Genesis 29

Jacob and Laban

1 Jacob continued on his journey. He came to the land where the people from the east live. 2 He saw a well in a field. Three groups of sheep lay near it. Shepherds took water from the well to give to their sheep. There was a large stone that covered the top of the well. 3 The shepherds waited until all the sheep were there together. Then they removed the stone from the top of the well. They gave their sheep water to drink, and then they put the stone back on the top of the well.

4 Jacob asked the shepherds, ‘My brothers, where are you from?’ The shepherds replied, ‘We are from Haran.’ 5 Jacob said, ‘Do you know Laban? He is Nahor's grandson.’ The shepherds replied, ‘Yes, we know him.’ 6 Jacob asked them, ‘Is he in good health?’ They replied, ‘Yes, he is. Look. Here comes his daughter now, with their sheep. Her name is Rachel.’ 7 Jacob said to them, ‘The sun is still high in the sky. It is not yet the right time to bring all the sheep together. So give them some water now. Then they can go back to the fields and eat more grass.’ 8 The shepherds said, ‘We cannot do that. We have to wait until all the sheep are here together. Then we can remove the big stone from the well and we can give water to the sheep.’

9 When Jacob was speaking to the shepherds, Rachel arrived there. She brought her father's sheep with her. She was taking care of them.

10 Jacob saw Rachel. She was the daughter of his uncle Laban. Jacob saw that she had Laban's sheep with her. So Jacob went to the well and he removed the big stone. Then he gave water to Laban's sheep. 11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel. He began to weep loudly.

29:11Jacob cried because he was happy to find his relatives.

12 Jacob told Rachel that he was a relative of her father, Laban. He told her that he was Rebekah's son. So Rachel ran home to tell her father.

13 When Laban heard what Rachel said, he went quickly to meet Jacob, his sister's son. He put his arms round Jacob and he kissed him. Laban brought Jacob to his home. Jacob told Laban all his news. 14 Then Laban said, ‘Yes, you really are my own relative.’ So Jacob stayed with Laban for a month.

15 Then Laban said to Jacob, ‘You should not work for me for nothing because you are my relative. Tell me what I should pay you.’ 16 Laban had two daughters. The name of the older daughter was Leah. The name of the younger daughter was Rachel. 17 Leah had weak eyes. But Rachel's face and her body were beautiful. 18 Jacob loved Rachel. He said to Laban, ‘I will work for you for seven years. In return, I want to marry your younger daughter, Rachel.’ 19 Laban said, ‘It is better for you to marry her than another man. Stay here with me.’

20 Jacob worked for seven years to have Rachel as his wife. But the years passed very quickly because Jacob loved Rachel very much. Seven years seemed like only a few days to Jacob.

Jacob marries Leah and Rachel

21 After seven years, Jacob said to Laban, ‘Give me my wife. My time to work for you is finished and I want to marry her.’ 22 Laban called all the people in that place to come together. He prepared a big meal for them to eat. 23 When evening came, Laban took his daughter Leah and he gave her to Jacob. Jacob slept that night with her as his wife. 24 Laban gave his female servant to Leah to be her servant. Her name was Zilpah.

25 When morning came, Jacob saw that he had slept with Leah! He said to Laban, ‘You have done a very bad thing to me! I worked for you to get Rachel as my wife. Why have you deceived me?’ 26 Laban replied, ‘In our land, we do not give the younger daughter to a man first. We let the older daughter marry first. 27 So, finish this week of Leah's marriage. Then we will give you Rachel to marry too. But you must work for another seven years.’

29:27Jacob had deceived his father Isaac. Now Laban has deceived Jacob. A marriage week was the seven days of the feast. Jacob had to continue with Leah until that week was finished.

28 So Jacob did what Laban said. He finished the marriage week with Leah. Then Laban gave Rachel to Jacob to be his wife. 29 Laban give his female servant Bilhah to Rachel to become her servant. 30 Jacob also slept with Rachel. He loved Rachel more than he loved Leah. He worked for Laban for seven more years.

31 The Lord saw that Jacob did not love Leah. So he let her become pregnant. But Rachel did not give birth to any children. 32 Leah became pregnant and she gave birth to a son. She called him Reuben. She said, ‘It is because the Lord has seen how sad I am. My husband will love me now because I have given birth to a son.’

33 Leah became pregnant again. She gave birth to another son. She said, ‘The Lord has given me another son because he knows that I am not loved.’ She called this son Simeon.

34 Leah became pregnant again and again she gave birth to a son. She said, ‘Now I have given my husband three sons, so he will want to stay with me.’ She called this son Levi.

35 Leah became pregnant again. She gave birth to another son. She said, ‘This time I will praise the Lord.’ She called this son Judah. Then she stopped giving birth to children.