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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 Flees to Haran
1And Jacob continued his journey#Literally “lifted up his feet” and went to the land of the Easterners.#Or “children of the east” 2And he looked, and behold, there was a well in the field, and behold, there were three flocks of sheep lying beside it, for out of that well the flocks were watered. And the stone on the mouth of the well was large. 3And when all the flocks were gathered there, they rolled away the stone from the mouth of the well. And they watered the sheep and returned the stone upon the mouth of the well to its place. 4And Jacob said to them, “My brothers, where are you from?” And they said, “We are from Haran.” 5And he said to them, “Do you know Laban, son of Nahor?” And they said, “We know him.” 6And he said to them, “Is he well?”#Literally “Is it well for him?” And they said, “He is well. Now look, Rachel his daughter is coming with the sheep.” 7And he said, “Look, it is still broad daylight;#Literally “high day” it is not the time for the livestock to be gathered. Give water to the sheep and go, pasture them.” 8And they said, “We are not able, until all the flocks are gathered. Then the stone is rolled away from the mouth of the well, and we water the sheep.” 9While he was speaking with them, Rachel came with the sheep which belonged to her father, for she was pasturing them. 10And it happened that, when Jacob saw Rachel, the daughter of Laban, his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban, his mother’s brother, Jacob drew near and rolled away the stone from the mouth of the well and watered the sheep of Laban, his mother’s brother. 11And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice and wept. 12And Jacob told Rachel that he was the relative of her father, and that he was the son of Rebekah. And she ran and told her father.13And it happened that when Laban heard the message about Jacob, the son of his sister, he ran to meet him. And he embraced him and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things. 14And Laban said to him, “Surely you are my flesh and my bone!” And he stayed with him a month.
Jacob’s Marriages
15Then Laban said to Jacob, “Just because you are my brother should you work for me for nothing? Tell me what your wage should be.” 16Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17Now the eyes of Leah were dull, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. 18And Jacob loved Rachel and said, “I will serve you seven years for Rachel your younger daughter.” 19Then Laban said, “Better that I give her to you than I give her to another man. Stay with me.” 20And Jacob worked for Rachel seven years, but they were as a few days in his eyes because he loved her. 21And Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, that I may go in to her, for my time#Literally “my days” is completed.” 22So Laban gathered all the men of the place and prepared a feast. 23And it happened that in the evening he took Leah his daughter and brought her to him, and he went in to her. 24And Laban gave Zilpah his female servant to her, to Leah his daughter as a female servant. 25And it happened that in the morning, behold, it was Leah! And he said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Now why did you deceive me?” 26Then Laban said, “It is not the custom#Literally “it is not thus done” in our country to give the younger before the firstborn. 27Complete the week of this one,#Leah; the wedding feast would last one week then I will also give you the other, on the condition that you will work for me#Literally “with respect to the work that you will work with me yet” another seven years.” 28And Jacob did so. So he completed the week of this one,#That is, Leah then he gave Rachel his daughter to him as a wife. 29And Laban gave Bilhah his female servant to Rachel his daughter as a female servant. 30Then he also went in to Rachel, and he loved Rachel more than Leah. And he served with him yet another seven years.
Jacob’s Children
31When Yahweh saw that Leah was unloved he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. 32Then Leah conceived and gave birth to a son, and she called his name Reuben, for she said, “Because Yahweh has noticed my misery, that I am unloved. Now my husband will love me.” 33And she conceived again and gave birth to a son. And she said, “It is because Yahweh has heard that I am unloved that he gave me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon. 34And she conceived again and gave birth to a son. Then she said, “Now this time my husband will be joined to me, for I have borne him three sons.” Therefore, she called his name Levi. 35And she conceived again and gave birth to a son. And she said, “This time I will praise Yahweh.” Therefore she called his name Judah. And she ceased bearing children.