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Genesis 29

29
Jacob Meets Rachel
1Then Jacob #Lit raised his feet.went on his way and came to the land of the people of the East [near Haran]. 2As he looked, he saw a well in the field, and three flocks of sheep lying there [resting] beside it because the flocks were watered from that well. Now the stone on the mouth of the well [that covered and protected it] was large, 3and when all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone from the mouth of the well, water the sheep, and [afterward] replace the stone on the mouth of the well.
4Jacob said to them, “My brothers, where are you from?” And they said, “We are from Haran.” 5So he said to them, “Do you know Laban the grandson of Nahor [Abraham’s brother]?” And they replied, “We know him.” 6And he asked them, “#Lit Is peace (Heb shalom) to him?Is it well with him?” And they said, “He is doing well; look, here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep!” 7Jacob said, “Look, the sun is still high [overhead]; it is a long time before the flocks need to be gathered [in their folds for the night]. Water the sheep, and go, and return them to their pasture.” 8But they said, “We cannot [leave] until all the flocks are gathered together, and the shepherds roll the stone from the mouth of the well; then we will water the sheep.”
9While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess. 10When Jacob saw [his cousin] Rachel, the daughter of Laban, his mother’s brother, and Laban’s sheep, he came up and rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well and watered the flock of Laban, his uncle. 11Then Jacob kissed Rachel [in greeting], and he raised his voice and wept. 12Jacob told Rachel he was her father’s relative, Rebekah’s son; and she ran and told her father.
13When Laban heard of the arrival of Jacob, his sister’s son, he ran to meet him, and embraced and kissed him and brought him to his house. Then he told Laban all these things. 14Then Laban said to him, “You are my bone and my flesh.” And Jacob stayed with him a month.
15Then Laban said to Jacob, “Just because you are my relative, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me, what should your wages be?” 16Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. 18Jacob loved Rachel, so he said, “I will serve you [as a hired workman] for seven years [in return] for [the privilege of marrying] Rachel your younger daughter.” 19Laban said, “It is better that I give her [in marriage] to you than give her to another man. Stay and work with me.” 20So Jacob served [Laban] for seven years for [the right to marry] Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.
Laban’s Treachery
21Finally, Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my time [of service] is completed, so that I may take her to me [as my wife].” 22So Laban gathered together all the men of the place and prepared a [wedding] #The wedding feast was usually a lavish event lasting seven days. A wide variety of food was served along with wine, which was sometimes fortified with spices.feast [with wine]. 23But in the evening he took Leah his daughter and brought her to Jacob, and Jacob #Laban must have made sure that Jacob was thoroughly intoxicated before he attempted to switch the daughters.went in to [consummate the marriage with] her. 24Laban also gave Zilpah his maid to his daughter Leah as a maid. 25But in the morning [when Jacob awoke], it was Leah [who was with him]! And he said to Laban, “What is this that you have done to me? Did I not work for you [for seven years] for Rachel? Why have you deceived and betrayed me [like this]?” 26But Laban only said, “It is not #Lit done this way in.the tradition here to give the younger [daughter in marriage] before the older. 27Finish the week [of the wedding feast] for Leah; then we will give you Rachel also, and in return you shall work for me for seven more years.” 28So Jacob complied and fulfilled Leah’s week [of celebration]; then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as his [second] wife. 29Laban also gave Bilhah his maid to his daughter Rachel as a maid. 30So Jacob consummated his marriage and lived with Rachel [as his wife], and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and he served with Laban for another seven years.
31Now when the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, He #Lit opened her womb.made her able to bear children, but Rachel was barren. 32Leah conceived and gave birth to a son and named him Reuben (See, a son!), for she said, “Because the Lord has seen my humiliation and suffering; now my husband will love me [since I have given him a son].” 33Then she conceived again and gave birth to a son and said, “Because the Lord heard that I am unloved, He has given me this son also.” So she named him Simeon (God hears). 34She conceived again and gave birth to a son and said, “Now this time my husband will become attached to me [as a companion], for I have given him three sons.” Therefore he was named #The exact meaning is uncertain, perhaps companion or attached or joined.Levi. 35Again she conceived and gave birth to a [fourth] son, and she said, “Now I will praise the Lord.” So she named him #Possibly an abbreviation of “Praise YHWH.”Judah; then [for a time] she stopped bearing [children].
29
1Jacob went quickly on his way,#29:1. “Went quickly on his way”: literally, “lifted up his feet.” and arrived in the land of the eastern people. 2As he looked around he saw a well in a field with three flocks of sheep lying down beside it, waiting to be given water. A large stone covered the top of the well. 3The usual practice was that#29:3. “The usual practice was that”: supplied for clarity. once all the flocks had arrived, the shepherds would roll away the stone from the well and give their sheep water. Then they would put the stone back again.
4Jacob asked them, “My brothers, where are you from?”
“We're from Haran,” they replied.
5“Do you know Laban, Nahor's grandson?” he asked.
“Yes, we know him,” they replied.
6“How is he?” he asked.
“He's well,” they replied. “Look! In fact here's his daughter Rachel coming with the sheep right now.”
7“Look, there's still plenty of daylight left,” said Jacob. “It's too early to round up the sheep yet. Why not let them drink so they can go back to grazing?”
8“We can't do that until all the flocks have arrived,” they told him. “Then we roll away the stone from the well and let the sheep drink.”
9While he was still talking with them Rachel arrived with the flock she was looking after for her father. 10When Jacob saw Rachel, the daughter of Laban, his mother's brother, he went over and rolled away the stone from the well so Laban's sheep could drink. 11Then Jacob kissed Rachel and wept for joy. 12(He had told her that he was the son of Laban's brother and Rebekah.) She ran and told her father what had happened.
13As soon as Laban heard the news about Jacob he ran out to meet him. He hugged him and kissed him, and took him home. After Jacob had explained everything to Laban, 14Laban told him, “No question about it—you're my own flesh and blood!” Jacob stayed with Laban for a month.
15One day Laban said to him, “You're my relative so you shouldn't be working for me for nothing! Tell me, what should I pay you?”
16Laban had two daughters. The older one was Leah, and the younger one was Rachel. 17Leah had kind#29:17. “Kind”: literally, “soft” or “gentle.” eyes, but Rachel had a shapely figure and beautiful looks. 18Jacob was in love with Rachel so he promised Laban, “I'll do seven years work#29:18. “Seven years work”: in contrast to Abraham's servant Eliezer (chapter 24) Jacob had arrived with no gifts or dowry, so he offers his service as payment in kind. for you for Rachel, your younger daughter.”
19“Well it's better for me to give her to you than anyone else,” Laban replied. “So stay here and work for me.” 20Jacob worked for Laban for seven years, but to him they seemed like just a few days because he really loved her.
21Then Jacob said to Laban, “I've completed the time we agreed. Now give me your daughter to be my wife.”
22So Laban organized a wedding banquet#29:22. “A wedding banquet”: the word actually means “a drinking party,” which is probably the only way the deception could have been successful. and invited everyone around to come. 23But once it was dark Laban brought his daughter Leah to Jacob, and he slept with her. 24(Laban also arranged for his servant Zilpah to be Leah's personal maid.)
25When morning came, he saw it was Leah! He went to Laban and asked angrily, “What have you done to me? It was for Rachel that I worked for you! Why have you deceived me?”
26“Here we don't give the younger daughter in marriage before the firstborn,” Laban replied. 27“Finish this week of wedding celebrations and then I'll give you the other daughter as well, as long as you work another seven years for me.”
28Jacob agreed. He finished the week of wedding celebrations for Leah, and then Laban gave Jacob his daughter Rachel as his wife as well. 29(Laban also arranged for his servant Bilhah to be Rachel's personal maid.) 30So Jacob slept with Rachel as well, and he loved Rachel more than Leah. He worked for Laban another seven years for Rachel.
31The Lord saw that Leah wasn't loved he helped Leah to have children, but not Rachel. 32Leah became pregnant, and had a son she named Reuben,#29:32. “Reuben”: means “Look, a son!” and also sounds like “he saw my suffering.” for she said, “The Lord saw how much I was suffering and now my husband will love me!”
33Then Leah became pregnant again, and had another son. She said, “The Lord has heard that I'm not loved so he gave me this son.” So she named him Simeon.#29:33. “Simeon”: means “he hears.”
34Leah became pregnant for the third time, and had another son. She said, “Finally my husband will be attached to me because now I've given him three sons.” That's why he was named Levi.#29:34. “Levi”: means “attached” or “joined.”
35Once again Leah became pregnant and had another son. She named him Judah,#29:35. “Judah”: means “praise.” for she said, “Now I can really praise the Lord!” After that she had no more children.