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Genesis 29

29
Jacob Meets Rachel
1Jacob resumed his journey#29:1 Lit Jacob picked up his feet and went to the eastern country.#29:1 Lit the land of the children of the east#Nm 23:7; Jdg 6:3 2He looked and saw a well in a field. Three flocks of sheep were lying there beside it because the sheep were watered from this well. But a large stone covered the opening of the well. 3The shepherds would roll the stone from the opening of the well and water the sheep when all the flocks#29:3 Sam, some LXX mss read flocks and the shepherds were gathered there. Then they would return the stone to its place over the well’s opening.
4Jacob asked the men at the well, “My brothers! Where are you from?”
“We’re from Haran,” they answered.
5“Do you know Laban, Nahor’s grandson?” Jacob asked them.
They answered, “We know him.”
6“Is he well?” Jacob asked.
“Yes,” they said, “and here is his daughter Rachel, coming with his sheep.”
7Then Jacob said, “Look, it is still broad daylight. It’s not time for the animals to be gathered. Water the flock, then go out and let them graze.”
8But they replied, “We can’t until all the flocks have been gathered and the stone is rolled from the well’s opening. 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. 10As soon as Jacob saw his uncle Laban’s daughter Rachel with his sheep,#29:10 Lit with the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother he went up and rolled the stone from the opening and watered his uncle Laban’s sheep. 11Then Jacob kissed Rachel and wept loudly.#29:11 Lit and he lifted his voice and wept 12He told Rachel that he was her father’s relative, Rebekah’s son. She ran and told her father.
Jacob Deceived
13When Laban heard the news about his sister’s son Jacob, he ran to meet him, hugged him, and kissed him. Then he took him to his house, and Jacob told him all that had happened.
14Laban said to him, “Yes, you are my own flesh and blood.”#29:14 Lit my bone and my flesh#Gn 2:23; 37:27; Jdg 9:2; 2Sm 5:1; 19:12–13; 1Ch 11:1
After Jacob had stayed with him a month, 15Laban said to him, “Just because you’re my relative, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me what your wages should be.”
16Now Laban had two daughters: the older was named Leah, and the younger was named Rachel. 17Leah had tender eyes, but Rachel was shapely and beautiful. 18Jacob loved Rachel, so he answered Laban, “I’ll work for you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.”#Gn 30:26; 31:41; Hs 12:12
19Laban replied, “Better that I give her to you than to some other man. Stay with me.” 20So Jacob worked seven years for Rachel, and they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.
21Then Jacob said to Laban, “Since my time is complete, give me my wife, so I can sleep with#29:21 Lit can go to her.” 22So Laban invited all the men of the place and sponsored a feast. 23That evening, Laban took his daughter Leah and gave her to Jacob, and he slept with her. 24And Laban gave his slave Zilpah to his daughter Leah as her slave.
25When morning came, there was Leah! So he said to Laban, “What have you done to me? Wasn’t it for Rachel that I worked for you? Why have you deceived me?”
26Laban answered, “It is not the custom in our country to give the younger daughter in marriage before the firstborn. 27Complete this week of wedding celebration, and we will also give you this younger one in return for working yet another seven years for me.”
28And Jacob did just that. He finished the week of celebration, and Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife. 29And Laban gave his slave Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her slave. 30Jacob slept with Rachel also, and indeed, he loved Rachel more than Leah. And he worked for Laban another seven years.#Gn 31:41
Jacob’s Sons
31When the Lord saw that Leah was neglected,#Gn 25:28; Dt 21:15–16; 22:13; 24:3; Lk 14:26; 16:13 he opened her womb;#Gn 30:22 but Rachel was unable to conceive.#Gn 11:30; 25:21; Jdg 13:2–3; 1Sm 2:5; Lk 1:36 32Leah conceived, gave birth to a son, and named him Reuben,#29:32 = See, a Son; in Hb, the name Reuben sounds like “has seen my affliction.” for she said, “The Lord has seen my affliction;#Gn 31:42; Ex 3:7; 4:31; Dt 26:7 surely my husband will love me now.”
33She conceived again, gave birth to a son, and said, “The Lord heard that I am neglected and has given me this son also.” So she named him Simeon.#29:33 In Hb, the name Simeon sounds like “has heard.”
34She conceived again, gave birth to a son, and said, “At last, my husband will become attached to me because I have borne three sons for him.” Therefore he was named Levi.#29:34 In Hb, the name Levi sounds like “attached to.”
35And she conceived again, gave birth to a son, and said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she named him Judah.#29:35 In Hb, the name Judah sounds like “praise.”#Gn 49:8; Mt 1:2 Then Leah 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.