Jacob Meets Rachel
1Jacob resumed his journeya and went to the eastern country.b, c
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. A large stone covered the opening of the well.
3When all the flocksd were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone from the opening of the well and water the sheep. The stone was then placed back on 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 grandson of Nahor? ” 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,e he went up and rolled the stone from the opening and watered his uncle Laban’s sheep.
11Then Jacob kissed Rachel and wept loudly.f
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.”g, h
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 ordinaryi 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.”j
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, “Give me my wife, for my time is completed. I want to sleep withk her.”
22So Laban invited all the men of the place to 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 is this you have 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 this place 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.l
31When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved,m He opened her womb;n but Rachel was unable to conceive.o
32Leah conceived, gave birth to a son, and named him Reuben,p for she said, “The LORD has seen my affliction;q surely my husband will love me now.”
33She conceived again, gave birth to a son, and said, “The LORD heard that I am unloved and has given me this son also.” So she named him Simeon.r
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.s
35And she conceived again, gave birth to a son, and said, “This time I will praise the LORD.” Therefore she named him Judah.t, u Then Leah stopped having children.
a. 29:1 Lit Jacob picked up his feet
b. 29:1 Lit the land of the children of the east
c. 29:1 Nm 23:7; Jdg 6:3
d. 29:3 Sam, some LXX mss read flocks and the shepherds
e. 29:10 Lit with the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother
f. 29:11 Lit and he lifted his voice and wept
g. 29:14 Lit my bone and my flesh
h. 29:14 Gn 2:23; 37:27; Jdg 9:2; 2Sm 5:1; 19:12-13; 1Ch 11:1
i. 29:17 Lit tender
j. 29:18 Gn 30:26; 31:41; Hs 12:12
k. 29:21 Lit to go to
l. 29:30 Gn 31:41
m. 29:31 Gn 25:28; Dt 21:15-16; 22:13; 24:3; Lk 14:26; 16:13
n. 29:31 Gn 30:22
o. 29:31 Gn 11:30; 25:21; Jdg 13:2-3; 1Sm 2:5; Lk 1:36
p. 29:32 = See, a Son; in Hb, the name Reuben sounds like “has seen my affliction.”
q. 29:32 Gn 31:42; Ex 3:7; 4:31; Dt 26:7
r. 29:33 In Hb, the name Simeon sounds like “has heard.”
s. 29:34 In Hb, the name Levi sounds like “attached to.”
t. 29:35 In Hb, the name Judah sounds like “praise.”
u. 29:35 Gn 49:8; Mt 1:2