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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
1 And so Jacob, setting out, arrived in the eastern land.
2 And he saw a well in a field, and also three flocks of sheep reclining near it. For the animals were watered from it, and its mouth was closed with a great stone.
3 And the custom was, when all the sheep were gathered together, to roll away the stone. And when the flocks had been refreshed, they placed it over the mouth of the well again.
4 And he said to the shepherds, "Brothers, where are you from?" And they answered. "From Haran."
5 And questioning them, he said, "Do you know Laban, the son of Nahor?" They said, "We know him."
6 He said, "Is he well?" "He is very well," they said. "And behold, his daughter Rachel approaches with his flock."
7 And Jacob said, "There is still much daylight remaining, and it is not time to return the flocks to the sheepfold. Give the sheep to drink first, and then lead them back to pasture."
8 They responded, "We cannot, until all the animals are gathered together and we remove the stone from the mouth of the well, so that we may water the flocks."
9 They were still speaking, and behold, Rachel arrived with her father's sheep; for she pastured the flock.
10 When Jacob had seen her, and he realized that she was his maternal first cousin, and that these were the sheep of his uncle Laban, he removed the stone which closed the well.
11 And having watered the flock, he kissed her. And lifting up his voice, he wept.
12 And he revealed to her that he was a brother of her father, and the son of Rebekah. And so, hurrying, she announced it to her father.
13 And when he had heard that Jacob, his sister's son, had arrived, he ran to meet him. And embracing him, and kissing him heartily, he brought him into his house. But when he had heard the reasons for his journey,
14 he responded, "You are my bone and my flesh." And after the days of one month were completed,
15 he said to him: "Though you are my brother, will you serve me for nothing? Tell me what wages you would accept."
16 In truth, he had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah; and truly the younger was called Rachel.
17 But while Leah was bleary-eyed, Rachel had an elegant appearance and was attractive to behold.
18 And Jacob, loving her, said, "I will serve you for seven years, for your younger daughter Rachel."
19 Laban responded, "It is better that I give her to you than to another man; remain with me."
20 Therefore, Jacob served for seven years for Rachel. And these seemed like only a few days, because of the greatness of love.
21 And he said to Laban, "Give my wife to me. For now the time has been fulfilled, so that I may go in to her."
22 And he, having called a great crowd of his friends to the feast, agreed to the marriage.
23 And at night, he brought in his daughter Leah to him,
24 giving his daughter a handmaid named Zilpah. After Jacob had gone in to her, according to custom, when morning had arrived, he saw Leah.
25 And he said to his father-in-law, "What is it that you intended to do? Did I not serve you for Rachel? Why have you deceived me?"
26 Laban responded, "It is not the practice in this place to give the younger in marriage first.
27 Complete a week of days with this mating. And then I will give this one to you also, for the service that you will provide to me for another seven years."
28 He agreed to his pleading. And after the week had passed, he took Rachel as a wife.
29 To her, the father had given Bilhah as her servant.
30 And, having at last obtained the marriage he desired, he preferred the love of the latter before the former, and he served with him another seven years.
31 But the Lord, seeing that he despised Leah, opened her womb, but her sister remained barren.
32 Having conceived, she gave birth to a son, and she called his name Reuben, saying: "The Lord saw my humiliation; now my husband will love me."
33 And again she conceived and bore a son, and she said, "Because the Lord heard that I was treated with contempt, he has also given this one to me." And she called his name Simeon.
34 And she conceived a third time, and she gave birth to another son, and she said: "Now likewise my husband will unite with me, because I have borne him three sons." And because of this, she called his name Levi.
35 A fourth time she conceived and bore a son, and she said, "Only now will I confess to the Lord." And for this reason, she called him Judah. And she ceased from child-bearing.