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Genesis 29

29
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.
29
Jacob Arrives at Paddan-Aram
1Then Jacob hurried on, finally arriving in the land of the east. 2He saw a well in the distance. Three flocks of sheep and goats lay in an open field beside it, waiting to be watered. But a heavy stone covered the mouth of the well.
3It was the custom there to wait for all the flocks to arrive before removing the stone and watering the animals. Afterward the stone would be placed back over the mouth of the well. 4Jacob went over to the shepherds and asked, “Where are you from, my friends?”
“We are from Haran,” they answered.
5“Do you know a man there named Laban, the grandson of Nahor?” he asked.
“Yes, we do,” they replied.
6“Is he doing well?” Jacob asked.
“Yes, he’s well,” they answered. “Look, here comes his daughter Rachel with the flock now.”
7Jacob said, “Look, it’s still broad daylight—too early to round up the animals. Why don’t you water the sheep and goats so they can get back out to pasture?”
8“We can’t water the animals until all the flocks have arrived,” they replied. “Then the shepherds move the stone from the mouth of the well, and we water all the sheep and goats.”
9Jacob was still talking with them when Rachel arrived with her father’s flock, for she was a shepherd. 10And because Rachel was his cousin—the daughter of Laban, his mother’s brother—and because the sheep and goats belonged to his uncle Laban, Jacob went over to the well and moved the stone from its mouth and watered his uncle’s flock. 11Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and he wept aloud. 12He explained to Rachel that he was her cousin on her father’s side—the son of her aunt Rebekah. So Rachel quickly ran and told her father, Laban.
13As soon as Laban heard that his nephew Jacob had arrived, he ran out to meet him. He embraced and kissed him and brought him home. When Jacob had told him his story, 14Laban exclaimed, “You really are my own flesh and blood!”
Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel
After Jacob had stayed with Laban for about a month, 15Laban said to him, “You shouldn’t work for me without pay just because we are relatives. Tell me how much your wages should be.”
16Now Laban had two daughters. The older daughter was named Leah, and the younger one was Rachel. 17There was no sparkle in Leah’s eyes,#29:17 Or Leah had dull eyes, or Leah had soft eyes. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain. but Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face. 18Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he told her father, “I’ll work for you for seven years if you’ll give me Rachel, your younger daughter, as my wife.”
19“Agreed!” Laban replied. “I’d rather give her to you than to anyone else. Stay and work with me.” 20So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days.
21Finally, the time came for him to marry her. “I have fulfilled my agreement,” Jacob said to Laban. “Now give me my wife so I can sleep with her.”
22So Laban invited everyone in the neighborhood and prepared a wedding feast. 23But that night, when it was dark, Laban took Leah to Jacob, and he slept with her. 24(Laban had given Leah a servant, Zilpah, to be her maid.)
25But when Jacob woke up in the morning—it was Leah! “What have you done to me?” Jacob raged at Laban. “I worked seven years for Rachel! Why have you tricked me?”
26“It’s not our custom here to marry off a younger daughter ahead of the firstborn,” Laban replied. 27“But wait until the bridal week is over; then we’ll give you Rachel, too—provided you promise to work another seven years for me.”
28So Jacob agreed to work seven more years. A week after Jacob had married Leah, Laban gave him Rachel, too. 29(Laban gave Rachel a servant, Bilhah, to be her maid.) 30So Jacob slept with Rachel, too, and he loved her much more than Leah. He then stayed and worked for Laban the additional seven years.
Jacob’s Many Children
31When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, he enabled her to have children, but Rachel could not conceive. 32So Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben,#29:32 Reuben means “Look, a son!” It also sounds like the Hebrew for “He has seen my misery.” for she said, “The Lord has noticed my misery, and now my husband will love me.”
33She soon became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She named him Simeon,#29:33 Simeon probably means “one who hears.” for she said, “The Lord heard that I was unloved and has given me another son.”
34Then she became pregnant a third time and gave birth to another son. He was named Levi,#29:34 Levi sounds like a Hebrew term that means “being attached” or “feeling affection for.” for she said, “Surely this time my husband will feel affection for me, since I have given him three sons!”
35Once again Leah became pregnant and gave birth to another son. She named him Judah,#29:35 Judah is related to the Hebrew term for “praise.” for she said, “Now I will praise the Lord!” And then she stopped having children.