Jacob Meets Rachel
1Jacob resumed his journey and came to the land of the people of the east. 2He looked and saw a well in the field, and near it lay three flocks of sheep, because the sheep were watered from this well. And a large stone covered the mouth of the well. 3When all the flocks had been gathered there, the shepherds would roll away the stone from the mouth of the well and water the sheep. Then they would return the stone to its place over the mouth of the well.
4“My brothers,” Jacob asked the shepherds, “where are you from?”
“We are from Haran,” they answered.
5“Do you know Laban the grandson of Nahor?” Jacob asked.
“We know him,” they replied.
6“Is he well?” Jacob inquired.
“Yes,” they answered, “and here comes his daughter Rachel with his sheep.”
7“Look,” said Jacob, “it is still broad daylight; it is not yet time to gather the livestock. Water the sheep and take them back to pasture.”
8But they replied, “We cannot, until all the flocks have been gathered and the stone has been rolled away from the mouth of the well. Then we will water the sheep.”
9While he was still speaking with them, Rachel arrived with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess. 10As soon as Jacob saw Rachel, the daughter of his mother’s brother Laban, with Laban’s sheep, he went up and rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well and watered his uncle’s sheep. 11Then Jacob kissed Rachel and wept aloud. 12He told Rachel that he was Rebekah’s son, a relative of her father, and she ran and told her father.
13When Laban heard the news about his sister’s son Jacob, he ran out to meet him. He embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his home, where Jacob told him all that had happened.
Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel
14Then Laban declared, “You are indeed my own flesh and blood.”
After Jacob had stayed with him a month, 15Laban said to him, “Just because you are my relative, should you work for nothing? Tell me what your wages should be.”
16Now Laban had two daughters; the older was named Leah, and the younger was named Rachel. 17Leah had weak eyes,#29:17 Or had delicate eyes but Rachel was shapely and beautiful. 18Since Jacob loved Rachel, he answered, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.”
19Laban replied, “Better that I give her to you than to another. Stay here with me.” 20So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, yet it seemed but a few days because of his love for her.
21Finally Jacob said to Laban, “Grant me my wife, for my time is complete, and I want to sleep with her.”
22So Laban invited all the men of that place and prepared a feast. 23But when evening came, Laban took his daughter Leah and gave her to Jacob, and he slept with her. 24And Laban gave his servant girl Zilpah to his daughter Leah as her maidservant.
25When morning came, there was Leah! “What have you done to me?” Jacob said to Laban. “Wasn’t it for Rachel that I served you? Why have you deceived me?”
26Laban replied, “It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older. 27Finish this week’s celebration, and we will give you the younger one in return for another seven years of work.”
28And Jacob did just that. He finished the week’s celebration, and Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife. 29Laban also gave his servant girl Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her maidservant.
30Jacob slept with Rachel as well, and indeed, he loved Rachel more than Leah. So he worked for Laban another seven years.
Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah
31When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren. 32And Leah conceived and gave birth to a son, and she named him Reuben,#29:32 Reuben means Look, a son and also sounds like the Hebrew for He has seen my misery. for she said, “The Lord has seen my affliction. Surely my husband will love me now.”
33Again she conceived and gave birth to a son, and she said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am unloved, He has given me this son as well.” So she named him Simeon.#29:33 Simeon probably means one who hears.
34Once again Leah conceived and gave birth to a son, and she said, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” So he was named Levi.#29:34 Levi sounds like the Hebrew for being attached to or feeling affection for.
35And once more she conceived and gave birth to a son and said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” So she named him Judah.#29:35 Judah sounds like the Hebrew for praise. Then Leah stopped having children.