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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’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.