Bible: Genesis 29-31
The Marriages of Jacob
29:1 So Jacob moved on 1 and came to the land of the eastern people. 2 29:2 He saw 3 in the field a well with 4 three flocks of sheep lying beside it, because the flocks were watered from that well. Now 5 a large stone covered the mouth of the well. 29:3 When all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds 6 would roll the stone off the mouth of the well and water the sheep. Then they would put the stone back in its place over the well’s mouth.
29:4 Jacob asked them, “My brothers, where are you from?” They replied, “We’re from Haran.” 29:5 So he said to them, “Do you know Laban, the grandson 7 of Nahor?” “We know him,” 8 they said. 29:6 “Is he well?” 9 Jacob asked. They replied, “He is well. 10 Now look, here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep.” 29:7 Then Jacob 11 said, “Since it is still the middle of the day, 12 it is not time for the flocks to be gathered. You should water the sheep and then go and let them graze some more.” 13 29:8 “We can’t,” they said, “until all the flocks are gathered and the stone is rolled off the mouth of the well. Then we water 14 the sheep.”
29:9 While he was still speaking with them, Rachel arrived with her father’s sheep, for she was tending them. 15 29:10 When Jacob saw Rachel, the daughter of his uncle Laban, 16 and the sheep of his uncle Laban, he 17 went over 18 and rolled the stone off the mouth of the well and watered the sheep of his uncle Laban. 19 29:11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel and began to weep loudly. 20 29:12 When Jacob explained 21 to Rachel that he was a relative of her father 22 and the son of Rebekah, she ran and told her father. 29:13 When Laban heard this news about Jacob, his sister’s son, he rushed out to meet him. He embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his house. Jacob 23 told Laban how he was related to him. 24 29:14 Then Laban said to him, “You are indeed my own flesh and blood.” 25 So Jacob 26 stayed with him for a month. 27
29:15 Then Laban said to Jacob, “Should you work 28 for me for nothing because you are my relative? 29 Tell me what your wages should be.” 29:16 (Now Laban had two daughters; 30 the older one was named Leah, and the younger one Rachel. 29:17 Leah’s eyes were tender, 31 but Rachel had a lovely figure and beautiful appearance.) 32 29:18 Since Jacob had fallen in love with 33 Rachel, he said, “I’ll serve you seven years in exchange for your younger daughter Rachel.” 29:19 Laban replied, “I’d rather give her to you than to another man. 34 Stay with me.” 29:20 So Jacob worked for seven years to acquire Rachel. 35 But they seemed like only a few days to him 36 because his love for her was so great. 37
29:21 Finally Jacob said 38 to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my time of service is up. 39 I want to have marital relations with her.” 40 29:22 So Laban invited all the people 41 of that place and prepared a feast. 29:23 In the evening he brought his daughter Leah 42 to Jacob, 43 and Jacob 44 had marital relations with her. 45 29:24 (Laban gave his female servant Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her servant.) 46
29:25 In the morning Jacob discovered it was Leah! 47 So Jacob 48 said to Laban, “What in the world have you done to me! 49 Didn’t I work for you in exchange for Rachel? Why have you tricked 50 me?” 29:26 “It is not our custom here,” 51 Laban replied, “to give the younger daughter in marriage 52 before the firstborn. 29:27 Complete my older daughter’s bridal week. 53 Then we will give you the younger one 54 too, in exchange for seven more years of work.” 55
29:28 Jacob did as Laban said. 56 When Jacob 57 completed Leah’s bridal week, 58 Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. 59 29:29 (Laban gave his female servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her servant.) 60 29:30 Jacob 61 had marital relations 62 with Rachel as well. He loved Rachel more than Leah, so he worked for Laban 63 for seven more years. 64
The Family of Jacob
29:31 When the
29:34 She became pregnant again and had another son. She said, “Now this time my husband will show me affection, 72 because I have given birth to three sons for him.” That is why he was named Levi. 73
29:35 She became pregnant again and had another son. She said, “This time I will praise the
30:1 When Rachel saw that she could not give Jacob children, she 75 became jealous of her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children 76 or I’ll die!” 30:2 Jacob became furious 77 with Rachel and exclaimed, “Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?” 78 30:3 She replied, “Here is my servant Bilhah! Have sexual relations with 79 her so that she can bear 80 children 81 for me 82 and I can have a family through her.” 83
30:4 So Rachel 84 gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob had marital relations with 85 her. 30:5 Bilhah became pregnant 86 and gave Jacob a son. 87 30:6 Then Rachel said, “God has vindicated me. He has responded to my prayer 88 and given me a son.” That is why 89 she named him Dan. 90
30:7 Bilhah, Rachel’s servant, became pregnant again and gave Jacob another son. 91 30:8 Then Rachel said, “I have fought a desperate struggle with my sister, but I have won.” 92 So she named him Naphtali. 93
30:9 When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she gave 94 her servant Zilpah to Jacob as a wife. 30:10 Soon Leah’s servant Zilpah gave Jacob a son. 95 30:11 Leah said, “How fortunate!” 96 So she named him Gad. 97
30:14 At the time 102 of the wheat harvest Reuben went out and found some mandrake plants 103 in a field and brought them to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, “Give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” 30:15 But Leah replied, 104 “Wasn’t it enough that you’ve taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes too?” “All right,” 105 Rachel said, “he may sleep 106 with you tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.” 30:16 When Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must sleep 107 with me because I have paid for your services 108 with my son’s mandrakes.” So he had marital relations 109 with her that night. 30:17 God paid attention 110 to Leah; she became pregnant 111 and gave Jacob a son for the fifth time. 112 30:18 Then Leah said, “God has granted me a reward 113 because I gave my servant to my husband as a wife.” 114 So she named him Issachar. 115
30:19 Leah became pregnant again and gave Jacob a son for the sixth time. 116 30:20 Then Leah said, “God has given me a good gift. Now my husband will honor me because I have given him six sons.” So she named him Zebulun. 117
30:21 After that she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.
30:22 Then God took note of 118 Rachel. He paid attention to her and enabled her to become pregnant. 119 30:23 She became pregnant 120 and gave birth to a son. Then she said, “God has taken away my shame.” 121 30:24 She named him Joseph, 122 saying, “May the
The Flocks of Jacob
30:25 After Rachel had given birth 123 to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send 124 me on my way so that I can go 125 home to my own country. 126 30:26 Let me take my wives and my children whom I have acquired by working for you. 127 Then I’ll depart, 128 because you know how hard I’ve worked for you.” 129
30:27 But Laban said to him, “If I have found favor in your sight, please stay here, 130 for I have learned by divination 131 that the
30:29 “You know how I have worked for you,” Jacob replied, 133 “and how well your livestock have fared under my care. 134 30:30 Indeed, 135 you had little before I arrived, 136 but now your possessions have increased many times over. 137 The
30:31 So Laban asked, 140 “What should I give you?” “You don’t need to give me a thing,” 141 Jacob replied, 142 “but if you agree to this one condition, 143 I will continue to care for 144 your flocks and protect them: 30:32 Let me walk among 145 all your flocks today and remove from them every speckled or spotted sheep, every dark-colored lamb, 146 and the spotted or speckled goats. 147 These animals will be my wages. 148 30:33 My integrity will testify for me 149 later on. 150 When you come to verify that I’ve taken only the wages we agreed on, 151 if I have in my possession any goat that is not speckled or spotted or any sheep that is not dark-colored, it will be considered stolen.” 152 30:34 “Agreed!” said Laban, “It will be as you say.” 153
30:35 So that day Laban 154 removed the male goats that were streaked or spotted, all the female goats that were speckled or spotted (all that had any white on them), and all the dark-colored lambs, and put them in the care 155 of his sons. 30:36 Then he separated them from Jacob by a three-day journey, 156 while 157 Jacob was taking care of the rest of Laban’s flocks.
30:37 But Jacob took fresh-cut branches from poplar, almond, and plane trees. He made white streaks by peeling them, making the white inner wood in the branches visible. 30:38 Then he set up the peeled branches in all the watering troughs where the flocks came to drink. He set up the branches in front of the flocks when they were in heat and came to drink. 158 30:39 When the sheep mated 159 in front of the branches, they 160 gave birth to young that were streaked or speckled or spotted. 30:40 Jacob removed these lambs, but he made the rest of the flock face 161 the streaked and completely dark-colored animals in Laban’s flock. So he made separate flocks for himself and did not mix them with Laban’s flocks. 30:41 When the stronger females were in heat, 162 Jacob would set up the branches in the troughs in front of the flock, so they would mate near the branches. 30:42 But if the animals were weaker, he did not set the branches there. 163 So the weaker animals ended up belonging to Laban 164 and the stronger animals to Jacob. 30:43 In this way Jacob 165 became extremely prosperous. He owned 166 large flocks, male and female servants, camels, and donkeys.
Jacob’s Flight from Laban
31:1 Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were complaining, 167 “Jacob has taken everything that belonged to our father! He has gotten rich 168 at our father’s expense!” 169 31:2 When Jacob saw the look on Laban’s face, he could tell his attitude toward him had changed. 170
31:10 “Once 181 during breeding season I saw 182 in a dream that the male goats mating with 183 the flock were streaked, speckled, and spotted. 31:11 In the dream the angel of God said to me, ‘Jacob!’ ‘Here I am!’ I replied. 31:12 Then he said, ‘Observe 184 that all the male goats mating with 185 the flock are streaked, speckled, or spotted, for I have observed all that Laban has done to you. 31:13 I am the God of Bethel, 186 where you anointed 187 the sacred stone and made a vow to me. 188 Now leave this land immediately 189 and return to your native land.’”
31:14 Then Rachel and Leah replied to him, “Do we still have any portion or inheritance 190 in our father’s house? 31:15 Hasn’t he treated us like foreigners? He not only sold us, but completely wasted 191 the money paid for us! 192 31:16 Surely all the wealth that God snatched away from our father belongs to us and to our children. So now do everything God has told you.”
31:17 So Jacob immediately put his children and his wives on the camels. 193 31:18 He took 194 away all the livestock he had acquired in Paddan Aram and all his moveable property that he had accumulated. Then he set out toward the land of Canaan to return to his father Isaac. 195
31:19 While Laban had gone to shear his sheep, 196 Rachel stole the household idols 197 that belonged to her father. 31:20 Jacob also deceived 198 Laban the Aramean by not telling him that he was leaving. 199 31:21 He left 200 with all he owned. He quickly crossed 201 the Euphrates River 202 and headed for 203 the hill country of Gilead.
31:22 Three days later Laban discovered Jacob had left. 204 31:23 So he took his relatives 205 with him and pursued Jacob 206 for seven days. 207 He caught up with 208 him in the hill country of Gilead. 31:24 But God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and warned him, 209 “Be careful 210 that you neither bless nor curse Jacob.” 211
31:25 Laban overtook Jacob, and when Jacob pitched his tent in the hill country of Gilead, Laban and his relatives set up camp there too. 212 31:26 “What have you done?” Laban demanded of Jacob. “You’ve deceived me 213 and carried away my daughters as if they were captives of war! 214 31:27 Why did you run away secretly 215 and deceive me? 216 Why didn’t you tell me so I could send you off with a celebration complete with singing, tambourines, and harps? 217 31:28 You didn’t even allow me to kiss my daughters and my grandchildren 218 good-bye. You have acted foolishly! 31:29 I have 219 the power to do you harm, but the God of your father told me last night, ‘Be careful 220 that you neither bless nor curse Jacob.’ 221 31:30 Now I understand that 222 you have gone away 223 because you longed desperately 224 for your father’s house. Yet why did you steal my gods?” 225
31:31 “I left secretly because I was afraid!” 226 Jacob replied to Laban. “I thought 227 you might take your daughters away from me by force. 228 31:32 Whoever has taken your gods will be put to death! 229 In the presence of our relatives 230 identify whatever is yours and take it.” 231 (Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them.) 232
31:33 So Laban entered Jacob’s tent, and Leah’s tent, and the tent of the two female servants, but he did not find the idols. 233 Then he left Leah’s tent and entered Rachel’s. 234 31:34 (Now Rachel had taken the idols and put them inside her camel’s saddle 235 and sat on them.) 236 Laban searched the whole tent, but did not find them. 237 31:35 Rachel 238 said to her father, “Don’t be angry, 239 my lord. I cannot stand up 240 in your presence because I am having my period.” 241 So he searched thoroughly, 242 but did not find the idols.
31:36 Jacob became angry 243 and argued with Laban. “What did I do wrong?” he demanded of Laban. 244 “What sin of mine prompted you to chase after me in hot pursuit? 245 31:37 When you searched through all my goods, did you find anything that belonged to you? 246 Set it here before my relatives and yours, 247 and let them settle the dispute between the two of us! 248
31:38 “I have been with you for the past twenty years. Your ewes and female goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten rams from your flocks. 31:39 Animals torn by wild beasts I never brought to you; I always absorbed the loss myself. 249 You always made me pay for every missing animal, 250 whether it was taken by day or at night. 31:40 I was consumed by scorching heat 251 during the day and by piercing cold 252 at night, and I went without sleep. 253 31:41 This was my lot 254 for twenty years in your house: I worked like a slave 255 for you – fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flocks, but you changed my wages ten times! 31:42 If the God of my father – the God of Abraham, the one whom Isaac fears 256 – had not been with me, you would certainly have sent me away empty-handed! But God saw how I was oppressed and how hard I worked, 257 and he rebuked you last night.”
31:43 Laban replied 258 to Jacob, “These women 259 are my daughters, these children are my grandchildren, 260 and these flocks are my flocks. All that you see belongs to me. But how can I harm these daughters of mine today 261 or the children to whom they have given birth? 31:44 So now, come, let’s make a formal agreement, 262 you and I, and it will be 263 proof that we have made peace.” 264
31:45 So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a memorial pillar. 31:46 Then he 265 said to his relatives, “Gather stones.” So they brought stones and put them in a pile. 266 They ate there by the pile of stones. 31:47 Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha, 267 but Jacob called it Galeed. 268
31:48 Laban said, “This pile of stones is a witness of our agreement 269 today.” That is why it was called Galeed. 31:49 It was also called Mizpah 270 because he said, “May the
31:51 “Here is this pile of stones and this pillar I have set up between me and you,” Laban said to Jacob. 276 31:52 “This pile of stones and the pillar are reminders that I will not pass beyond this pile to come to harm you and that you will not pass beyond this pile and this pillar to come to harm me. 277 31:53 May the God of Abraham and the god of Nahor, 278 the gods of their father, judge between us.” Jacob took an oath by the God whom his father Isaac feared. 279 31:54 Then Jacob offered a sacrifice 280 on the mountain and invited his relatives to eat the meal. 281 They ate the meal and spent the night on the mountain.