Jacob Loves Rachel
1Then Jacob lifted up his feet and went to the land of the peoples of the east.
2When he looked, suddenly, there was a well in the field, and there were three herds of sheep resting by it. (For from that well they would water the flocks. The stone on the mouth of the well was large.
3When all the herds gathered there, they would roll away the stone from the mouth of the well and water the flocks, and put the stone back to its place over the mouth of the well.)
4Jacob said to them, “My brothers, where are you from?” “We’re from Haran,” they said.
5So he said to them, “Do you know Laban, Nahor’s son?” They said, “We know.”
6He said to them, “Is he well?” “Well,” they said. “Look, here comes his daughter Rachel with the flock.”
7He said, “Since it’s still the middle of the day, it’s not time for the livestock to be gathered. Water the flock and let them go and graze.”
8But they said, “We can’t, not until all the flocks are gathered and the stone is rolled away from the mouth of the well—then we water the flock.”
9While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with the flock that belonged to her father (for she was a shepherdess).
10Now when Jacob saw Rachel (the daughter of Laban, his mother’s brother), Jacob stepped forward and rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well and watered the flock of Laban, his mother’s brother.
11Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice and wept.
12Then Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s relative and that he was Rebekah’s son. So she ran and told her father.
13Now when Laban heard the news about Jacob, his sister’s son, he ran to meet him, hugged and kissed him, and brought him to his house. Then he told Laban all these things.
14Laban said to him, “Surely you are my own bone and flesh.” And he stayed with him for a month.
15Then Laban said to Jacob, “Should you, my relative, serve me for nothing? Tell me, what should your wages be?”
16Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.
17Leah’s eyes were delicate, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance.
18Jacob was in love with Rachel, so he said, “Let me serve you for seven years for Rachel your younger daughter.”
19Laban said, “It’s better that I give her to you than I give her to another man! Stay with me.”
20So Jacob worked for Rachel seven years, yet in his eyes it was like a few days, because of his love for her.
21Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my days are completed, so I may go to her.”
22So Laban gathered all the men of the place and he prepared a feast.
23When it was evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to him, and he went to her.
24Laban also gave her Zilpah his female servant to his daughter Leah as a female servant.
25So when it was morning, behold there she was, Leah! So he said to Laban, “What is this you’ve done to me? Wasn’t it for Rachel that I worked with you? So why have you deceived me?”
26But Laban said, “It’s not done so in our place—to give the younger before the first-born.
27Complete the bridal week for this one. Then we’ll also give you this other—for work that you’ll do with me—another seven years more.”
28So Jacob did; he also completed this one’s bridal week. Then he gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife.
29Laban also gave his daughter Rachel his female servant Bilhah, to be a servant for her.
30Jacob also went to Rachel and indeed loved Rachel more than Leah. So he served with him for yet another seven years.
Rivalry Continues With Wives
31Now Adonai saw that Leah was unloved, so he opened her womb; but Rachel was unable to conceive.
32Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son and named him Reuben because she said, “For Adonai has seen my affliction. Surely now my husband will love me.”
33Then she became pregnant again and gave birth to a son, and said, “For Adonai heard that I am hated, so He’s given me this one also,” and she named him Simeon.
34Then she became pregnant again and gave birth to a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will join himself to me because I’ve given birth to three sons for him.” For this reason he was named Levi.
35Then she became pregnant again and gave birth to a son and said, “This time I praise Adonai.” For this reason she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children.
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Jacob Arrives at Laban's Home
1Jacob continued on his way and went towards the land of the East. 2Suddenly he came upon a well out in the fields with three flocks of sheep lying round it. The flocks were watered from this well, which had a large stone over the opening. 3Whenever all the flocks came together there, the shepherds would roll the stone back and water them. Then they would put the stone back in place.
4Jacob asked the shepherds, “My friends, where are you from?”
“From Haran,” they answered.
5He asked, “Do you know Laban, grandson of Nahor?”
“Yes, we do,” they answered.
6“Is he well?” he asked.
“He is well,” they answered. “Look, here comes his daughter Rachel with his flock.”
7Jacob said, “Since it is still broad daylight and not yet time to bring the flocks in, why don't you water them and take them back to pasture?”
8They answered, “We can't do that until all the flocks are here and the stone has been rolled back; then we will water the flocks.”
9While Jacob was still talking to them, Rachel arrived with the flock. 10When Jacob saw Rachel with his uncle Laban's flock, he went to the well, rolled the stone back, and watered the sheep. 11Then he kissed her and began to cry for joy. 12He told her, “I am your father's relative, the son of Rebecca.”
She ran to tell her father; 13and when he heard the news about his nephew Jacob, he ran to meet him, hugged him and kissed him, and brought him into the house. When Jacob told Laban everything that had happened, 14Laban said, “Yes, indeed, you are my own flesh and blood.” Jacob stayed there a whole month.
Jacob Serves Laban for Rachel and Leah
15Laban said to Jacob, “You shouldn't work for me for nothing just because you are my relative. How much pay do you want?” 16Laban had two daughters; the elder was named Leah, and the younger Rachel. 17Leah had lovely#29.17 lovely; or weak. eyes, but Rachel was shapely and beautiful.
18Jacob was in love with Rachel, so he said, “I will work seven years for you, if you will let me marry Rachel.”
19Laban answered, “I would rather give her to you than to anyone else; stay here with me.” 20Jacob worked seven years so that he could have Rachel, and the time seemed like only a few days to him, because he loved her.
21Then Jacob said to Laban, “The time is up; let me marry your daughter.” 22So Laban gave a wedding feast and invited everyone. 23But that night, instead of Rachel, he took Leah to Jacob, and Jacob had intercourse with her. 24(Laban gave his slave woman Zilpah to his daughter Leah as her maid.) 25Not until the next morning did Jacob discover that it was Leah. He went to Laban and said, “Why did you do this to me? I worked to get Rachel. Why have you tricked me?”
26Laban answered, “It is not the custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the elder. 27Wait until the week's marriage celebrations are over, and I will give you Rachel, if you will work for me another seven years.”
28Jacob agreed, and when the week of marriage celebrations was over, Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife. 29(Laban gave his slave woman Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her maid.) 30Jacob had intercourse with Rachel also, and he loved her more than Leah. Then he worked for Laban another seven years.
The Children Born to Jacob
31When the LORD saw that Leah was loved less than Rachel, he made it possible for her to have children, but Rachel remained childless. 32Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She said, “The LORD has seen my trouble, and now my husband will love me”; so she named him Reuben.#29.32 Reuben: This name sounds like the Hebrew for “see, a son” and “has seen my trouble”. 33She became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She said, “The LORD has given me this son also, because he heard that I was not loved”; so she named him Simeon.#29.33 Simeon: This name sounds like the Hebrew for “hear”. 34Once again she became pregnant and gave birth to another son. She said, “Now my husband will be bound more tightly to me, because I have borne him three sons”; so she named him Levi.#29.34 Levi: This name sounds like the Hebrew for “bound”. 35Then she became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She said, “This time I will praise the LORD”; so she named him Judah.#29.35 Judah: This name sounds like the Hebrew for “praise”. Then she stopped having children.
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Good News Bible. Scripture taken from the Good News Bible (r) (Today's English Version Second Edition, UK/British Edition). Copyright © 1992 British & Foreign Bible Society. Used by permission.