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Genesis 29

29
Jacob Arrives at Laban's Home
1As Jacob continued on his way to the east, 2he looked out in a field and saw a well where shepherds took their sheep for water. Three flocks of sheep were lying around the well, which was covered with a large rock. 3Shepherds would roll the rock away when all their sheep had gathered there. Then after the sheep had been watered, the shepherds would roll the rock back over the mouth of the well.
4Jacob asked the shepherds, “Where are you from?”
“We're from Haran,” they answered.
5Then he asked, “Do you know Nahor's grandson Laban?”
“Yes we do,” they replied.
6“How is he?” Jacob asked.
“He's fine,” they answered. “And here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep.”
7Jacob told them, “Look, the sun is still high up in the sky, and it's too early to bring in the rest of the flocks. Water your sheep and take them back to the pasture.”
8But they replied, “We can't do that until they all get here, and the rock has been rolled away from the well.”
9While Jacob was still talking with the men, his cousin Rachel came up with her father's sheep. 10When Jacob saw her and his uncle's sheep, he rolled the rock away and watered the sheep. 11He then kissed Rachel and started crying because he was so happy. 12He told her that he was the son of her aunt Rebekah, and she ran and told her father about him.
13As soon as Laban heard the news, he ran out to meet Jacob. He hugged and kissed him and brought him to his home, where Jacob told him everything that had happened. 14Laban said, “You are my nephew, and you are like one of my own family.”
Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel
After Jacob had been there for a month, 15Laban said to him, “You shouldn't have to work without pay, just because you are a relative of mine. What do you want me to give you?”
16-17Laban had two daughters. Leah was older than Rachel, but her eyes didn't sparkle,#29.16,17 but her eyes didn't sparkle: Or “and her eyes sparkled.” while Rachel was beautiful and had a good figure. 18Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he answered, “If you will let me marry Rachel, I'll work seven years for you.”
19Laban replied, “It's better for me to let you marry Rachel than for someone else to have her. So stay and work for me.” 20Jacob worked seven years for Laban, but the time seemed like only a few days, because he loved Rachel so much.
21Jacob said to Laban, “The time is up, and I want to marry Rachel now!” 22So Laban gave a big feast and invited all their neighbors. 23But that evening he brought Leah to Jacob, who married her and spent the night with her. 24Laban also gave Zilpah to Leah as her servant woman.
25The next morning Jacob found out that he had married Leah, and he asked Laban, “Why did you do this to me? Didn't I work to get Rachel? Why did you trick me?”
26Laban replied, “In our country the older daughter must get married first. 27After you spend this week#29.27 this week: The wedding feast lasted for seven days (see Judges 14.12,17). with Leah, you may also marry Rachel. But you will have to work for me another seven years.”
28-30At the end of the week of celebration, Laban let Jacob marry Rachel, and he gave her his servant woman Bilhah. Jacob loved Rachel more than he did Leah, but he had to work another seven years for Laban.
31The Lord knew that Jacob loved Rachel more than he did Leah, and so he gave children to Leah, but not to Rachel. 32Leah gave birth to a son and named him Reuben.#29.32 Reuben: In Hebrew “Reuben” means, “Look, a son!” Then she said, “The Lord has taken away my sorrow. Now my husband will love me more than he does Rachel.” 33She had a second son and named him Simeon,#29.33 Simeon: In Hebrew “Simeon” sounds like “someone who hears.” because she said, “The Lord has heard that my husband doesn't love me.” 34When Leah's third son was born, she said, “Now my husband will hold me close.” So this son was named Levi.#29.34 hold me close … Levi: In Hebrew “Levi” sounds like “hold (someone) close.” 35She had one more son and named him Judah,#29.35 Judah: In Hebrew “Judah” sounds like “praise.” because she said, “I'll praise the Lord!”
29
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.