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Genesis 29

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.
29
Jacob Meets Rachel
1Then Jacob #Lit raised his feet.went on his way and came to the land of the people of the East [near Haran]. 2As he looked, he saw a well in the field, and three flocks of sheep lying there [resting] beside it because the flocks were watered from that well. Now the stone on the mouth of the well [that covered and protected it] was large, 3and when all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone from the mouth of the well, water the sheep, and [afterward] replace the stone on the mouth of the well.
4Jacob said to them, “My brothers, where are you from?” And they said, “We are from Haran.” 5So he said to them, “Do you know Laban the grandson of Nahor [Abraham’s brother]?” And they replied, “We know him.” 6And he asked them, “#Lit Is peace (Heb shalom) to him?Is it well with him?” And they said, “He is doing well; look, here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep!” 7Jacob said, “Look, the sun is still high [overhead]; it is a long time before the flocks need to be gathered [in their folds for the night]. Water the sheep, and go, and return them to their pasture.” 8But they said, “We cannot [leave] until all the flocks are gathered together, and the shepherds roll the stone from the mouth of the well; then we will water the sheep.”
9While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess. 10When Jacob saw [his cousin] Rachel, the daughter of Laban, his mother’s brother, and Laban’s sheep, he came up and rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well and watered the flock of Laban, his uncle. 11Then Jacob kissed Rachel [in greeting], and he raised his voice and wept. 12Jacob told Rachel he was her father’s relative, Rebekah’s son; and she ran and told her father.
13When Laban heard of the arrival of Jacob, his sister’s son, he ran to meet him, and embraced and kissed him and brought him to his house. Then he told Laban all these things. 14Then Laban said to him, “You are my bone and my flesh.” And Jacob stayed with him a month.
15Then Laban said to Jacob, “Just because you are my relative, should you work for 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 weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. 18Jacob loved Rachel, so he said, “I will serve you [as a hired workman] for seven years [in return] for [the privilege of marrying] Rachel your younger daughter.” 19Laban said, “It is better that I give her [in marriage] to you than give her to another man. Stay and work with me.” 20So Jacob served [Laban] for seven years for [the right to marry] Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.
Laban’s Treachery
21Finally, Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my time [of service] is completed, so that I may take her to me [as my wife].” 22So Laban gathered together all the men of the place and prepared a [wedding] #The wedding feast was usually a lavish event lasting seven days. A wide variety of food was served along with wine, which was sometimes fortified with spices.feast [with wine]. 23But in the evening he took Leah his daughter and brought her to Jacob, and Jacob #Laban must have made sure that Jacob was thoroughly intoxicated before he attempted to switch the daughters.went in to [consummate the marriage with] her. 24Laban also gave Zilpah his maid to his daughter Leah as a maid. 25But in the morning [when Jacob awoke], it was Leah [who was with him]! And he said to Laban, “What is this that you have done to me? Did I not work for you [for seven years] for Rachel? Why have you deceived and betrayed me [like this]?” 26But Laban only said, “It is not #Lit done this way in.the tradition here to give the younger [daughter in marriage] before the older. 27Finish the week [of the wedding feast] for Leah; then we will give you Rachel also, and in return you shall work for me for seven more years.” 28So Jacob complied and fulfilled Leah’s week [of celebration]; then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as his [second] wife. 29Laban also gave Bilhah his maid to his daughter Rachel as a maid. 30So Jacob consummated his marriage and lived with Rachel [as his wife], and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and he served with Laban for another seven years.
31Now when the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, He #Lit opened her womb.made her able to bear children, but Rachel was barren. 32Leah conceived and gave birth to a son and named him Reuben (See, a son!), for she said, “Because the Lord has seen my humiliation and suffering; now my husband will love me [since I have given him a son].” 33Then she conceived again and gave birth to a son and said, “Because the Lord heard that I am unloved, He has given me this son also.” So she named him Simeon (God hears). 34She conceived again and gave birth to a son and said, “Now this time my husband will become attached to me [as a companion], for I have given him three sons.” Therefore he was named #The exact meaning is uncertain, perhaps companion or attached or joined.Levi. 35Again she conceived and gave birth to a [fourth] son, and she said, “Now I will praise the Lord.” So she named him #Possibly an abbreviation of “Praise YHWH.”Judah; then [for a time] she stopped bearing [children].