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Genesis 29

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CHAPTER 29
1Therefore Jacob passed forth, and came into the east land;
2and he saw a pit or well in the field, and three flocks of sheep resting beside it, for why sheep were watered thereof, and the mouth thereof was closed with a great stone.
3And the custom was that when all the sheep were gathered together, they should turn away the stone, and when the flocks were watered, they should put it again on the mouth of the pit.
4And Jacob said to the shepherds, Brethren, of whence be ye? Which answered, Of Haran.
5And he asked them and said, Whether ye know Laban, the son of Nahor? They said, We know him.
6Jacob said, Is he whole? They said, He is in good state; and lo! Rachel, his daughter, cometh with his flock.
7And Jacob said, Yet much of the day is to come, and it is not time that the flocks be led again to the folds; soothly give ye drink to the sheep, and so lead ye them again to meat or feeding.
8Which answered, We may not till all the sheep be gathered together, and till we remove the stone from the mouth of the pit, to water the flocks.
9Yet they spake, and lo! Rachel came with the sheep of her father.
10And when Jacob saw her, and knew her to be the daughter of his mother’s brother, and the sheep to be of Laban his uncle, he removed the stone with which the pit was closed; and when the flock was watered,
11he kissed her, and he wept with voice raised.
12And Jacob showed to her that he was the brother of her father, and the son of Rebecca; and she hasted, and told to her father.
13And when he had heard, that Jacob, the son of his sister, came, he ran to meet him, and he embraced Jacob, and kissed him, and led him into his house. Forsooth when the causes of the journey were heard,
14Laban answered, Thou art my bone and my flesh. And after that the days of a month were filled,
15Laban said to Jacob, Whether for thou art my brother, thou shalt serve me freely? say thou what meed thou shalt take.
16Forsooth Laban had two daughters, the name of the elder was Leah, soothly the younger was called Rachel;
17but Leah was bleary-eyed, and Rachel was of fair face, and lovely in sight.
18And Jacob loved Rachel, and said, I shall serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.
19Laban answered, It is better that I give her to thee than to another man; dwell thou with me.
20Therefore Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and the days seemed few to him for the greatness of his love.
21And at last he said to Laban, Give thou my wife to me, for the time is fulfilled that I enter [in] to her.
22And when many companies of friends were called to the feast, he made [the] weddings,
23and in the eventide Laban brought in to him Leah his daughter,
24and gave an handmaid, Zilpah by name, to his daughter.
25And when Jacob had entered [in] to her by custom, when the morrow-tide was made, he saw Leah, and he said to his wife’s father, What is it that thou wouldest do? whether I served not thee for Rachel? why hast thou deceived me?
26Laban answered, It is not custom in our place that we give first the younger daughter to weddings;
27fulfill thou the week of days of this wedding, and I shall give to thee also this Rachel, for the work in which thou shalt serve me by other seven years.
28Jacob assented to the covenant, and when the week was passed, he wedded Rachel,
29to whom her father had given Bilhah an handmaid.
30And at the last Jacob used the weddings desired, and set the love of the latter wife before the first; and Jacob served Laban seven other years.
31Forsooth the Lord saw that Jacob despised Leah, that is, loved her less than Rachel, and he opened Leah’s womb, while her sister dwelled barren.
32And Leah childed a son conceived, and she called his name Reuben, and said, The Lord hath seen my meek-ness; now mine husband shall love me.
33And again she conceived, and childed a son, and said, For the Lord saw that I was despised, he gave also this son to me; and she called his name Simeon.
34And she conceived the third time, and childed another son, and she said also, Now mine husband shall be coupled to me, for I have childed three sons to him; and therefore she called his name Levi.
35The fourth time she conceived, and childed a son, and said, Now I shall acknowledge to the Lord; and therefore she called his name Judah; and ceased to child.
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Jacob Arrives in Paddan Aram
1Then Jacob continued on his journey. He came to the land where the eastern tribes lived. 2There he saw a well in the open country. Three flocks of sheep were lying near it. The flocks were given water from the well. The stone over the opening of the well was large. 3All the flocks would gather there. The shepherds would roll the stone away from the well’s opening. They would give water to the sheep. Then they would put the stone back in its place over the opening of the well.
4Jacob asked the shepherds, “My friends, where are you from?”
“We’re from Harran,” they replied.
5He said to them, “Do you know Nahor’s grandson Laban?”
“Yes, we know him,” they answered.
6Then Jacob asked them, “How is he?”
“He’s fine,” they said. “Here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep.”
7“Look,” he said, “the sun is still high in the sky. It’s not time for the flocks to be brought together. Give water to the sheep and take them back to the grasslands.”
8“We can’t,” they replied. “We have to wait until all the flocks are brought together. The stone has to be rolled away from the opening of the well. Then we’ll give water to the sheep.”
9He was still talking with them when Rachel came with her father’s sheep. It was her job to take care of the flock. 10Rachel was the daughter of Laban, Jacob’s uncle. When Jacob saw Rachel with Laban’s sheep, he went over to the well. He rolled the stone away from the opening. He gave water to his uncle’s sheep. 11Jacob kissed Rachel. Then he began to cry because he was so happy. 12He had told Rachel he was a relative of her father. He had also said he was Rebekah’s son. Rachel ran and told her father what Jacob had said.
13As soon as Laban heard the news about his sister’s son Jacob, he hurried to meet him. Laban hugged Jacob and kissed him. Then Laban brought him to his home. There Jacob told him everything. 14Then Laban said to him, “You are my own flesh and blood.”
Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel
Jacob stayed with Laban for a whole month. 15Then Laban said to him, “You are one of my relatives. But is that any reason for you to work for me for nothing? Tell me what your pay should be.”
16Laban had two daughters. The name of the older one was Leah. And the name of the younger one was Rachel. 17Leah was plain, but Rachel was beautiful. She had a nice figure. 18Jacob was in love with Rachel. He said to Laban, “I’ll work for you for seven years so I can marry your younger daughter Rachel.”
19Laban said, “It’s better for me to give her to you than to some other man. Stay here with me.” 20So Jacob worked for seven years so he could marry Rachel. But they seemed like only a few days to him because he loved her so much.
21Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife. I’ve completed my time. I want to sleep with her.”
22So Laban brought all the people of the place together and had a feast prepared. 23But when evening came, he gave his daughter Leah to Jacob. And Jacob slept with her. 24Laban gave his female servant Zilpah to his daughter as her servant.
25When Jacob woke up the next morning, there was Leah next to him! So he said to Laban, “What have you done to me? I worked for you so I could marry Rachel, didn’t I? Why did you trick me?”
26Laban replied, “It isn’t our practice here to give the younger daughter to be married before the older one. 27Complete this daughter’s wedding week. Then we’ll give you the younger one also. But you will have to work for another seven years.”
28So Jacob completed the week with Leah. Then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. 29Laban gave his female servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her servant. 30Jacob slept with Rachel also. He loved Rachel more than he loved Leah. And he worked for Laban for another seven years.
Jacob Becomes the Father of Many Children
31The Lord saw that Jacob didn’t love Leah as much as he loved Rachel. So he let Leah have children. But Rachel wasn’t able to have children. 32Leah became pregnant. She had a son. She named him Reuben. She said, “The Lord has seen me suffer. Surely my husband will love me now.”
33She became pregnant again. She had a son. Then she said, “The Lord heard that Jacob doesn’t love me very much. That’s why the Lord gave me this one too.” So she named him Simeon.
34She became pregnant again. She had a son. Then she said, “Now at last my husband will value me. I have had three sons by him.” So the boy was named Levi.
35She became pregnant again. She had a son. Then she said, “This time I’ll praise the Lord.” So she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children.