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Genesis 29

29
Jacob Arrives at Laban's Home
1Jacob continued on his way and went toward the land of the East. 2Suddenly he came upon a well out in the fields with three flocks of sheep lying around it. The flocks were watered from this well, which had a large stone over the opening. 3Whenever all the flocks came together there, the shepherds would roll the stone back and water them. Then they would put the stone back in place.
4Jacob asked the shepherds, “My friends, where are you from?”
“From Haran,” they answered.
5He asked, “Do you know Laban, grandson of Nahor?”
“Yes, we do,” they answered.
6“Is he well?” he asked.
“He is well,” they answered. “Look, here comes his daughter Rachel with his flock.”
7Jacob said, “Since it is still broad daylight and not yet time to bring the flocks in, why don't you water them and take them back to pasture?”
8They answered, “We can't do that until all the flocks are here and the stone has been rolled back; then we will water the flocks.”
9While Jacob was still talking with them, Rachel arrived with the flock. 10When Jacob saw Rachel with his uncle Laban's flock, he went to the well, rolled the stone back, and watered the sheep. 11Then he kissed her and began to cry for joy. 12He told her, “I am your father's relative, the son of Rebecca.”
She ran to tell her father; 13and when he heard the news about his nephew Jacob, he ran to meet him, hugged him and kissed him, and brought him into the house. When Jacob told Laban everything that had happened, 14Laban said, “Yes, indeed, you are my own flesh and blood.” Jacob stayed there a whole month.
Jacob Serves Laban for Rachel and Leah
15Laban said to Jacob, “You shouldn't work for me for nothing just because you are my relative. How much pay do you want?” 16Laban had two daughters; the older was named Leah, and the younger Rachel. 17Leah had lovely#29.17: lovely; or weak. eyes, but Rachel was shapely and beautiful.
18Jacob was in love with Rachel, so he said, “I will work seven years for you, if you will let me marry Rachel.”
19Laban answered, “I would rather give her to you than to anyone else; stay here with me.” 20Jacob worked seven years so that he could have Rachel, and the time seemed like only a few days to him, because he loved her.
21Then Jacob said to Laban, “The time is up; let me marry your daughter.” 22So Laban gave a wedding feast and invited everyone. 23But that night, instead of Rachel, he took Leah to Jacob, and Jacob had intercourse with her. ( 24Laban gave his slave woman Zilpah to his daughter Leah as her maid.) 25Not until the next morning did Jacob discover that it was Leah. He went to Laban and said, “Why did you do this to me? I worked to get Rachel. Why have you tricked me?”
26Laban answered, “It is not the custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older. 27Wait until the week's marriage celebrations are over, and I will give you Rachel, if you will work for me another seven years.”
28Jacob agreed, and when the week of marriage celebrations was over, Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife. ( 29Laban gave his slave woman Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her maid.) 30Jacob had intercourse with Rachel also, and he loved her more than Leah. Then he worked for Laban another seven years.
The Children Born to Jacob
31When the Lord saw that Leah was loved less than Rachel, he made it possible for her to have children, but Rachel remained childless. 32Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She said, “The Lord has seen my trouble, and now my husband will love me”; so she named him Reuben.#29.32: Reuben: This name sounds like the Hebrew for “see, a son” and “has seen my trouble.” 33She became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She said, “The Lord has given me this son also, because he heard that I was not loved”; so she named him Simeon.#29.33: Simeon: This name sounds like the Hebrew for “hear.” 34Once again she became pregnant and gave birth to another son. She said, “Now my husband will be bound more tightly to me, because I have borne him three sons”; so she named him Levi.#29.34: Levi: This name sounds like the Hebrew for “bound.” 35Then she became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She said, “This time I will praise the Lord”; so she named him Judah.#29.35: Judah: This name sounds like the Hebrew for “praise.” Then she stopped having children.
29
1Jacob went quickly on his way,#29:1. “Went quickly on his way”: literally, “lifted up his feet.” and arrived in the land of the eastern people. 2As he looked around he saw a well in a field with three flocks of sheep lying down beside it, waiting to be given water. A large stone covered the top of the well. 3The usual practice was that#29:3. “The usual practice was that”: supplied for clarity. once all the flocks had arrived, the shepherds would roll away the stone from the well and give their sheep water. Then they would put the stone back again.
4Jacob asked them, “My brothers, where are you from?”
“We're from Haran,” they replied.
5“Do you know Laban, Nahor's grandson?” he asked.
“Yes, we know him,” they replied.
6“How is he?” he asked.
“He's well,” they replied. “Look! In fact here's his daughter Rachel coming with the sheep right now.”
7“Look, there's still plenty of daylight left,” said Jacob. “It's too early to round up the sheep yet. Why not let them drink so they can go back to grazing?”
8“We can't do that until all the flocks have arrived,” they told him. “Then we roll away the stone from the well and let the sheep drink.”
9While he was still talking with them Rachel arrived with the flock she was looking after for her father. 10When Jacob saw Rachel, the daughter of Laban, his mother's brother, he went over and rolled away the stone from the well so Laban's sheep could drink. 11Then Jacob kissed Rachel and wept for joy. 12(He had told her that he was the son of Laban's brother and Rebekah.) She ran and told her father what had happened.
13As soon as Laban heard the news about Jacob he ran out to meet him. He hugged him and kissed him, and took him home. After Jacob had explained everything to Laban, 14Laban told him, “No question about it—you're my own flesh and blood!” Jacob stayed with Laban for a month.
15One day Laban said to him, “You're my relative so you shouldn't be working for me for nothing! Tell me, what should I pay you?”
16Laban had two daughters. The older one was Leah, and the younger one was Rachel. 17Leah had kind#29:17. “Kind”: literally, “soft” or “gentle.” eyes, but Rachel had a shapely figure and beautiful looks. 18Jacob was in love with Rachel so he promised Laban, “I'll do seven years work#29:18. “Seven years work”: in contrast to Abraham's servant Eliezer (chapter 24) Jacob had arrived with no gifts or dowry, so he offers his service as payment in kind. for you for Rachel, your younger daughter.”
19“Well it's better for me to give her to you than anyone else,” Laban replied. “So stay here and work for me.” 20Jacob worked for Laban for seven years, but to him they seemed like just a few days because he really loved her.
21Then Jacob said to Laban, “I've completed the time we agreed. Now give me your daughter to be my wife.”
22So Laban organized a wedding banquet#29:22. “A wedding banquet”: the word actually means “a drinking party,” which is probably the only way the deception could have been successful. and invited everyone around to come. 23But once it was dark Laban brought his daughter Leah to Jacob, and he slept with her. 24(Laban also arranged for his servant Zilpah to be Leah's personal maid.)
25When morning came, he saw it was Leah! He went to Laban and asked angrily, “What have you done to me? It was for Rachel that I worked for you! Why have you deceived me?”
26“Here we don't give the younger daughter in marriage before the firstborn,” Laban replied. 27“Finish this week of wedding celebrations and then I'll give you the other daughter as well, as long as you work another seven years for me.”
28Jacob agreed. He finished the week of wedding celebrations for Leah, and then Laban gave Jacob his daughter Rachel as his wife as well. 29(Laban also arranged for his servant Bilhah to be Rachel's personal maid.) 30So Jacob slept with Rachel as well, and he loved Rachel more than Leah. He worked for Laban another seven years for Rachel.
31The Lord saw that Leah wasn't loved he helped Leah to have children, but not Rachel. 32Leah became pregnant, and had a son she named Reuben,#29:32. “Reuben”: means “Look, a son!” and also sounds like “he saw my suffering.” for she said, “The Lord saw how much I was suffering and now my husband will love me!”
33Then Leah became pregnant again, and had another son. She said, “The Lord has heard that I'm not loved so he gave me this son.” So she named him Simeon.#29:33. “Simeon”: means “he hears.”
34Leah became pregnant for the third time, and had another son. She said, “Finally my husband will be attached to me because now I've given him three sons.” That's why he was named Levi.#29:34. “Levi”: means “attached” or “joined.”
35Once again Leah became pregnant and had another son. She named him Judah,#29:35. “Judah”: means “praise.” for she said, “Now I can really praise the Lord!” After that she had no more children.