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Genesis 29

29
Chapter 29
Jacob and Laban
1Jacob continued on his journey. He came to the land where the people from the east live. 2He saw a well in a field. Three groups of sheep lay near it. Shepherds took water from the well to give to their sheep. There was a large stone that covered the top of the well. 3The shepherds waited until all the sheep were there together. Then they removed the stone from the top of the well. They gave their sheep water to drink, and then they put the stone back on the top of the well.
4Jacob asked the shepherds, ‘My brothers, where are you from?’ The shepherds replied, ‘We are from Haran.’ 5Jacob said, ‘Do you know Laban? He is Nahor's grandson.’ The shepherds replied, ‘Yes, we know him.’ 6Jacob asked them, ‘Is he in good health?’ They replied, ‘Yes, he is. Look. Here comes his daughter now, with their sheep. Her name is Rachel.’ 7Jacob said to them, ‘The sun is still high in the sky. It is not yet the right time to bring all the sheep together. So give them some water now. Then they can go back to the fields and eat more grass.’ 8The shepherds said, ‘We cannot do that. We have to wait until all the sheep are here together. Then we can remove the big stone from the well and we can give water to the sheep.’
9When Jacob was speaking to the shepherds, Rachel arrived there. She brought her father's sheep with her. She was taking care of them.
10Jacob saw Rachel. She was the daughter of his uncle Laban. Jacob saw that she had Laban's sheep with her. So Jacob went to the well and he removed the big stone. Then he gave water to Laban's sheep. 11Then Jacob kissed Rachel. He began to weep loudly. #29:11 Jacob cried because he was happy to find his relatives.
12Jacob told Rachel that he was a relative of her father, Laban. He told her that he was Rebekah's son. So Rachel ran home to tell her father.
13When Laban heard what Rachel said, he went quickly to meet Jacob, his sister's son. He put his arms round Jacob and he kissed him. Laban brought Jacob to his home. Jacob told Laban all his news. 14Then Laban said, ‘Yes, you really are my own relative.’ So Jacob stayed with Laban for a month.
15Then Laban said to Jacob, ‘You should not work for me for nothing because you are my relative. Tell me what I should pay you.’ 16Laban had two daughters. The name of the older daughter was Leah. The name of the younger daughter was Rachel. 17Leah had weak eyes. But Rachel's face and her body were beautiful. 18Jacob loved Rachel. He said to Laban, ‘I will work for you for seven years. In return, I want to marry your younger daughter, Rachel.’ 19Laban said, ‘It is better for you to marry her than another man. Stay here with me.’
20Jacob worked for seven years to have Rachel as his wife. But the years passed very quickly because Jacob loved Rachel very much. Seven years seemed like only a few days to Jacob.
Jacob marries Leah and Rachel
21After seven years, Jacob said to Laban, ‘Give me my wife. My time to work for you is finished and I want to marry her.’ 22Laban called all the people in that place to come together. He prepared a big meal for them to eat. 23When evening came, Laban took his daughter Leah and he gave her to Jacob. Jacob slept that night with her as his wife. 24Laban gave his female servant to Leah to be her servant. Her name was Zilpah.
25When morning came, Jacob saw that he had slept with Leah! He said to Laban, ‘You have done a very bad thing to me! I worked for you to get Rachel as my wife. Why have you deceived me?’ 26Laban replied, ‘In our land, we do not give the younger daughter to a man first. We let the older daughter marry first. 27So, finish this week of Leah's marriage. Then we will give you Rachel to marry too. But you must work for another seven years.’ #29:27 Jacob had deceived his father Isaac. Now Laban has deceived Jacob. A marriage week was the seven days of the feast. Jacob had to continue with Leah until that week was finished.
28So Jacob did what Laban said. He finished the marriage week with Leah. Then Laban gave Rachel to Jacob to be his wife. 29Laban gave his female servant Bilhah to Rachel to become her servant. 30Jacob also slept with Rachel. He loved Rachel more than he loved Leah. He worked for Laban for seven more years.
31The Lord saw that Jacob did not love Leah. So he let her become pregnant. But Rachel did not give birth to any children. 32Leah became pregnant and she gave birth to a son. She called him Reuben. She said, ‘It is because the Lord has seen how sad I am. My husband will love me now because I have given birth to a son.’
33Leah became pregnant again. She gave birth to another son. She said, ‘The Lord has given me another son because he knows that I am not loved.’ She called this son Simeon.
34Leah became pregnant again. Later, she gave birth to another son. She said, ‘Now I have given my husband three sons, so he will want to stay with me.’ She called this son Levi.
35Leah became pregnant again. She gave birth to another son. She said, ‘This time I will praise the Lord.’ She called this son Judah. Then she stopped giving birth to 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.