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 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 elder one 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 elder 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.
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.
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