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Genesis 29

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1Then Jacob went on his journey, and came to the land of the children of the east. 2He looked, and behold, a well in the field, and, behold, three flocks of sheep lying there by it. For out of that well they watered the flocks. The stone on the well’s mouth was large. 3There all the flocks were gathered. They rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again on the well’s mouth in its place. 4Jacob said to them, “My relatives, where are you from?”
They said, “We are from Haran.”
5He said to them, “Do you know Laban, the son of Nahor?”
They said, “We know him.”
6He said to them, “Is it well with him?”
They said, “It is well. See, Rachel, his daughter, is coming with the sheep.”
7He said, “Behold, it is still the middle of the day, not time to gather the livestock together. Water the sheep, and go and feed them.”
8They said, “We can’t, until all the flocks are gathered together, and they roll the stone from the well’s mouth. Then we water the sheep.”
9While he was yet speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she kept them. 10When 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 mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. 11Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept. 12Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s brother, and that he was Rebekah’s son. She ran and told her father.
13When Laban heard the news of Jacob, his sister’s son, he ran to meet Jacob, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. Jacob told Laban all these things. 14Laban said to him, “Surely you are my bone and my flesh.” He lived with him for a month. 15Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my brother, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what will your wages be?”
16Laban had two daughters. The name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and attractive. 18Jacob loved Rachel. 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.”
20Jacob served seven years for Rachel. They seemed to him but a few days, for the love he had for her.
21Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in to her.”
22Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. 23In the evening, he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him. He went in to her. 24Laban gave Zilpah his servant to his daughter Leah for a servant. 25In the morning, behold, it was Leah. He said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Didn’t I serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?”
26Laban said, “It is not done so in our place, to give the younger before the firstborn. 27Fulfill the week of this one, and we will give you the other also for the service which you will serve with me yet seven other years.”
28Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week. He gave him Rachel his daughter as wife. 29Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah, his servant, to be her servant. 30He went in also to Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.
31Yahweh saw that Leah was hated, and he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. 32Leah conceived, and bore a son, and she named him Reuben. For she said, “Because Yahweh has looked at my affliction. For now my husband will love me.” 33She conceived again, and bore a son, and said, “Because Yahweh has heard that I am hated, he has therefore given me this son also.” She named him Simeon. 34She conceived again, and bore a son. Said, “Now this time will my husband be joined to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi. 35She conceived again, and bore a son. She said, “This time will I praise Yahweh.” Therefore she named him Judah. Then she stopped bearing.
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Jacob’s Arrival in Haran
1Jacob continued on his trip and came to the land in the east. 2He looked around, and out in a field he saw a well with a large stone over the opening. Three flocks of sheep were lying down near it, because the flocks were watered from that well. 3When all the flocks were gathered there, the stone would be rolled off the opening of the well so that the sheep could be watered. Then the stone would be put back in place over the opening of the well.
4Jacob asked some people, “My friends, where are you from?”
“We’re from Haran,” they replied.
5He asked them, “Do you know Laban, Nahor’s grandson?”
They answered, “We do.”
6“How is he doing?” Jacob asked them.
“He’s fine,” they answered. “Here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep.”
7“It’s still the middle of the day,” he said. “It isn’t time yet to gather the livestock. Water the sheep. Then let them graze.”
8They replied, “We can’t until all the flocks are gathered. When the stone is rolled off the opening of the well, we can water the sheep.”
9While he was still talking to them, Rachel arrived with her father’s sheep, because she was a shepherd. 10Jacob saw Rachel, daughter of his uncle Laban, with his uncle Laban’s sheep. He came forward and rolled the stone off the opening of the well and watered his uncle Laban’s sheep. 11Then Jacob kissed Rachel and sobbed loudly. 12When Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s nephew and that he was Rebekah’s son, she ran and told her father.
13As soon as Laban heard the news about his sister’s son Jacob, he ran to meet him. He hugged and kissed him and brought him into his home. Then Jacob told Laban all that had happened. 14Laban said to him, “You are my own flesh and blood.”
Jacob Obtains Wives
Jacob stayed with him for a whole month. 15Then Laban said to him, “Just because you’re my relative doesn’t mean that you should work for nothing. Tell me what your wages should be.”
16Laban had two daughters. The name of the older one was Leah, and the name of the younger one was Rachel. 17Leah had attractive eyes,#29:17 Or “had no sparkle in her eyes.” but Rachel had a beautiful figure and beautiful features. 18Jacob loved Rachel. So he offered, “I’ll work seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel.”
19Laban responded, “It’s better that I give her to you than to any other man. Stay with me.” 20Jacob worked seven years in return for Rachel, but the years seemed like only a few days to him because he loved her.
21 ⌞At the end of the seven years⌟ Jacob said to Laban, “The time is up; give me my wife! I want to sleep with her.” 22So Laban invited all the people of that place and gave a wedding feast. 23In the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob. Jacob slept with her. When morning came, he realized it was Leah.#29:23 The first part of verse 25 (in Hebrew) has been placed in verse 23 to express the complex Hebrew paragraph structure more clearly in English. 24(Laban had given his slave Zilpah to his daughter Leah as her slave.)
25“What have you done to me?” Jacob asked Laban. “Didn’t I work for you in return for Rachel? Why did you cheat me?”
26Laban answered, “It’s not our custom to give the younger daughter ⌞in marriage⌟ before the older one. 27Finish the week of wedding festivities with this daughter. Then we will give you the other one too. But you’ll have to work for me another seven years.”
28That’s what Jacob did. He finished the week with Leah. Then Laban gave his daughter Rachel to him as his wife. 29(Laban had given his slave Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her slave.) 30Jacob slept with Rachel too. He loved Rachel more than Leah. So he worked for Laban another seven years.
Leah and Rachel Compete for Jacob’s Love
31When the Lord saw Leah was unloved, he made it possible for her to have children, but Rachel had none. 32Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben [Here’s My Son], because she said, “Certainly, the Lord has seen my misery; now my husband will love me!” 33She became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She said, “Certainly, the Lord has heard that I’m unloved, and he also has given me this son.” So she named him Simeon [Hearing]. 34She became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She said, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me because I’ve given him three sons.” So she named him Levi [Attached]. 35She became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” So she named him Judah [Praise]. Then she stopped having children.