Jacob Meets Rachel
1 Then Jacob continued his trip. He went to the country in the East.
2 He 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.
3 When 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.
4 Jacob said to the shepherds there, “Brothers, where are you from?”
They answered, “We are from Haran.”
5 Then Jacob said, “Do you know Laban, the son of Nahor?”
The shepherds answered, “We know him.”
6 Then Jacob said, “How is he?”
They answered, “He is well. Look, that is his daughter Rachel coming now with his sheep.”
7 Jacob 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.”
8 But 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.”
9 While Jacob was talking with the shepherds, Rachel came with her father’s sheep. (It was her job to take care of the sheep.)
10 Rachel 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.
11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel and cried.
12 He 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.
13 When 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.
14 Then Laban said, “This is wonderful! You are from my own family.” So Jacob stayed with Laban for a month.
Laban Tricks Jacob
15 One 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?”
16 Now Laban had two daughters. The older was Leah and the younger was Rachel.
17 Leah’s eyes were gentle, but Rachel was beautiful.
18 Jacob loved Rachel, so he said to Laban, “I will work seven years for you if you will allow me to marry your daughter Rachel.”
19 Laban said, “It would be better for her to marry you than someone else. So stay with me.”
20 So Jacob stayed and worked for Laban for seven years. But it seemed like a very short time because he loved Rachel very much.
21 After seven years Jacob said to Laban, “Give me Rachel so that I can marry her. My time of work for you is finished.”
22 So Laban gave a party for all the people in that place.
23 That 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.)
25 In 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?”
26 Laban said, “In our country we don’t allow the younger daughter to marry before the older daughter.
27 Continue 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.”
28 So 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.)
30 So 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
31 The 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.
32 Leah gave birth to a son, and she named him Reuben. 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.”
33 Leah became pregnant again and had another son. She named this son Simeon. She said, “The LORD has heard that I am not loved, so he gave me this son.”
34 Leah became pregnant again and had another son. She named this son Levi. She said, “Now, surely my husband will love me. I have given him three sons.”
35 Then Leah gave birth to another son. She named this son Judah. Leah named him this because she said, “Now I will praise the LORD.” Then Leah stopped having children.