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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 continued his trip. He went to the country in the East. 2He looked and saw a well in the field. There were three flocks of sheep lying near the well, where the sheep drank water. There was a large rock covering the mouth of the well. 3When all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the rock away from the well. Then all the sheep could drink from the water. After the sheep were full, the shepherds would put the rock back in its place.
4Jacob said to the shepherds there, “Brothers, where are you from?”
They answered, “We are from Haran.”
5Then Jacob said, “Do you know Laban, the son of Nahor?”
The shepherds answered, “We know him.”
6Then Jacob said, “How is he?”
They answered, “He is well. Look, that is his daughter Rachel coming now with his sheep.”
7Jacob said, “Look, it is still day and long before the sun sets. It is not yet time for the animals to be gathered together for the night. So give them water and let them go back into the field.”
8But they said, “We cannot do that until all the flocks are gathered together. Then we will move the rock from the well, and all the sheep will drink.”
9While Jacob was talking with the shepherds, Rachel came with her father’s sheep. (It was her job to take care of the sheep.) 10Rachel was Laban’s daughter. Laban was the brother of Rebekah, Jacob’s mother. When Jacob saw Rachel, he went and moved the rock and gave water to the sheep. 11Then Jacob kissed Rachel and cried. 12He told her that he was from her father’s family. He told her that he was the son of Rebekah. So Rachel ran home and told her father.
13When Laban heard the news about his sister’s son Jacob, he ran to meet him. Laban hugged him and kissed him and brought him to his house. Jacob told Laban everything that had happened.
14Then Laban said, “This is wonderful! You are from my own family.” So Jacob stayed with Laban for a month.
Laban Tricks Jacob
15One day Laban said to Jacob, “You are a relative of mine. It is not right for you to continue working for me without pay. What should I pay you?”
16Now Laban had two daughters. The older was Leah and the younger was Rachel.
17Leah’s eyes were gentle,#29:17 Leah’s eyes were gentle This might be a polite way of saying Leah was not very pretty. but Rachel was beautiful. 18Jacob loved Rachel, so he said to Laban, “I will work seven years for you if you will allow me to marry your daughter Rachel.”
19Laban said, “It would be better for her to marry you than someone else. So stay with me.”
20So Jacob stayed and worked for Laban for seven years. But it seemed like a very short time because he loved Rachel very much.
21After seven years Jacob said to Laban, “Give me Rachel so that I can marry her. My time of work for you is finished.”
22So Laban gave a party for all the people in that place. 23That night Laban brought his daughter Leah to Jacob. Jacob and Leah had sexual relations together. 24(Laban gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter to be her maid.) 25In the morning Jacob saw that it was Leah he had slept with, and he said to Laban, “You have tricked me. I worked hard for you so that I could marry Rachel. Why did you trick me?”
26Laban said, “In our country we don’t allow the younger daughter to marry before the older daughter. 27Continue for the full week of the marriage ceremony, and I will also give you Rachel to marry. But you must serve me another seven years.”
28So Jacob did this and finished the week. Then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as a wife. 29(Laban gave his maid Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her maid.) 30So Jacob had sexual relations with Rachel also. And Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah. Jacob worked for Laban for another seven years.
Jacob’s Family Grows
31The Lord saw that Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah, so he made it possible for Leah to have children. But Rachel did not have any children.
32Leah gave birth to a son, and she named him Reuben.#29:32 Reuben This is like the Hebrew word meaning “Look, a son.” She named him this because she said, “The Lord has seen my troubles. My husband does not love me. So now maybe my husband will love me.”
33Leah became pregnant again and had another son. She named this son Simeon.#29:33 Simeon This is like the Hebrew word meaning “He hears.” She said, “The Lord has heard that I am not loved, so he gave me this son.”
34Leah became pregnant again and had another son. She named this son Levi.#29:34 Levi This is like the Hebrew word meaning “accompany,” “be joined together,” or “become close.” She said, “Now, surely my husband will love me. I have given him three sons.”
35Then Leah gave birth to another son. She named this son Judah.#29:35 Judah This name is like the word meaning “He is praised.” Leah named him this because she said, “Now I will praise the Lord.” Then Leah stopped having children.