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.