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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
CHAPTER 29
1Therefore Jacob passed forth, and came into the east land;
2and he saw a pit or well in the field, and three flocks of sheep resting beside it, for why sheep were watered thereof, and the mouth thereof was closed with a great stone.
3And the custom was that when all the sheep were gathered together, they should turn away the stone, and when the flocks were watered, they should put it again on the mouth of the pit.
4And Jacob said to the shepherds, Brethren, of whence be ye? Which answered, Of Haran.
5And he asked them and said, Whether ye know Laban, the son of Nahor? They said, We know him.
6Jacob said, Is he whole? They said, He is in good state; and lo! Rachel, his daughter, cometh with his flock.
7And Jacob said, Yet much of the day is to come, and it is not time that the flocks be led again to the folds; soothly give ye drink to the sheep, and so lead ye them again to meat or feeding.
8Which answered, We may not till all the sheep be gathered together, and till we remove the stone from the mouth of the pit, to water the flocks.
9Yet they spake, and lo! Rachel came with the sheep of her father.
10And when Jacob saw her, and knew her to be the daughter of his mother’s brother, and the sheep to be of Laban his uncle, he removed the stone with which the pit was closed; and when the flock was watered,
11he kissed her, and he wept with voice raised.
12And Jacob showed to her that he was the brother of her father, and the son of Rebecca; and she hasted, and told to her father.
13And when he had heard, that Jacob, the son of his sister, came, he ran to meet him, and he embraced Jacob, and kissed him, and led him into his house. Forsooth when the causes of the journey were heard,
14Laban answered, Thou art my bone and my flesh. And after that the days of a month were filled,
15Laban said to Jacob, Whether for thou art my brother, thou shalt serve me freely? say thou what meed thou shalt take.
16Forsooth Laban had two daughters, the name of the elder was Leah, soothly the younger was called Rachel;
17but Leah was bleary-eyed, and Rachel was of fair face, and lovely in sight.
18And Jacob loved Rachel, and said, I shall serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.
19Laban answered, It is better that I give her to thee than to another man; dwell thou with me.
20Therefore Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and the days seemed few to him for the greatness of his love.
21And at last he said to Laban, Give thou my wife to me, for the time is fulfilled that I enter [in] to her.
22And when many companies of friends were called to the feast, he made [the] weddings,
23and in the eventide Laban brought in to him Leah his daughter,
24and gave an handmaid, Zilpah by name, to his daughter.
25And when Jacob had entered [in] to her by custom, when the morrow-tide was made, he saw Leah, and he said to his wife’s father, What is it that thou wouldest do? whether I served not thee for Rachel? why hast thou deceived me?
26Laban answered, It is not custom in our place that we give first the younger daughter to weddings;
27fulfill thou the week of days of this wedding, and I shall give to thee also this Rachel, for the work in which thou shalt serve me by other seven years.
28Jacob assented to the covenant, and when the week was passed, he wedded Rachel,
29to whom her father had given Bilhah an handmaid.
30And at the last Jacob used the weddings desired, and set the love of the latter wife before the first; and Jacob served Laban seven other years.
31Forsooth the Lord saw that Jacob despised Leah, that is, loved her less than Rachel, and he opened Leah’s womb, while her sister dwelled barren.
32And Leah childed a son conceived, and she called his name Reuben, and said, The Lord hath seen my meek-ness; now mine husband shall love me.
33And again she conceived, and childed a son, and said, For the Lord saw that I was despised, he gave also this son to me; and she called his name Simeon.
34And she conceived the third time, and childed another son, and she said also, Now mine husband shall be coupled to me, for I have childed three sons to him; and therefore she called his name Levi.
35The fourth time she conceived, and childed a son, and said, Now I shall acknowledge to the Lord; and therefore she called his name Judah; and ceased to child.