared to you last night and rebuked you!â€
Jacobâ€™s Treaty with Laban
43 Then Laban replied to Jacob, â€œThese women are my daughters, these children are my grandchildren, and these flocks are my flocksâ€”in fact, everything you see is mine. But what can I do now about my daughters and their children? 44 So come, letâ€™s make a covenant, you and I, and it will be a witness to our commitment.â€
45 So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a monument. 46 Then he told his family members, â€œGather some stones.â€ So they gathered stones and piled them in a heap. Then Jacob and Laban sat down beside the pile of stones to eat a covenant meal. 47 To commemorate the event, Laban called the place Jegar-sahadutha (which means â€œwitness pileâ€ in Aramaic), and Jacob called it Galeed (which means â€œwitness pileâ€ in Hebrew).
48 Then Laban declared, â€œThis pile of stones will stand as a witness to remind us of the covenant we have made today.â€ This explains why it was called Galeedâ€”â€œWitness Pile.â€ 49 But it was also called Mizpah (which means â€œwatchtowerâ€), for Laban said, â€œMay the Lord keep watch between us to make sure that we keep this covenant when we are out of each otherâ€™s sight. 50 If you mistreat my daughters or if you marry other wives, God will see it even if no one else does. He is a witness to this covenant between us.
51 â€œSee this pile of stones,â€ Laban continued, â€œand see this monument I have set between us. 52 They stand between us as witnesses of our vows. I will never pass this pile of stones to harm you, and you must never pass these stones or this monument to harm me. 53 I call on the God of our ancestorsâ€”the God of your grandfather Abraham and the God of my grandfather Nahorâ€”to serve as a judge between us.â€
So Jacob took an oath before the fearsome God of his father, Isaac, to respect the boundary line. 54 Then Jacob offered a sacrifice to God there on the mountain and invited everyone to a covenant feast. After they had eaten, they spent the night on the mountain.
55 Laban got up early the next morning, and he kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then he left and returned home.
32 As Jacob started on his way again, angels of God came to meet him. 2 When Jacob saw them, he exclaimed, â€œThis is Godâ€™s camp!â€ So he named the place Mahanaim.
Jacob Sends Gifts to Esau
3 Then Jacob sent messengers ahead to his brother, Esau, who was living in the region of Seir in the land of Edom. 4 He told them, â€œGive this message to my master Esau: â€˜Humble greetings from your servant Jacob. Until now I have been living with Uncle Laban, 5 and now I own cattle, donkeys, flocks of sheep and goats, and many servants, both men and women. I have sent these messengers to inform my lord of my coming, hoping that you will be friendly to me.â€™â€
6 After delivering the message, the messengers returned to Jacob and reported, â€œWe met your brother, Esau, and he is already on his way to meet youâ€”with an army of 400 men!â€ 7 Jacob was terrified at the news. He divided his household, along with the flocks and herds and camels, into two groups. 8 He thought, â€œIf Esau meets one group and attacks it, perhaps the other group can escape.â€
9 Then Jacob prayed, â€œO God of my grandfather Abraham, and God of my father, Isaacâ€”O Lord, you told me, â€˜Return to your own land and to your relatives.â€™ And you promised me, â€˜I will treat you kindly.â€™ 10 I am not worthy of all the unfailing love and faithfulness you have shown to me, your servant. When I left home and crossed the Jordan River, I owned nothing except a walking stick. Now my household fills two large camps! 11 O Lord, please rescue me from the hand of my brother, Esau. I am afraid that he is coming to attack me, along with my wives and children. 12 But you promised me, â€˜I will surely treat you kindly, and I will multiply your descendants until they become as numerous as the sands along the seashoreâ€”too many to count.â€™â€
13 Jacob stayed where he was for the night. Then he selected these gifts from his possessions to present to his brother, Esau: 14 200 female goats, 20 male goats, 200 ewes, 20 rams, 15 30 female camels with their young, 40 cows, 10 bulls, 20 female donkeys, and 10 male donkeys. 16 He divided these animals into herds and assigned each to different servants. Then he told his servants, â€œGo ahead of me with the animals, but keep some distance between the herds.â€
17 He gave these instructions to the men leading the first group: â€œWhen my brother, Esau, meets you, he will ask, â€˜Whose servants are you? Where are you going? Who owns these animals?â€™ 18 You must reply, â€˜They belong to your servant Jacob, but they are a gift for his master Esau. Look, he is coming right behind us.â€™â€
19 Jacob gave the same instructions to the second and third herdsmen and to all who followed behind the herds: â€œYou must say the same thing to Esau when you meet him. 20 And be sure to say, â€˜Look, your servant Jacob is right behind us.â€™â€
Jacob thought, â€œI will try to appease him by sending gifts ahead of me. When I see him in person, perhaps he will be friendly to me.â€ 21 So the gifts were sent on ahead, while Jacob himself spent that night in the camp.
Jacob Wrestles with God
22 During the night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two servant wives, and his eleven sons and crossed the Jabbok River with them. 23 After taking them to the other side, he sent over all his possessions.
24 This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. 25 When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacobâ€™s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. 26 Then the man said, â€œLet me go, for the dawn is breaking!â€
But Jacob said, â€œI will not let you go unless you bless me.â€
27 â€œWhat is your name?â€ the man asked.
He replied, â€œJacob.â€
28 â€œYour name will no longer be Jacob,â€ the man told him. â€œFrom now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.â€
29 â€œPlease tell me your name,â€ Jacob said.
â€œWhy do you want to know my name?â€ the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there.
30 Jacob named the place Peniel (which means â€œface of Godâ€), for he said, â€œI have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.â€ 31 The sun was rising as Jacob left Peniel, and he was limping because of the injury to his hip. 32 (Even today the people of Israel donâ€™t eat the tendon near the hip socket because of what happened that night when the man strained the tendon of Jacobâ€™s hip.)
Jacob and Esau Make Peace
33 Then Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming with his 400 men. So he divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and his two servant wives. 2 He put the servant wives 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 to the ground seven times before him. 4 Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. And they both wept.
5 Then Esau looked at the women and children and asked, â€œWho are these people with you?â€
â€œThese are the children God has graciously given to me, your servant,â€ Jacob replied. 6 Then the servant wives came forward with their children and bowed before him. 7 Next came Leah with her children, and they bowed before him. Finally, Joseph and Rachel came forward and bowed before him.
8 â€œAnd what were all the flocks and herds I met as I came?â€ Esau asked.
Jacob replied, â€œThey are a gift, my lord, to ensure your friendship.â€
9 â€œMy brother, I have plenty,â€ Esau answered. â€œKeep what you have for yourself.â€
10 But Jacob insisted, â€œNo, if I have found favor with you, please accept this gift from me. And what a relief to see your friendly smile. It is like seeing the face of God! 11 Please take this gift I have brought you, for God has been very gracious to me. I have more than enough.â€ And because Jacob insisted, Esau finally accepted the gift.
12 â€œWell,â€ Esau said, â€œletâ€™s be going. I will lead the way.â€
13 But Jacob replied, â€œYou 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, even for one day, all the animals could die. 14 Please, my lord, go ahead of your servant. We will follow slowly, at a pace that is comfortable for the livestock and the children. I will meet you at Seir.â€
15 â€œAll right,â€ Esau said, â€œbut at least let me assign some of my men to guide and protect you.â€
Jacob responded, â€œThatâ€™s not necessary. Itâ€™s enough that youâ€™ve received me warmly, my lord!â€
16 So Esau turned around and started back to Seir that same day. 17 Jacob, on the other hand, traveled on to Succoth. There he built himself a house and made shelters for his livestock. That is why the place was named Succoth (which means â€œsheltersâ€).
18 Later, having traveled all the way from Paddan-aram, Jacob arrived safely at the town of Shechem, in the land of Canaan. There he set up camp outside the town. 19 Jacob bought the plot of land where he camped from the family of Hamor, the father of Shechem, for 100 pieces of silver. 20 And there he built an altar and named it El-Elohe-Israel.
Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man
9 Jesus climbed into a boat and went back across the lake to his own town. 2 Some people brought to him a paralyzed man on a mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, â€œBe encouraged, my child! Your sins are forgiven.â€
3 But some of the teachers of religious law said to themselves, â€œThatâ€™s blasphemy! Does he think heâ€™s God?â€
4 Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, â€œWhy do you have such evil thoughts in your hearts? 5 Is it easier to say â€˜Your sins are forgiven,â€™ or â€˜Stand up and walkâ€™? 6 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.â€ Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, â€œStand up, pick up your mat, and go home!â€
7 And the man jumped up and went home! 8 Fear swept through the crowd as they saw this happen. And they praised God for sending a man with such great authority.
Jesus Calls Matthew
9 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collectorâ€™s booth. â€œFollow me and be my disciple,â€ Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.
10 Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. 11 But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, â€œWhy does your teacher eat with such scum?â€
12 When Jesus heard this, he said, â€œHealthy people donâ€™t need a doctorâ€”sick people do.â€ 13 Then he added, â€œNow go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: â€˜I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.â€™ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.â€
A Discussion about Fasting
14 One day the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus and asked him, â€œWhy donâ€™t your disciples fast like we do and the Pharisees do?â€
15 Jesus replied, â€œDo wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.
16 â€œBesides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before.
17 â€œAnd no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.â€
Jesus Heals in Response to Faith
18 As Jesus was saying this, the leader of a synagogue came and knelt before him. â€œMy daughter has just died,â€ he said, â€œbut you can bring her back to life again if you just come and lay your hand on her.â€
19 So Jesus and his disciples got up and went with him. 20 Just then a woman who had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding came up behind him. She touched the fringe of his robe, 21 for she thought, â€œIf I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.â€
22 Jesus turned around, and when he saw her he said, â€œDaughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.â€ And the woman was healed at that moment.
23 When Jesus arrived at the officialâ€™s home, he saw the noisy crowd and heard the funeral music. 24 â€œGet out!â€ he told them. â€œThe girl isnâ€™t dead; sheâ€™s only asleep.â€ But the crowd laughed at him. 25 After the crowd was put outside, however, Jesus went in and took the girl by the hand, and she stood up! 26 The report of this miracle swept through the entire countryside.
Jesus Heals the Blind
27 After Jesus left the girlâ€™s home, two blind men followed along behind him, shouting, â€œSon of David, have mercy on us!â€
28 They went right into the house where he was staying, and Jesus asked them, â€œDo you believe I can make you see?â€
â€œYes, Lord,â€ they told him, â€œwe do.â€
29 Then he touched their eyes and said, â€œBecause of your faith, it will happen.â€ 30 Then their eyes were opened, and they could see! Jesus sternly warned them, â€œDonâ€™t tell anyone about this.â€ 31 But instead, they went out and spread his fame all over the region.
32 When they left, a demon-possessed man who couldnâ€™t speak was brought to Jesus. 33 So Jesus cast out the demon, and then the man began to speak. The crowds were amazed. â€œNothing like this has ever happened in Israel!â€ they exclaimed.
34 But the Pharisees said, â€œHe can cast out demons because he is empowered by the prince of demons.â€
The Need for Workers
35 Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 He said to his disciples, â€œThe harvest is great, but the workers are few. 38 So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.â€