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Genesis 29

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Jacob Arrives in Northwest Mesopotamia
1Then Jacob continued his journey. He came to the land of the people of the East. 2He looked and saw a well in the field. Three flocks of sheep were lying nearby, because they drank water from this well. A large stone covered the mouth of the well. 3All the flocks would gather there. The shepherds would roll the stone away from the well and water the sheep. Then they would put the stone back in its place.
4Jacob said to the shepherds there, “My brothers, where are you from?”
They answered, “We are from Haran.”
5Then Jacob asked, “Do you know Laban grandson of Nahor?”
They answered, “We know him.”
6Then Jacob asked, “How is he?”
They answered, “He is well. Look, his daughter Rachel is coming now with his sheep.”
7Jacob said, “But look, it is still the middle part of the day. It is not time for the sheep to be gathered for the night. So give them water and let them go back into the pasture.”
8But they said, “We cannot do that until all the flocks are gathered. Then we will roll away the stone from the mouth of the well and water the sheep.”
9While Jacob was talking with the shepherds, Rachel came with her father’s sheep. It was her job to take care of the sheep. 10Then Jacob saw Laban’s daughter Rachel and Laban’s sheep. So he went to the well and rolled the stone from its mouth. Then he watered Laban’s sheep. Now Laban was the brother of Rebekah, Jacob’s mother. 11Then Jacob kissed Rachel and cried. 12He told her that he was from her father’s family. He said that he was the son of Rebekah. So Rachel ran home and told her father.
13When Laban heard the news about his sister’s son Jacob, Laban ran to meet him. Laban hugged him and kissed him and brought him to his house. Jacob told Laban everything that had happened.
14Then Laban said, “You are my own flesh and blood.”
Jacob Is Tricked
So Jacob stayed there a month. 15Then Laban said to Jacob, “You are my relative. But it is not right for you to keep on working for me without pay. What would you like me to pay you?”
16Now Laban had two daughters. The older was Leah, and the younger was Rachel. 17Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel was very beautiful. 18Jacob loved Rachel. So he said to Laban, “Let me marry your younger daughter Rachel. If you will, I will work seven years for you.”
19Laban said, “It would be better for her to marry you than someone else. So stay here with me.” 20So Jacob worked for Laban seven years so he could marry Rachel. But they seemed to him like just a few days. This was because he loved Rachel very much.
21After seven years Jacob said to Laban, “Give me Rachel so that I may marry her. The time I promised to work for you is over.”
22So Laban gave a feast for all the people there. 23That evening Laban brought his daughter Leah to Jacob. Jacob and Leah had intimate relations together. 24(Laban gave his slave girl Zilpah to his daughter to be her servant.) 25In the morning Jacob saw that he had had intimate relations with Leah! He said to Laban, “What have you done to me? I worked hard for you so that I could marry Rachel! Why did you trick me?”
26Laban said, “In our country we do not allow the younger daughter to marry before the older daughter. 27But complete the full week of the marriage ceremony with Leah. I will give you Rachel to marry also. But you must serve me another seven years.”
28So Jacob did this and completed the week with Leah. Then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as a wife. 29(Laban gave his slave girl Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her servant.) 30So Jacob had intimate relations with Rachel also. And Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah. Jacob worked for Laban for another seven years.
Jacob’s Family Grows
31The Lord saw that Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah. So the Lord made it possible for Leah to have children. But Rachel did not have any children. 32Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben,# This name sounds like the Hebrew word for “he has seen my troubles.” because she said, “The Lord has seen my troubles. Surely now my husband will love me.”
33Leah became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She named him Simeon.# This name sounds like the Hebrew word for “has heard.” She said, “The Lord has heard that I am not loved. So he gave me this son.”
34Leah became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She named him Levi.# This name sounds like the Hebrew word for “be close to.” Leah said, “Now, surely my husband will be close to me. I have given him three sons.”
35Then Leah gave birth to another son. She named him Judah.# This name sounds like the Hebrew word for “praise.” Leah named him this because she said, “Now I will praise the Lord.” Then Leah stopped having children.
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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.