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Genesis 29

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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.
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Jacob Meets Rachel
1#Jdg 6:3; 6:33Then Jacob went on his journey and came into the land of the people of the east. 2#Ge 24:11; Ex 2:15–16As he looked, he saw a well in the field and three flocks of sheep lying by it, for out of that well the flocks were watered. A large stone was on the well’s opening. 3When all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds rolled the stone from the well’s opening, watered the sheep, then put the stone back on the well’s opening in its place.
4#Ge 28:10; 27:43Jacob said to them, “My brothers, where are you from?”
And they said, “We are from Harran.”
5#Ge 24:24; 24:29Then he said to them, “Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?”
And they said, “We know him.”
6He said to them, “Is he well?”
And they said, “He is well, and here is Rachel his daughter coming with the sheep.”
7He said, “Since it is yet midday, it is not the time that the livestock should be gathered together. Water the sheep, and go and feed them.”
8They said, “We cannot until all the flocks are gathered together and the stone is rolled from the well’s opening. Then we may water the sheep.”
9While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she kept them. 10#Ex 2:17When Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, Jacob went near and rolled the stone from the well’s opening and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. 11#Ge 33:4; 43:30; 45:2Jacob kissed Rachel and wept aloud. 12#Ge 24:28; 13:8Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s relative and that he was Rebekah’s son. Then she ran and told her father.
13#Ge 24:29When Laban heard the news of Jacob his sister’s son, he ran to meet him and embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his house. Then Jacob told Laban all these things. 14#Ge 2:23; Jdg 9:2Laban said to him, “Surely you are my bone and my flesh.”
And he stayed with him for a month. 15Laban said to Jacob, “Since you are my relative, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?”
Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel
16Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17#Ge 12:11Leah’s eyes were tender, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. 18#Hos 12:12; Ge 31:41Jacob loved Rachel, so he said, “I will serve you seven years for Rachel your younger daughter.”
19Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to another man. Stay with me.” 20#Hos 12:12So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.
21#Jdg 15:1Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, so that I may have relations with her.”
22Laban gathered together all the men of the place and prepared a feast. 23But in the evening he took Leah his daughter and brought her to Jacob, and Jacob had relations with her. 24#Ge 30:9–12Laban gave Zilpah his maid to his daughter Leah for a maidservant.
25In the morning Jacob discovered it was Leah, and he said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve you for Rachel? Why then have you tricked me?”
26Then Laban said, “It is not the custom in our country to marry off the younger before the firstborn. 27#Jdg 14:12Fulfill the period of seven days for this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.”
28Jacob did so and completed her week. Then Laban gave him Rachel his daughter as his wife also. 29Laban gave Bilhah his maidservant to Rachel his daughter to be her maid. 30#Ge 31:41; 29:18So Jacob also had relations with Rachel, and he loved Rachel more than Leah and served Laban another seven years.
Jacob’s Children
31#Dt 21:15; Ge 30:22When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. 32#Ex 4:31; Dt 26:7Leah conceived and gave birth to a son, and she called his name Reuben, for she said, “Surely the Lord has looked upon my affliction. Now therefore my husband will love me.”
33#Ge 34:25She conceived again and gave birth to a son and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I was unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.” Then she called his name Simeon.
34#Ge 49:5–7She conceived again and gave birth to a son and said, “Now this time my husband will be joined to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi.
35#Mt 1:2She conceived again and gave birth to a son, and she said, “Now I will praise the Lord!” Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she stopped giving birth.