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Genesis 29

29
1 And so Jacob, setting out, arrived in the eastern land.
2 And he saw a well in a field, and also three flocks of sheep reclining near it. For the animals were watered from it, and its mouth was closed with a great stone.
3 And the custom was, when all the sheep were gathered together, to roll away the stone. And when the flocks had been refreshed, they placed it over the mouth of the well again.
4 And he said to the shepherds, "Brothers, where are you from?" And they answered. "From Haran."
5 And questioning them, he said, "Do you know Laban, the son of Nahor?" They said, "We know him."
6 He said, "Is he well?" "He is very well," they said. "And behold, his daughter Rachel approaches with his flock."
7 And Jacob said, "There is still much daylight remaining, and it is not time to return the flocks to the sheepfold. Give the sheep to drink first, and then lead them back to pasture."
8 They responded, "We cannot, until all the animals are gathered together and we remove the stone from the mouth of the well, so that we may water the flocks."
9 They were still speaking, and behold, Rachel arrived with her father's sheep; for she pastured the flock.
10 When Jacob had seen her, and he realized that she was his maternal first cousin, and that these were the sheep of his uncle Laban, he removed the stone which closed the well.
11 And having watered the flock, he kissed her. And lifting up his voice, he wept.
12 And he revealed to her that he was a brother of her father, and the son of Rebekah. And so, hurrying, she announced it to her father.
13 And when he had heard that Jacob, his sister's son, had arrived, he ran to meet him. And embracing him, and kissing him heartily, he brought him into his house. But when he had heard the reasons for his journey,
14 he responded, "You are my bone and my flesh." And after the days of one month were completed,
15 he said to him: "Though you are my brother, will you serve me for nothing? Tell me what wages you would accept."
16 In truth, he had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah; and truly the younger was called Rachel.
17 But while Leah was bleary-eyed, Rachel had an elegant appearance and was attractive to behold.
18 And Jacob, loving her, said, "I will serve you for seven years, for your younger daughter Rachel."
19 Laban responded, "It is better that I give her to you than to another man; remain with me."
20 Therefore, Jacob served for seven years for Rachel. And these seemed like only a few days, because of the greatness of love.
21 And he said to Laban, "Give my wife to me. For now the time has been fulfilled, so that I may go in to her."
22 And he, having called a great crowd of his friends to the feast, agreed to the marriage.
23 And at night, he brought in his daughter Leah to him,
24 giving his daughter a handmaid named Zilpah. After Jacob had gone in to her, according to custom, when morning had arrived, he saw Leah.
25 And he said to his father-in-law, "What is it that you intended to do? Did I not serve you for Rachel? Why have you deceived me?"
26 Laban responded, "It is not the practice in this place to give the younger in marriage first.
27 Complete a week of days with this mating. And then I will give this one to you also, for the service that you will provide to me for another seven years."
28 He agreed to his pleading. And after the week had passed, he took Rachel as a wife.
29 To her, the father had given Bilhah as her servant.
30 And, having at last obtained the marriage he desired, he preferred the love of the latter before the former, and he served with him another seven years.
31 But the Lord, seeing that he despised Leah, opened her womb, but her sister remained barren.
32 Having conceived, she gave birth to a son, and she called his name Reuben, saying: "The Lord saw my humiliation; now my husband will love me."
33 And again she conceived and bore a son, and she said, "Because the Lord heard that I was treated with contempt, he has also given this one to me." And she called his name Simeon.
34 And she conceived a third time, and she gave birth to another son, and she said: "Now likewise my husband will unite with me, because I have borne him three sons." And because of this, she called his name Levi.
35 A fourth time she conceived and bore a son, and she said, "Only now will I confess to the Lord." And for this reason, she called him Judah. And she ceased from child-bearing.
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.