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B'resheet (Gen) 29

29
1(ii) Continuing his journey, Ya‘akov came to the land of the people of the east. 2As he looked, he saw a well in a field; and there were three flocks of sheep lying there next to it; because they watered the sheep from that well. The stone on the well’s mouth was large, 3and only when all the flocks had gathered there would they roll the stone away from the opening of the well and water the sheep. Then they would put the stone back in its place on the well’s opening.
4Ya‘akov said to them, “My brothers, where are you from?” They answered, “We’re from Haran.” 5He asked them, “Do you know Lavan the [grand]son of Nachor?” They said, “We do.” 6He asked them, “Are things going well with him?” “Yes,” they answered, “and here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep.” 7He said, “Look, there’s still plenty of daylight left; and it isn’t time to bring the animals home; so water the sheep; then go, and put them out to pasture.” 8They answered, “We can’t, not until all the flocks have been gathered together, and they roll the stone away from the opening of the well. That’s when we water the sheep.”
9While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, because she took care of them. 10When Ya‘akov saw Rachel the daughter of Lavan his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Lavan his mother’s brother, Ya‘akov went up and rolled the stone away from the opening of the well and watered the flock of Lavan his mother’s brother. 11Ya‘akov kissed Rachel and wept aloud. 12Ya‘akov told Rachel that he was her father’s relative, and that he was Rivkah’s son; and she ran and told her father. 13When Lavan heard the news of Ya‘akov his sister’s son, he ran to meet him, hugged him and kissed him, and brought him to his house. Ya‘akov told Lavan all that had happened. 14Lavan said to him, “You are indeed my own flesh and blood.”
After Ya‘akov had stayed with him for a whole month, 15Lavan said to him, “Why should you work for me for nothing, just because you are my relative? Tell me how much I should pay you.” 16Now Lavan had two daughters; the name of the older was Le’ah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17Le’ah’s eyes were weak; but Rachel was good-looking, with beautiful features.
(iii) 18Ya‘akov had fallen in love with Rachel and said, “I will work for you seven years in exchange for Rachel your younger daughter.” 19Lavan answered, “Better that I give her to you than to someone else; stay with me.” 20So Ya‘akov worked seven years for Rachel, and it seemed only a few days to him, because he was so much in love with her.
21Ya‘akov said to Lavan, “Give me my wife, since my time is finished, so that I can start living with her.” 22Lavan gathered all the men of the place and gave a banquet. 23In the evening he took Le’ah his daughter and brought her to Ya‘akov, and he went in and slept with her. 24Lavan also gave his slave-girl Zilpah to his daughter Le’ah as her slave-girl.
25In the morning Ya‘akov saw that he was with Le’ah, and he said to Lavan, “What kind of thing is this that you’ve done to me? Didn’t I work for you for Rachel? Why have you deceived me?” 26Lavan answered, “In our place that isn’t how it’s done, to give the younger daughter before the firstborn. 27Finish the marriage week of this one, and we’ll give you the other one also in exchange for the work you will do for me during yet another seven years.” 28Ya‘akov agreed to this, so he finished her week, and Lavan gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife. 29Lavan also gave to his daughter Rachel his slave-girl Bilhah as her slave-girl. 30So not only did Ya‘akov go in and sleep with Rachel, but he also loved Rachel more than Le’ah. Then he served Lavan another seven years.
31Adonai saw that Le’ah was unloved, so he made her fertile, while Rachel remained childless. 32Le’ah conceived and gave birth to a son, whom she named Re’uven [see, a son!], for she said, “It is because Adonai has seen how humiliated I have been, but now my husband will love me.” 33She conceived again, gave birth to a son and said, “It is because Adonai has heard that I am unloved; therefore he has given me this son also.” So she named him Shim‘on [hearing]. 34Once more she conceived and had a son; and she said, “Now this time my husband will be joined to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore she named him Levi [joining]. 35She conceived yet again, had a son and said, “This time I will praise Adonai”; therefore she named him Y’hudah [praise]. Then she stopped having children.
29
1-3Jacob set out again on his way to the people of the east. He noticed a well out in an open field with three flocks of sheep bedded down around it. This was the common well from which the flocks were watered. The stone over the mouth of the well was huge. When all the flocks were gathered, the shepherds would roll the stone from the well and water the sheep; then they would return the stone, covering the well.
4Jacob said, “Hello friends. Where are you from?”
They said, “We’re from Haran.”
5Jacob asked, “Do you know Laban son of Nahor?”
“We do.”
6“Are things well with him?” Jacob continued.
“Very well,” they said. “And here is his daughter Rachel coming with the flock.”
7Jacob said, “There’s a lot of daylight still left; it isn’t time to round up the sheep yet, is it? So why not water the flocks and go back to grazing?”
8“We can’t,” they said. “Not until all the shepherds get here. It takes all of us to roll the stone from the well. Not until then can we water the flocks.”
9-13While Jacob was in conversation with them, Rachel came up with her father’s sheep. She was the shepherd. The moment Jacob spotted Rachel, daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, saw her arriving with his uncle Laban’s sheep, he went and single-handedly rolled the stone from the mouth of the well and watered the sheep of his uncle Laban. Then he kissed Rachel and broke into tears. He told Rachel that he was related to her father, that he was Rebekah’s son. She ran and told her father. When Laban heard the news—Jacob, his sister’s son!—he ran out to meet him, embraced and kissed him and brought him home. Jacob told Laban the story of everything that had happened.
14-15Laban said, “You’re family! My flesh and blood!”
When Jacob had been with him for a month, Laban said, “Just because you’re my nephew, you shouldn’t work for me for nothing. Tell me what you want to be paid. What’s a fair wage?”
16-18Now Laban had two daughters; Leah was the older and Rachel the younger. Leah had nice eyes, but Rachel was stunningly beautiful. And it was Rachel that Jacob loved.
So Jacob answered, “I will work for you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.”
19“It is far better,” said Laban, “that I give her to you than marry her to some outsider. Yes. Stay here with me.”
20So Jacob worked seven years for Rachel. But it only seemed like a few days, he loved her so much.
21-24Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife; I’ve completed what we agreed I’d do. I’m ready to consummate my marriage.” Laban invited everyone around and threw a big feast. At evening, though, he got his daughter Leah and brought her to the marriage bed, and Jacob slept with her. (Laban gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah as her maid.)
25Morning came: There was Leah in the marriage bed!
Jacob confronted Laban, “What have you done to me? Didn’t I work all this time for the hand of Rachel? Why did you cheat me?”
26-27“We don’t do it that way in our country,” said Laban. “We don’t marry off the younger daughter before the older. Enjoy your week of honeymoon, and then we’ll give you the other one also. But it will cost you another seven years of work.”
28-30Jacob agreed. When he’d completed the honeymoon week, Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. (Laban gave his maid Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her maid.) Jacob then slept with her. And he loved Rachel more than Leah. He worked for Laban another seven years.
31-32When God realized that Leah was unloved, he opened her womb. But Rachel was barren. Leah became pregnant and had a son. She named him Reuben (Look-It’s-a-Boy!). “This is a sign,” she said, “that God has seen my misery; and a sign that now my husband will love me.”
33-35She became pregnant again and had another son. “God heard,” she said, “that I was unloved and so he gave me this son also.” She named this one Simeon (God-Heard). She became pregnant yet again—another son. She said, “Now maybe my husband will connect with me—I’ve given him three sons!” That’s why she named him Levi (Connect). She became pregnant a final time and had a fourth son. She said, “This time I’ll praise God.” So she named him Judah (Praise-God). Then she stopped having children.