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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’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.