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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 in Northwest Mesopotamia
1Then Jacob continued his journey. He came to the land of the people of the East. 2He looked and saw a well in the field. Three flocks of sheep were lying nearby, because they drank water from this well. A large stone covered the mouth of the well. 3All the flocks would gather there. The shepherds would roll the stone away from the well and water the sheep. Then they would put the stone back in its place.
4Jacob said to the shepherds there, “My brothers, where are you from?”
They answered, “We are from Haran.”
5Then Jacob asked, “Do you know Laban grandson of Nahor?”
They answered, “We know him.”
6Then Jacob asked, “How is he?”
They answered, “He is well. Look, his daughter Rachel is coming now with his sheep.”
7Jacob said, “But look, it is still the middle part of the day. It is not time for the sheep to be gathered for the night. So give them water and let them go back into the pasture.”
8But they said, “We cannot do that until all the flocks are gathered. Then we will roll away the stone from the mouth of the well and water the sheep.”
9While Jacob was talking with the shepherds, Rachel came with her father’s sheep. It was her job to take care of the sheep. 10Then Jacob saw Laban’s daughter Rachel and Laban’s sheep. So he went to the well and rolled the stone from its mouth. Then he watered Laban’s sheep. Now Laban was the brother of Rebekah, Jacob’s mother. 11Then Jacob kissed Rachel and cried. 12He told her that he was from her father’s family. He said 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, Laban 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, “You are my own flesh and blood.”
Jacob Is Tricked
So Jacob stayed there a month. 15Then Laban said to Jacob, “You are my relative. But it is not right for you to keep on working for me without pay. What would you like me to pay you?”
16Now Laban had two daughters. The older was Leah, and the younger was Rachel. 17Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel was very beautiful. 18Jacob loved Rachel. So he said to Laban, “Let me marry your younger daughter Rachel. If you will, I will work seven years for you.”
19Laban said, “It would be better for her to marry you than someone else. So stay here with me.” 20So Jacob worked for Laban seven years so he could marry Rachel. But they seemed to him like just a few days. This was because he loved Rachel very much.
21After seven years Jacob said to Laban, “Give me Rachel so that I may marry her. The time I promised to work for you is over.”
22So Laban gave a feast for all the people there. 23That evening Laban brought his daughter Leah to Jacob. Jacob and Leah had intimate relations together. 24(Laban gave his slave girl Zilpah to his daughter to be her servant.) 25In the morning Jacob saw that he had had intimate relations with Leah! He said to Laban, “What have you done to me? I worked hard for you so that I could marry Rachel! Why did you trick me?”
26Laban said, “In our country we do not allow the younger daughter to marry before the older daughter. 27But complete the full week of the marriage ceremony with Leah. I will give you Rachel to marry also. But you must serve me another seven years.”
28So Jacob did this and completed the week with Leah. Then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as a wife. 29(Laban gave his slave girl Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her servant.) 30So Jacob had intimate 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 the Lord made it possible for Leah to have children. But Rachel did not have any children. 32Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben,# This name sounds like the Hebrew word for “he has seen my troubles.” because she said, “The Lord has seen my troubles. Surely now my husband will love me.”
33Leah became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She named him Simeon.# This name sounds like the Hebrew word for “has heard.” She said, “The Lord has heard that I am not loved. So he gave me this son.”
34Leah became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She named him Levi.# This name sounds like the Hebrew word for “be close to.” Leah said, “Now, surely my husband will be close to me. I have given him three sons.”
35Then Leah gave birth to another son. She named him Judah.# This name sounds like the Hebrew word for “praise.” Leah named him this because she said, “Now I will praise the Lord.” Then Leah stopped having children.