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Genesis 29

29
Jacob Arrives at Paddan-Aram
1Then Jacob hurried on, finally arriving in the land of the east. 2He saw a well in the distance. Three flocks of sheep and goats lay in an open field beside it, waiting to be watered. But a heavy stone covered the mouth of the well.
3It was the custom there to wait for all the flocks to arrive before removing the stone and watering the animals. Afterward the stone would be placed back over the mouth of the well. 4Jacob went over to the shepherds and asked, “Where are you from, my friends?”
“We are from Haran,” they answered.
5“Do you know a man there named Laban, the grandson of Nahor?” he asked.
“Yes, we do,” they replied.
6“Is he doing well?” Jacob asked.
“Yes, he’s well,” they answered. “Look, here comes his daughter Rachel with the flock now.”
7Jacob said, “Look, it’s still broad daylight—too early to round up the animals. Why don’t you water the sheep and goats so they can get back out to pasture?”
8“We can’t water the animals until all the flocks have arrived,” they replied. “Then the shepherds move the stone from the mouth of the well, and we water all the sheep and goats.”
9Jacob was still talking with them when Rachel arrived with her father’s flock, for she was a shepherd. 10And because Rachel was his cousin—the daughter of Laban, his mother’s brother—and because the sheep and goats belonged to his uncle Laban, Jacob went over to the well and moved the stone from its mouth and watered his uncle’s flock. 11Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and he wept aloud. 12He explained to Rachel that he was her cousin on her father’s side—the son of her aunt Rebekah. So Rachel quickly ran and told her father, Laban.
13As soon as Laban heard that his nephew Jacob had arrived, he ran out to meet him. He embraced and kissed him and brought him home. When Jacob had told him his story, 14Laban exclaimed, “You really are my own flesh and blood!”
Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel
After Jacob had stayed with Laban for about a month, 15Laban said to him, “You shouldn’t work for me without pay just because we are relatives. Tell me how much your wages should be.”
16Now Laban had two daughters. The older daughter was named Leah, and the younger one was Rachel. 17There was no sparkle in Leah’s eyes,#29:17 Or Leah had dull eyes, or Leah had soft eyes. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain. but Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face. 18Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he told her father, “I’ll work for you for seven years if you’ll give me Rachel, your younger daughter, as my wife.”
19“Agreed!” Laban replied. “I’d rather give her to you than to anyone else. Stay and work with me.” 20So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days.
21Finally, the time came for him to marry her. “I have fulfilled my agreement,” Jacob said to Laban. “Now give me my wife so I can sleep with her.”
22So Laban invited everyone in the neighborhood and prepared a wedding feast. 23But that night, when it was dark, Laban took Leah to Jacob, and he slept with her. 24(Laban had given Leah a servant, Zilpah, to be her maid.)
25But when Jacob woke up in the morning—it was Leah! “What have you done to me?” Jacob raged at Laban. “I worked seven years for Rachel! Why have you tricked me?”
26“It’s not our custom here to marry off a younger daughter ahead of the firstborn,” Laban replied. 27“But wait until the bridal week is over; then we’ll give you Rachel, too—provided you promise to work another seven years for me.”
28So Jacob agreed to work seven more years. A week after Jacob had married Leah, Laban gave him Rachel, too. 29(Laban gave Rachel a servant, Bilhah, to be her maid.) 30So Jacob slept with Rachel, too, and he loved her much more than Leah. He then stayed and worked for Laban the additional seven years.
Jacob’s Many Children
31When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, he enabled her to have children, but Rachel could not conceive. 32So Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben,#29:32 Reuben means “Look, a son!” It also sounds like the Hebrew for “He has seen my misery.” for she said, “The Lord has noticed my misery, and now my husband will love me.”
33She soon became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She named him Simeon,#29:33 Simeon probably means “one who hears.” for she said, “The Lord heard that I was unloved and has given me another son.”
34Then she became pregnant a third time and gave birth to another son. He was named Levi,#29:34 Levi sounds like a Hebrew term that means “being attached” or “feeling affection for.” for she said, “Surely this time my husband will feel affection for me, since I have given him three sons!”
35Once again Leah became pregnant and gave birth to another son. She named him Judah,#29:35 Judah is related to the Hebrew term for “praise.” for she said, “Now I will praise the Lord!” And then she stopped having children.
29
Chapter 29
Jacob and Laban
1Jacob continued on his journey. He came to the land where the people from the east live. 2He saw a well in a field. Three groups of sheep lay near it. Shepherds took water from the well to give to their sheep. There was a large stone that covered the top of the well. 3The shepherds waited until all the sheep were there together. Then they removed the stone from the top of the well. They gave their sheep water to drink, and then they put the stone back on the top of the well.
4Jacob asked the shepherds, ‘My brothers, where are you from?’ The shepherds replied, ‘We are from Haran.’ 5Jacob said, ‘Do you know Laban? He is Nahor's grandson.’ The shepherds replied, ‘Yes, we know him.’ 6Jacob asked them, ‘Is he in good health?’ They replied, ‘Yes, he is. Look. Here comes his daughter now, with their sheep. Her name is Rachel.’ 7Jacob said to them, ‘The sun is still high in the sky. It is not yet the right time to bring all the sheep together. So give them some water now. Then they can go back to the fields and eat more grass.’ 8The shepherds said, ‘We cannot do that. We have to wait until all the sheep are here together. Then we can remove the big stone from the well and we can give water to the sheep.’
9When Jacob was speaking to the shepherds, Rachel arrived there. She brought her father's sheep with her. She was taking care of them.
10Jacob saw Rachel. She was the daughter of his uncle Laban. Jacob saw that she had Laban's sheep with her. So Jacob went to the well and he removed the big stone. Then he gave water to Laban's sheep. 11Then Jacob kissed Rachel. He began to weep loudly. #29:11 Jacob cried because he was happy to find his relatives.
12Jacob told Rachel that he was a relative of her father, Laban. He told her that he was Rebekah's son. So Rachel ran home to tell her father.
13When Laban heard what Rachel said, he went quickly to meet Jacob, his sister's son. He put his arms round Jacob and he kissed him. Laban brought Jacob to his home. Jacob told Laban all his news. 14Then Laban said, ‘Yes, you really are my own relative.’ So Jacob stayed with Laban for a month.
15Then Laban said to Jacob, ‘You should not work for me for nothing because you are my relative. Tell me what I should pay you.’ 16Laban had two daughters. The name of the older daughter was Leah. The name of the younger daughter was Rachel. 17Leah had weak eyes. But Rachel's face and her body were beautiful. 18Jacob loved Rachel. He said to Laban, ‘I will work for you for seven years. In return, I want to marry your younger daughter, Rachel.’ 19Laban said, ‘It is better for you to marry her than another man. Stay here with me.’
20Jacob worked for seven years to have Rachel as his wife. But the years passed very quickly because Jacob loved Rachel very much. Seven years seemed like only a few days to Jacob.
Jacob marries Leah and Rachel
21After seven years, Jacob said to Laban, ‘Give me my wife. My time to work for you is finished and I want to marry her.’ 22Laban called all the people in that place to come together. He prepared a big meal for them to eat. 23When evening came, Laban took his daughter Leah and he gave her to Jacob. Jacob slept that night with her as his wife. 24Laban gave his female servant to Leah to be her servant. Her name was Zilpah.
25When morning came, Jacob saw that he had slept with Leah! He said to Laban, ‘You have done a very bad thing to me! I worked for you to get Rachel as my wife. Why have you deceived me?’ 26Laban replied, ‘In our land, we do not give the younger daughter to a man first. We let the older daughter marry first. 27So, finish this week of Leah's marriage. Then we will give you Rachel to marry too. But you must work for another seven years.’ #29:27 Jacob had deceived his father Isaac. Now Laban has deceived Jacob. A marriage week was the seven days of the feast. Jacob had to continue with Leah until that week was finished.
28So Jacob did what Laban said. He finished the marriage week with Leah. Then Laban gave Rachel to Jacob to be his wife. 29Laban gave his female servant Bilhah to Rachel to become her servant. 30Jacob also slept with Rachel. He loved Rachel more than he loved Leah. He worked for Laban for seven more years.
31The Lord saw that Jacob did not love Leah. So he let her become pregnant. But Rachel did not give birth to any children. 32Leah became pregnant and she gave birth to a son. She called him Reuben. She said, ‘It is because the Lord has seen how sad I am. My husband will love me now because I have given birth to a son.’
33Leah became pregnant again. She gave birth to another son. She said, ‘The Lord has given me another son because he knows that I am not loved.’ She called this son Simeon.
34Leah became pregnant again. Later, she gave birth to another son. She said, ‘Now I have given my husband three sons, so he will want to stay with me.’ She called this son Levi.
35Leah became pregnant again. She gave birth to another son. She said, ‘This time I will praise the Lord.’ She called this son Judah. Then she stopped giving birth to children.