1 THEN JACOB went [briskly and cheerfully] on his way [400 miles] and came to the land of the people of the East.
2 As he looked, he saw a well in the field; and behold, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it, for out of that well the flocks were watered. The stone on the well's mouth was a big one,
3 And when all the flocks were gathered there, [the shepherds] would roll the stone from the well's mouth, water the sheep, and replace the stone on the well's mouth.
4 And Jacob said to them, My brothers, where are you from? And they said, We are from Haran.
5 [Jacob] said to them, Do you know Laban the grandson of Nahor? And they said, We know him.
6 He said to them, Is it well with him? And they said, He is doing well; and behold, here comes his daughter Rachel with [his] sheep!
7 He said, The sun is still high; it is a long time yet before the flocks need be gathered [in their folds]. [Why not] water the sheep and return them to their pasture?
8 But they said, We cannot until all the flocks are gathered together; then [the shepherds] roll the stone from the well's mouth and we water the sheep.
9 While he was still talking with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep, for she shepherded them.
10 When Jacob saw Rachel daughter of Laban, his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his uncle, Jacob went near and rolled the stone from the well's mouth and watered the flock of his uncle Laban.
11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel and he wept aloud.
12 Jacob told Rachel he was her father's relative, Rebekah's son; and she ran and told her father.
13 When Laban heard of the arrival of Jacob his sister's son, he ran to meet him, and embraced and kissed him and brought him to his house. And [Jacob] told Laban all these things.
14 Then Laban said to him, Surely you are my bone and my flesh. And [Jacob] stayed with him a month.
15 Then Laban said to Jacob, Just because you are my relative, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?
16 Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the elder was Leah and the name of the younger was Rachel.
17 Leah's eyes were weak and dull looking, but Rachel was beautiful and attractive.
18 And Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, I will work for you for seven years for Rachel your younger daughter.
19 And Laban said, It is better that I give her to you than to another man. Stay and live with me.
20 And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.
21 Finally, Jacob said to Laban, Give me my wife, for my time is completed, so that I may take her to me.
22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place and made a feast [with drinking].
23 But when night came, he took Leah his daughter and brought her to [Jacob], who had intercourse with her.
24 And Laban gave Zilpah his maid to his daughter Leah to be her maid.
25 But in the morning [Jacob saw his wife, and] behold, it was Leah! And he said to Laban, What is this you have done to me? Did I not work for you [all those seven years] for Rachel? Why then have you deceived and cheated and thrown me down [like this]?
26 And Laban said, It is not permitted in our country to give the younger [in marriage] before the elder.
27 Finish the [wedding feast] week [for Leah]; then we will give you [Rachel] also, and you shall work for me yet seven more years in return.
28 So Jacob complied and fulfilled [Leah's] week; then [Laban] gave him Rachel his daughter as his wife.
29 (And Laban gave Bilhah his maid to Rachel his daughter to be her maid.)
30 And Jacob lived with Rachel also as his wife, and he loved Rachel more than Leah and served [Laban] another seven years [for her].
31 And when the Lord saw that Leah was despised, He made her able to bear children, but Rachel was barren.
32 And Leah became pregnant and bore a son and named him Reuben [See, a son!]; for she said, Because the Lord has seen my humiliation and affliction; now my husband will love me.
33 [Leah] became pregnant again and bore a son and said, Because the Lord heard that I am despised, He has given me this son also; and she named him Simeon [God hears].
34 And she became pregnant again and bore a son and said, Now this time will my husband be a companion to me, for I have borne him three sons. Therefore he was named Levi [companion].
35 Again she conceived and bore a son, and she said, Now will I praise the Lord! So she called his name Judah [praise]; then [for a time] she ceased bearing.
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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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