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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
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.