Jacob Meets Rachel
1Jacob resumed his journey#29:1 Lit Jacob picked up his feet and went to the eastern country.#29:1 Lit the land of the children of the east#Nm 23:7; Jdg 6:3 2He looked and saw a well in a field. Three flocks of sheep were lying there beside it because the sheep were watered from this well. But a large stone covered the opening of the well. 3The shepherds would roll the stone from the opening of the well and water the sheep when all the flocks#29:3 Sam, some LXX mss read flocks and the shepherds were gathered there. Then they would return the stone to its place over the well’s opening.
4Jacob asked the men at the well, “My brothers! Where are you from?”
“We’re from Haran,” they answered.
5“Do you know Laban, Nahor’s grandson?” Jacob asked them.
They answered, “We know him.”
6“Is he well?” Jacob asked.
“Yes,” they said, “and here is his daughter Rachel, coming with his sheep.”
7Then Jacob said, “Look, it is still broad daylight. It’s not time for the animals to be gathered. Water the flock, then go out and let them graze.”
8But they replied, “We can’t until all the flocks have been gathered and the stone is rolled from the well’s opening. Then we will water the sheep.”
9While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess. 10As soon as Jacob saw his uncle Laban’s daughter Rachel with his sheep,#29:10 Lit with the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother he went up and rolled the stone from the opening and watered his uncle Laban’s sheep. 11Then Jacob kissed Rachel and wept loudly.#29:11 Lit and he lifted his voice and wept 12He told Rachel that he was her father’s relative, Rebekah’s son. She ran and told her father.
13When Laban heard the news about his sister’s son Jacob, he ran to meet him, hugged him, and kissed him. Then he took him to his house, and Jacob told him all that had happened.
14Laban said to him, “Yes, you are my own flesh and blood.”#29:14 Lit my bone and my flesh#Gn 2:23; 37:27; Jdg 9:2; 2Sm 5:1; 19:12–13; 1Ch 11:1
After Jacob had stayed with him a month, 15Laban said to him, “Just because you’re my relative, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me what your wages should be.”
16Now Laban had two daughters: the older was named Leah, and the younger was named Rachel. 17Leah had tender eyes, but Rachel was shapely and beautiful. 18Jacob loved Rachel, so he answered Laban, “I’ll work for you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.”#Gn 30:26; 31:41; Hs 12:12
19Laban replied, “Better that I give her to you than to some other man. Stay with me.” 20So Jacob worked seven years for Rachel, and they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.
21Then Jacob said to Laban, “Since my time is complete, give me my wife, so I can sleep with#29:21 Lit can go to her.” 22So Laban invited all the men of the place and sponsored a feast. 23That evening, Laban took his daughter Leah and gave her to Jacob, and he slept with her. 24And Laban gave his slave Zilpah to his daughter Leah as her slave.
25When morning came, there was Leah! So he said to Laban, “What have you done to me? Wasn’t it for Rachel that I worked for you? Why have you deceived me?”
26Laban answered, “It is not the custom in our country to give the younger daughter in marriage before the firstborn. 27Complete this week of wedding celebration, and we will also give you this younger one in return for working yet another seven years for me.”
28And Jacob did just that. He finished the week of celebration, and Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife. 29And Laban gave his slave Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her slave. 30Jacob slept with Rachel also, and indeed, he loved Rachel more than Leah. And he worked for Laban another seven years.#Gn 31:41
31When the Lord saw that Leah was neglected,#Gn 25:28; Dt 21:15–16; 22:13; 24:3; Lk 14:26; 16:13 he opened her womb;#Gn 30:22 but Rachel was unable to conceive.#Gn 11:30; 25:21; Jdg 13:2–3; 1Sm 2:5; Lk 1:36 32Leah conceived, gave birth to a son, and named him Reuben,#29:32 = See, a Son; in Hb, the name Reuben sounds like “has seen my affliction.” for she said, “The Lord has seen my affliction;#Gn 31:42; Ex 3:7; 4:31; Dt 26:7 surely my husband will love me now.”
33She conceived again, gave birth to a son, and said, “The Lord heard that I am neglected and has given me this son also.” So she named him Simeon.#29:33 In Hb, the name Simeon sounds like “has heard.”
34She conceived again, gave birth to a son, and said, “At last, my husband will become attached to me because I have borne three sons for him.” Therefore he was named Levi.#29:34 In Hb, the name Levi sounds like “attached to.”
35And she conceived again, gave birth to a son, and said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she named him Judah.#29:35 In Hb, the name Judah sounds like “praise.”#Gn 49:8; Mt 1:2 Then Leah stopped having children.
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1 And so Jacob, setting out, arrived in the eastern land.
2 And he saw a well in a field, and also three flocks of sheep reclining near it. For the animals were watered from it, and its mouth was closed with a great stone.
3 And the custom was, when all the sheep were gathered together, to roll away the stone. And when the flocks had been refreshed, they placed it over the mouth of the well again.
4 And he said to the shepherds, "Brothers, where are you from?" And they answered. "From Haran."
5 And questioning them, he said, "Do you know Laban, the son of Nahor?" They said, "We know him."
6 He said, "Is he well?" "He is very well," they said. "And behold, his daughter Rachel approaches with his flock."
7 And Jacob said, "There is still much daylight remaining, and it is not time to return the flocks to the sheepfold. Give the sheep to drink first, and then lead them back to pasture."
8 They responded, "We cannot, until all the animals are gathered together and we remove the stone from the mouth of the well, so that we may water the flocks."
9 They were still speaking, and behold, Rachel arrived with her father's sheep; for she pastured the flock.
10 When Jacob had seen her, and he realized that she was his maternal first cousin, and that these were the sheep of his uncle Laban, he removed the stone which closed the well.
11 And having watered the flock, he kissed her. And lifting up his voice, he wept.
12 And he revealed to her that he was a brother of her father, and the son of Rebekah. And so, hurrying, she announced it to her father.
13 And when he had heard that Jacob, his sister's son, had arrived, he ran to meet him. And embracing him, and kissing him heartily, he brought him into his house. But when he had heard the reasons for his journey,
14 he responded, "You are my bone and my flesh." And after the days of one month were completed,
15 he said to him: "Though you are my brother, will you serve me for nothing? Tell me what wages you would accept."
16 In truth, he had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah; and truly the younger was called Rachel.
17 But while Leah was bleary-eyed, Rachel had an elegant appearance and was attractive to behold.
18 And Jacob, loving her, said, "I will serve you for seven years, for your younger daughter Rachel."
19 Laban responded, "It is better that I give her to you than to another man; remain with me."
20 Therefore, Jacob served for seven years for Rachel. And these seemed like only a few days, because of the greatness of love.
21 And he said to Laban, "Give my wife to me. For now the time has been fulfilled, so that I may go in to her."
22 And he, having called a great crowd of his friends to the feast, agreed to the marriage.
23 And at night, he brought in his daughter Leah to him,
24 giving his daughter a handmaid named Zilpah. After Jacob had gone in to her, according to custom, when morning had arrived, he saw Leah.
25 And he said to his father-in-law, "What is it that you intended to do? Did I not serve you for Rachel? Why have you deceived me?"
26 Laban responded, "It is not the practice in this place to give the younger in marriage first.
27 Complete a week of days with this mating. And then I will give this one to you also, for the service that you will provide to me for another seven years."
28 He agreed to his pleading. And after the week had passed, he took Rachel as a wife.
29 To her, the father had given Bilhah as her servant.
30 And, having at last obtained the marriage he desired, he preferred the love of the latter before the former, and he served with him another seven years.
31 But the Lord, seeing that he despised Leah, opened her womb, but her sister remained barren.
32 Having conceived, she gave birth to a son, and she called his name Reuben, saying: "The Lord saw my humiliation; now my husband will love me."
33 And again she conceived and bore a son, and she said, "Because the Lord heard that I was treated with contempt, he has also given this one to me." And she called his name Simeon.
34 And she conceived a third time, and she gave birth to another son, and she said: "Now likewise my husband will unite with me, because I have borne him three sons." And because of this, she called his name Levi.
35 A fourth time she conceived and bore a son, and she said, "Only now will I confess to the Lord." And for this reason, she called him Judah. And she ceased from child-bearing.