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Genesis 29

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.
29
1Then Jacob went on in his journey, and came into the east country.
2And he saw a well in the field, and three flocks of sheep lying by it: for the beasts were watered out of it, and the mouth thereof was closed with a great stone.
3And the custom was, when all the sheep were gathered together, to roll away the stone, and after the sheep were watered, to put it on the mouth of the well again.
4And he said to the shepherds: Brethren, whence are you? They answered: Of Haran.
5And he asked them, saying: Know you Laban the son of Nachor? They said: We know him.
6He said: Is he in health? He is in health, say they: and behold Rachel his daughter cometh with his flock.
7And Jacob said: There is yet much day remaining, neither is it time to bring the flocks into the folds again. First give the sheep drink, and so lead them back to feed.
8They answered: We cannot, till all the cattle be gathered together, and we remove the stone from the well's mouth, that we may water the flocks.
9They were yet speaking, and behold Rachel came with her father's sheep: for she fed the flock.
10And when Jacob saw her, and knew her to be his cousin-german, and that they were the sheep of Laban, his uncle: he removed the stone wherewith the well was closed.
11And having watered the flock, he kissed her: and lifting up his voice, wept.
12And he told her that he was her father's brother, and the son of Rebecca. But she went in haste and told her father.
13Who, when he heard that Jacob his sister's son was come, ran forth to meet him; and embracing him, and heartily kissing him, brought him into his house. And when he had heard the causes of his journey,
14He answered: Thou art my bone and my flesh. And after the days of one month were expired,
15He said to him: Because thou art my brother, shalt thou serve me without wages? Tell me what wages thou wilt have.
16Now he had two daughters, the name of the elder was Lia: and the younger was called Rachel.
17But Lia was blear eyed: Rachel was well favoured, and of a beautiful countenance.
18And Jacob being in love with her said: I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.
19Lahan answered: It is better that I give her to thee than to another man; stay with me.
20So Jacob served seven years for Rachel: and they seemed but a few days, because of the greatness of his love.
21And he said to Laban: Give me my wife; for now the time is fulfilled, that I may go in unto her.
22And he, having invited a great number of his friends to the feast, made the marriage.
23And at night he brought in Lia, his daughter, to him,
24Giving his daughter a handmaid, named Zalpha. Now when Jacob had gone in to her according to custom, when morning was come he saw it was Lia:
25And he said to his father-in-law: What is it that thou didst mean to do? did not I serve thee for Rachel? Why hast thou deceived me?
26Laban answered: It is not the custom in this plac, to give the younger in marriage first.
27Make up the week of days of this match: and I will give thee her also, for the service that thou shalt render me other seven years.
28He yielded to his pleasure: and after the week was past, he married Rachel.
29To whom her father gave Bala for her servant.
30And having at length obtained the marriage he wished for, he preferred the love of the latter before the former, and served with him other seven years.
31And the Lord seeing that he despised Lia, opened her womb, but her sister remained barren.
32And she conceived and bore a son, and called his name Ruben, saying: The Lord saw my affliction, now my husband will love me.
33And again she conceived and bore a son, and said: Because the Lord heard that I was despised, he hath given this also to me. And she called his name Simeon.
34And she conceived the third time, and bore another son: and said: Now also my husband will be joined to me, because I have borne him three sons. And therefore she called his name Levi.
35The fourth time she conceived and bore a son, and said: Now will I praise the Lord. And for this she called him Juda. And she left bearing.