Jacob Meets Rachel
29 Then Jacob [a]went on his way and came to the land of the people of the East [near Haran]. 2 As he looked, he saw a well in the field, and three flocks of sheep lying there [resting] beside it because the flocks were watered from that well. Now the stone on the mouth of the well [that covered and protected it] was large, 3 and when all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone from the mouth of the well, water the sheep, and [afterward] replace the stone on the mouth of the well.
4 Jacob said to them, “My brothers, where are you from?” And they said, “We are from Haran.” 5 So he said to them, “Do you know Laban the grandson of Nahor [Abraham’s brother]?” And they replied, “We know him.” 6 And he asked them, “[b]Is it well with him?” And they said, “He is doing well; look, here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep!” 7 Jacob said, “Look, the sun is still high [overhead]; it is a long time before the flocks need to be gathered [in their folds for the night]. Water the sheep, and go, and return them to their pasture.” 8 But they said, “We cannot [leave] until all the flocks are gathered together, and the shepherds roll the stone from the mouth of the well; then we will water the sheep.”
9 While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess. 10 When Jacob saw [his cousin] Rachel, the daughter of Laban, his mother’s brother, and Laban’s sheep, he came up and rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well and watered the flock of Laban, his uncle. 11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel [in greeting], and he raised his voice and wept. 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. Then he told Laban all these things. 14 Then Laban said to him, “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 should your wages be?” 16 Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. 18 Jacob loved Rachel, so he said, “I will serve you [as a hired workman] for seven years [in return] for [the privilege of marrying] Rachel your younger daughter.” 19 Laban said, “It is better that I give her [in marriage] to you than give her to another man. Stay and work with me.” 20 So Jacob served [Laban] for seven years for [the right to marry] Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.
21 Finally, Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my time [of service] is completed, so that I may take her to me [as my wife].” 22 So Laban gathered together all the men of the place and prepared a [wedding] [c]feast [with wine]. 23 But in the evening he took Leah his daughter and brought her to Jacob, and Jacob [d]went in to [consummate the marriage with] her. 24 Laban also gave Zilpah his maid to his daughter Leah as a maid. 25 But in the morning [when Jacob awoke], it was Leah [who was with him]! And he said to Laban, “What is this that you have done to me? Did I not work for you [for seven years] for Rachel? Why have you deceived and betrayed me [like this]?” 26 But Laban only said, “It is not [e]the tradition here to give the younger [daughter in marriage] before the older. 27 Finish the week [of the wedding feast] for Leah; then we will give you Rachel also, and in return you shall work for me for seven more years.” 28 So Jacob complied and fulfilled Leah’s week [of celebration]; then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as his [second] wife. 29 Laban also gave Bilhah his maid to his daughter Rachel as a maid. 30 So Jacob consummated his marriage and lived with Rachel [as his wife], and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and he served with Laban for another seven years.
31 Now when the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, He [f]made her able to bear children, but Rachel was barren. 32 Leah conceived and gave birth to a son and named him Reuben (See, a son!), for she said, “Because the Lord has seen my humiliation and suffering; now my husband will love me [since I have given him a son].” 33 Then she conceived again and gave birth to a son and said, “Because the Lord heard that I am unloved, He has given me this son also.” So she named him Simeon (God hears). 34 She conceived again and gave birth to a son and said, “Now this time my husband will become attached to me [as a companion], for I have given him three sons.” Therefore he was named [g]Levi. 35 Again she conceived and gave birth to a [fourth] son, and she said, “Now I will praise the Lord.” So she named him [h]Judah; then [for a time] she stopped bearing [children].
- Genesis 29:1 Lit raised his feet.
- Genesis 29:6 Lit Is peace (Heb shalom) to him?
- Genesis 29:22 The wedding feast was usually a lavish event lasting seven days. A wide variety of food was served along with wine, which was sometimes fortified with spices.
- Genesis 29:23 Laban must have made sure that Jacob was thoroughly intoxicated before he attempted to switch the daughters.
- Genesis 29:26 Lit done this way in.
- Genesis 29:31 Lit opened her womb.
- Genesis 29:34 The exact meaning is uncertain, perhaps companion or attached or joined.
- Genesis 29:35 Possibly an abbreviation of “Praise YHWH.”