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Genesis 29

29
Jacob meets Rachel
1Jacob got to his feet and set out for the land of the easterners. 2He saw a well in the field in front of him, near which three flocks of sheep were lying down. That well was their source for water because the flocks drank from that well. A huge stone covered the well’s opening. 3When all of the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone from the well’s opening, water the sheep, and return the stone to its place at the well’s opening. 4Jacob said to them, “Where are you from, my brothers?”
They said, “We’re from Haran.”
5Then he said to them, “Do you know Laban, Nahor’s grandson?”
They said, “We know him.”
6He said to them, “Is he well?”
They said, “He’s fine. In fact, this is his daughter Rachel now, coming with the flock.”
7He said to them, “It’s now only the middle of the day. It’s not time yet to gather the animals. Water the flock, and then go, put them out to pasture.”
8They said to him, “We can’t until all the herds are gathered, and then we#29.8 Or they roll the stone away from the well’s opening and water the flock.”
9While he was still talking to them, Rachel came with her father’s flock since she was its shepherd. 10When Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his uncle, and the flock of Laban, Jacob came up, rolled the stone from the well’s opening, and watered the flock of his uncle Laban. 11Jacob kissed Rachel and wept aloud. 12Jacob told Rachel that he was related to her father and that he was Rebekah’s son. She then ran to tell her father. 13When Laban heard about Jacob his sister’s son, he ran to meet him. Laban embraced him, kissed him, and invited him into his house, where Jacob recounted to Laban everything that had happened. 14Laban said to him, “Yes, you are my flesh and blood.”
Jacob marries Leah and Rachel
After Jacob had stayed with Laban for a month, 15Laban said to Jacob, “You shouldn’t have to work for free just because you are my relative. Tell me what you would like to be paid.”
16Now Laban had two daughters: the older was named Leah and the younger Rachel. 17Leah had delicate eyes,#29.17 Heb uncertain; perhaps Leah had poor eyesight but Rachel had a beautiful figure and was good-looking. 18Jacob loved Rachel and said, “I will work for you for seven years for Rachel, your younger daughter.”
19Laban said, “I’d rather give her to you than to another man. Stay with me.”
20Jacob worked for Rachel for seven years, but it seemed like a few days because he loved her. 21Jacob said to Laban, “The time has come. Give me my wife so that I may sleep with her.” 22So Laban invited all the people of that place and prepared a banquet. 23However, in the evening, he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he slept with her. 24Laban had given his servant Zilpah to his daughter Leah as her servant. 25In the morning, there she was—Leah! Jacob said to Laban, “What have you done to me? Didn’t I work for you to have Rachel? Why did you betray me?”
26Laban said, “Where we live, we don’t give the younger woman before the oldest. 27Complete the celebratory week with this woman. Then I will give#29.27 LXX, Sam, Syr, Tg, Vulg; MT we will give you this other woman too for your work, if you work for me seven more years.” 28So that is what Jacob did. He completed the celebratory week with this woman, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife. 29Laban had given his servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her servant. 30Jacob slept with Rachel, and he loved Rachel more than Leah. He worked for Laban seven more years.
Jacob’s sons are born
31When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, he opened her womb; but Rachel was unable to have children. 32Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben#29.32 Or see, a son because she said, “The LORD saw my harsh treatment, and now my husband will love me.” 33She became pregnant again and gave birth to a son. She said, “The LORD heard that I was unloved, so he gave me this son too,” and she named him Simeon.#29.33 Sounds like the Heb verb hear 34She became pregnant again and gave birth to a son. She said, “Now, this time my husband will embrace me,#29.34 Or be connected to me since I have given birth to three sons for him.” So she named him Levi.#29.34 Sounds like the Heb verb embrace, or connect 35She became pregnant again and gave birth to a son. She said, “This time I will praise the LORD.” So she named him Judah.#29.35 Sounds like the Heb verb praise Then she stopped bearing children.
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1-3Jacob set out again on his way to the people of the east. He noticed a well out in an open field with three flocks of sheep bedded down around it. This was the common well from which the flocks were watered. The stone over the mouth of the well was huge. When all the flocks were gathered, the shepherds would roll the stone from the well and water the sheep; then they would return the stone, covering the well.
4Jacob said, “Hello friends. Where are you from?”
They said, “We’re from Haran.”
5Jacob asked, “Do you know Laban son of Nahor?”
“We do.”
6“Are things well with him?” Jacob continued.
“Very well,” they said. “And here is his daughter Rachel coming with the flock.”
7Jacob said, “There’s a lot of daylight still left; it isn’t time to round up the sheep yet, is it? So why not water the flocks and go back to grazing?”
8“We can’t,” they said. “Not until all the shepherds get here. It takes all of us to roll the stone from the well. Not until then can we water the flocks.”
9-13While Jacob was in conversation with them, Rachel came up with her father’s sheep. She was the shepherd. The moment Jacob spotted Rachel, daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, saw her arriving with his uncle Laban’s sheep, he went and single-handedly rolled the stone from the mouth of the well and watered the sheep of his uncle Laban. Then he kissed Rachel and broke into tears. He told Rachel that he was related to her father, that he was Rebekah’s son. She ran and told her father. When Laban heard the news—Jacob, his sister’s son!—he ran out to meet him, embraced and kissed him and brought him home. Jacob told Laban the story of everything that had happened.
14-15Laban said, “You’re family! My flesh and blood!”
When Jacob had been with him for a month, Laban said, “Just because you’re my nephew, you shouldn’t work for me for nothing. Tell me what you want to be paid. What’s a fair wage?”
16-18Now Laban had two daughters; Leah was the older and Rachel the younger. Leah had nice eyes, but Rachel was stunningly beautiful. And it was Rachel that Jacob loved.
So Jacob answered, “I will work for you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.”
19“It is far better,” said Laban, “that I give her to you than marry her to some outsider. Yes. Stay here with me.”
20So Jacob worked seven years for Rachel. But it only seemed like a few days, he loved her so much.
21-24Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife; I’ve completed what we agreed I’d do. I’m ready to consummate my marriage.” Laban invited everyone around and threw a big feast. At evening, though, he got his daughter Leah and brought her to the marriage bed, and Jacob slept with her. (Laban gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah as her maid.)
25Morning came: There was Leah in the marriage bed!
Jacob confronted Laban, “What have you done to me? Didn’t I work all this time for the hand of Rachel? Why did you cheat me?”
26-27“We don’t do it that way in our country,” said Laban. “We don’t marry off the younger daughter before the older. Enjoy your week of honeymoon, and then we’ll give you the other one also. But it will cost you another seven years of work.”
28-30Jacob agreed. When he’d completed the honeymoon week, Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. (Laban gave his maid Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her maid.) Jacob then slept with her. And he loved Rachel more than Leah. He worked for Laban another seven years.
31-32When God realized that Leah was unloved, he opened her womb. But Rachel was barren. Leah became pregnant and had a son. She named him Reuben (Look-It’s-a-Boy!). “This is a sign,” she said, “that God has seen my misery; and a sign that now my husband will love me.”
33-35She became pregnant again and had another son. “God heard,” she said, “that I was unloved and so he gave me this son also.” She named this one Simeon (God-Heard). She became pregnant yet again—another son. She said, “Now maybe my husband will connect with me—I’ve given him three sons!” That’s why she named him Levi (Connect). She became pregnant a final time and had a fourth son. She said, “This time I’ll praise God.” So she named him Judah (Praise-God). Then she stopped having children.