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Genesis 29

29
Jacob Loves Rachel
1Then Jacob lifted up his feet and went to the land of the peoples of the east.
2When he looked, suddenly, there was a well in the field, and there were three herds of sheep resting by it. (For from that well they would water the flocks. The stone on the mouth of the well was large.
3When all the herds gathered there, they would roll away the stone from the mouth of the well and water the flocks, and put the stone back to its place over the mouth of the well.)
4Jacob said to them, “My brothers, where are you from?” “We’re from Haran,” they said.
5So he said to them, “Do you know Laban, Nahor’s son?” They said, “We know.”
6He said to them, “Is he well?” “Well,” they said. “Look, here comes his daughter Rachel with the flock.”
7He said, “Since it’s still the middle of the day, it’s not time for the livestock to be gathered. Water the flock and let them go and graze.”
8But they said, “We can’t, not until all the flocks are gathered and the stone is rolled away from the mouth of the well—then we water the flock.”
9While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with the flock that belonged to her father (for she was a shepherdess).
10Now when Jacob saw Rachel (the daughter of Laban, his mother’s brother), Jacob stepped forward and rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well and watered the flock of Laban, his mother’s brother.
11Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice and wept.
12Then Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s relative and that he was Rebekah’s son. So she ran and told her father.
13Now when Laban heard the news about Jacob, his sister’s son, he ran to meet him, hugged and kissed him, and brought him to his house. Then he told Laban all these things.
14Laban said to him, “Surely you are my own bone and flesh.” And he stayed with him for a month.
15Then Laban said to Jacob, “Should you, my relative, serve me for nothing? Tell me, what should your wages be?”
16Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.
17Leah’s eyes were delicate, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance.
18Jacob was in love with Rachel, so he said, “Let me serve you for seven years for Rachel your younger daughter.”
19Laban said, “It’s better that I give her to you than I give her to another man! Stay with me.”
20So Jacob worked for Rachel seven years, yet in his eyes it was like a few days, because of his love for her.
21Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my days are completed, so I may go to her.”
22So Laban gathered all the men of the place and he prepared a feast.
23When it was evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to him, and he went to her.
24Laban also gave her Zilpah his female servant to his daughter Leah as a female servant.
25So when it was morning, behold there she was, Leah! So he said to Laban, “What is this you’ve done to me? Wasn’t it for Rachel that I worked with you? So why have you deceived me?”
26But Laban said, “It’s not done so in our place—to give the younger before the first-born.
27Complete the bridal week for this one. Then we’ll also give you this other—for work that you’ll do with me—another seven years more.”
28So Jacob did; he also completed this one’s bridal week. Then he gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife.
29Laban also gave his daughter Rachel his female servant Bilhah, to be a servant for her.
30Jacob also went to Rachel and indeed loved Rachel more than Leah. So he served with him for yet another seven years.
Rivalry Continues With Wives
31Now Adonai saw that Leah was unloved, so he opened her womb; but Rachel was unable to conceive.
32Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son and named him Reuben because she said, “For Adonai has seen my affliction. Surely now my husband will love me.”
33Then she became pregnant again and gave birth to a son, and said, “For Adonai heard that I am hated, so He’s given me this one also,” and she named him Simeon.
34Then she became pregnant again and gave birth to a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will join himself to me because I’ve given birth to three sons for him.” For this reason he was named Levi.
35Then she became pregnant again and gave birth to a son and said, “This time I praise Adonai.” For this reason she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children.
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.