Jacob meets Rachel
1Jacob got to his feet and set out for the land of the easterners. 2He saw a well in the field in front of him, near which three flocks of sheep were lying down. That well was their source for water because the flocks drank from that well. A huge stone covered the well’s opening. 3When all of the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone from the well’s opening, water the sheep, and return the stone to its place at the well’s opening. 4Jacob said to them, “Where are you from, my brothers?”
They said, “We’re from Haran.”
5Then he said to them, “Do you know Laban, Nahor’s grandson?”
They said, “We know him.”
6He said to them, “Is he well?”
They said, “He’s fine. In fact, this is his daughter Rachel now, coming with the flock.”
7He said to them, “It’s now only the middle of the day. It’s not time yet to gather the animals. Water the flock, and then go, put them out to pasture.”
8They said to him, “We can’t until all the herds are gathered, and then we#29.8 Or they roll the stone away from the well’s opening and water the flock.”
9While he was still talking to them, Rachel came with her father’s flock since she was its shepherd. 10When Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his uncle, and the flock of Laban, Jacob came up, rolled the stone from the well’s opening, and watered the flock of his uncle Laban. 11Jacob kissed Rachel and wept aloud. 12Jacob told Rachel that he was related to her father and that he was Rebekah’s son. She then ran to tell her father. 13When Laban heard about Jacob his sister’s son, he ran to meet him. Laban embraced him, kissed him, and invited him into his house, where Jacob recounted to Laban everything that had happened. 14Laban said to him, “Yes, you are my flesh and blood.”
Jacob marries Leah and Rachel
After Jacob had stayed with Laban for a month, 15Laban said to Jacob, “You shouldn’t have to work for free just because you are my relative. Tell me what you would like to be paid.”
16Now Laban had two daughters: the older was named Leah and the younger Rachel. 17Leah had delicate eyes,#29.17 Heb uncertain; perhaps Leah had poor eyesight but Rachel had a beautiful figure and was good-looking. 18Jacob loved Rachel and said, “I will work for you for seven years for Rachel, your younger daughter.”
19Laban said, “I’d rather give her to you than to another man. Stay with me.”
20Jacob worked for Rachel for seven years, but it seemed like a few days because he loved her. 21Jacob said to Laban, “The time has come. Give me my wife so that I may sleep with her.” 22So Laban invited all the people of that place and prepared a banquet. 23However, in the evening, he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he slept with her. 24Laban had given his servant Zilpah to his daughter Leah as her servant. 25In the morning, there she was—Leah! Jacob said to Laban, “What have you done to me? Didn’t I work for you to have Rachel? Why did you betray me?”
26Laban said, “Where we live, we don’t give the younger woman before the oldest. 27Complete the celebratory week with this woman. Then I will give#29.27 LXX, Sam, Syr, Tg, Vulg; MT we will give you this other woman too for your work, if you work for me seven more years.” 28So that is what Jacob did. He completed the celebratory week with this woman, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife. 29Laban had given his servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her servant. 30Jacob slept with Rachel, and he loved Rachel more than Leah. He worked for Laban seven more years.
Jacob’s sons are born
31When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, he opened her womb; but Rachel was unable to have children. 32Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben#29.32 Or see, a son because she said, “The LORD saw my harsh treatment, and now my husband will love me.” 33She became pregnant again and gave birth to a son. She said, “The LORD heard that I was unloved, so he gave me this son too,” and she named him Simeon.#29.33 Sounds like the Heb verb hear 34She became pregnant again and gave birth to a son. She said, “Now, this time my husband will embrace me,#29.34 Or be connected to me since I have given birth to three sons for him.” So she named him Levi.#29.34 Sounds like the Heb verb embrace, or connect 35She became pregnant again and gave birth to a son. She said, “This time I will praise the LORD.” So she named him Judah.#29.35 Sounds like the Heb verb praise Then she stopped bearing children.
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Jacob Meets Rachel
1Then Jacob continued his trip. He went to the country in the East. 2He looked and saw a well in the field. There were three flocks of sheep lying near the well, where the sheep drank water. There was a large rock covering the mouth of the well. 3When all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the rock away from the well. Then all the sheep could drink from the water. After the sheep were full, the shepherds would put the rock back in its place.
4Jacob said to the shepherds there, “Brothers, where are you from?”
They answered, “We are from Haran.”
5Then Jacob said, “Do you know Laban, the son of Nahor?”
The shepherds answered, “We know him.”
6Then Jacob said, “How is he?”
They answered, “He is well. Look, that is his daughter Rachel coming now with his sheep.”
7Jacob said, “Look, it is still day and long before the sun sets. It is not yet time for the animals to be gathered together for the night. So give them water and let them go back into the field.”
8But they said, “We cannot do that until all the flocks are gathered together. Then we will move the rock from the well, and all the sheep will drink.”
9While Jacob was talking with the shepherds, Rachel came with her father’s sheep. (It was her job to take care of the sheep.) 10Rachel was Laban’s daughter. Laban was the brother of Rebekah, Jacob’s mother. When Jacob saw Rachel, he went and moved the rock and gave water to the sheep. 11Then Jacob kissed Rachel and cried. 12He told her that he was from her father’s family. He told her that he was the son of Rebekah. So Rachel ran home and told her father.
13When Laban heard the news about his sister’s son Jacob, he ran to meet him. Laban hugged him and kissed him and brought him to his house. Jacob told Laban everything that had happened.
14Then Laban said, “This is wonderful! You are from my own family.” So Jacob stayed with Laban for a month.
Laban Tricks Jacob
15One day Laban said to Jacob, “You are a relative of mine. It is not right for you to continue working for me without pay. What should I pay you?”
16Now Laban had two daughters. The older was Leah and the younger was Rachel.
17Leah’s eyes were gentle,#29:17 Leah’s eyes were gentle This might be a polite way of saying Leah was not very pretty. but Rachel was beautiful. 18Jacob loved Rachel, so he said to Laban, “I will work seven years for you if you will allow me to marry your daughter Rachel.”
19Laban said, “It would be better for her to marry you than someone else. So stay with me.”
20So Jacob stayed and worked for Laban for seven years. But it seemed like a very short time because he loved Rachel very much.
21After seven years Jacob said to Laban, “Give me Rachel so that I can marry her. My time of work for you is finished.”
22So Laban gave a party for all the people in that place. 23That night Laban brought his daughter Leah to Jacob. Jacob and Leah had sexual relations together. 24(Laban gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter to be her maid.) 25In the morning Jacob saw that it was Leah he had slept with, and he said to Laban, “You have tricked me. I worked hard for you so that I could marry Rachel. Why did you trick me?”
26Laban said, “In our country we don’t allow the younger daughter to marry before the older daughter. 27Continue for the full week of the marriage ceremony, and I will also give you Rachel to marry. But you must serve me another seven years.”
28So Jacob did this and finished the week. Then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as a wife. 29(Laban gave his maid Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her maid.) 30So Jacob had sexual relations with Rachel also. And Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah. Jacob worked for Laban for another seven years.
Jacob’s Family Grows
31The Lord saw that Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah, so he made it possible for Leah to have children. But Rachel did not have any children.
32Leah gave birth to a son, and she named him Reuben.#29:32 Reuben This is like the Hebrew word meaning “Look, a son.” She named him this because she said, “The Lord has seen my troubles. My husband does not love me. So now maybe my husband will love me.”
33Leah became pregnant again and had another son. She named this son Simeon.#29:33 Simeon This is like the Hebrew word meaning “He hears.” She said, “The Lord has heard that I am not loved, so he gave me this son.”
34Leah became pregnant again and had another son. She named this son Levi.#29:34 Levi This is like the Hebrew word meaning “accompany,” “be joined together,” or “become close.” She said, “Now, surely my husband will love me. I have given him three sons.”
35Then Leah gave birth to another son. She named this son Judah.#29:35 Judah This name is like the word meaning “He is praised.” Leah named him this because she said, “Now I will praise the Lord.” Then Leah stopped having children.
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