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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 Paddan Aram
1Then Jacob continued on his journey and came to the land of the eastern peoples. 2There he saw a well in the open country, with three flocks of sheep lying near it because the flocks were watered from that well. The stone over the mouth of the well was large. 3When all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone away from the well’s mouth and water the sheep. Then they would return the stone to its place over the mouth of the well.
4Jacob asked the shepherds, “My brothers, where are you from?”
“We’re from Harran,” they replied.
5He said to them, “Do you know Laban, Nahor’s grandson?”
“Yes, we know him,” they answered.
6Then Jacob asked them, “Is he well?”
“Yes, he is,” they said, “and here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep.”
7“Look,” he said, “the sun is still high; it is not time for the flocks to be gathered. Water the sheep and take them back to pasture.”
8“We can’t,” they replied, “until all the flocks are gathered and the stone has been rolled away from the mouth of the well. Then we will water the sheep.”
9While he was still talking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherd. 10When Jacob saw Rachel daughter of his uncle Laban, and Laban’s sheep, he went over and rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well and watered his uncle’s sheep. 11Then Jacob kissed Rachel and began to weep aloud. 12He had told Rachel that he was a relative of her father and a son of Rebekah. So she ran and told her father.
13As soon as Laban heard the news about Jacob, his sister’s son, he hurried to meet him. He embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his home, and there Jacob told him all these things. 14Then Laban said to him, “You are my own flesh and blood.”
Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel
After Jacob had stayed with him for a whole month, 15Laban said to him, “Just because you are a relative of mine, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me what your wages should be.”
16Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17Leah had weak#29:17 Or delicate eyes, but Rachel had a lovely figure and was beautiful. 18Jacob was in love with Rachel and said, “I’ll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel.”
19Laban said, “It’s better that I give her to you than to some other man. Stay here with me.” 20So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.
21Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife. My time is completed, and I want to make love to her.”
22So Laban brought together all the people of the place and gave a feast. 23But when evening came, he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and Jacob made love to her. 24And Laban gave his servant Zilpah to his daughter as her attendant.
25When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn’t I? Why have you deceived me?”
26Laban replied, “It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one. 27Finish this daughter’s bridal week; then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work.”
28And Jacob did so. He finished the week with Leah, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. 29Laban gave his servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her attendant. 30Jacob made love to Rachel also, and his love for Rachel was greater than his love for Leah. And he worked for Laban another seven years.
Jacob’s Children
31When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless. 32Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben,#29:32 Reuben sounds like the Hebrew for he has seen my misery; the name means see, a son. for she said, “It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.”
33She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.” So she named him Simeon.#29:33 Simeon probably means one who hears.
34Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” So he was named Levi.#29:34 Levi sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew for attached.
35She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” So she named him Judah.#29:35 Judah sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew for praise. Then she stopped having children.