Jacob Arrives at Laban's Home
1Jacob continued on his way and went toward the land of the East. 2Suddenly he came upon a well out in the fields with three flocks of sheep lying around it. The flocks were watered from this well, which had a large stone over the opening. 3Whenever all the flocks came together there, the shepherds would roll the stone back and water them. Then they would put the stone back in place.
4Jacob asked the shepherds, “My friends, where are you from?”
“From Haran,” they answered.
5He asked, “Do you know Laban, grandson of Nahor?”
“Yes, we do,” they answered.
6“Is he well?” he asked.
“He is well,” they answered. “Look, here comes his daughter Rachel with his flock.”
7Jacob said, “Since it is still broad daylight and not yet time to bring the flocks in, why don't you water them and take them back to pasture?”
8They answered, “We can't do that until all the flocks are here and the stone has been rolled back; then we will water the flocks.”
9While Jacob was still talking with them, Rachel arrived with the flock. 10When Jacob saw Rachel with his uncle Laban's flock, he went to the well, rolled the stone back, and watered the sheep. 11Then he kissed her and began to cry for joy. 12He told her, “I am your father's relative, the son of Rebecca.”
She ran to tell her father; 13and when he heard the news about his nephew Jacob, he ran to meet him, hugged him and kissed him, and brought him into the house. When Jacob told Laban everything that had happened, 14Laban said, “Yes, indeed, you are my own flesh and blood.” Jacob stayed there a whole month.
Jacob Serves Laban for Rachel and Leah
15Laban said to Jacob, “You shouldn't work for me for nothing just because you are my relative. How much pay do you want?” 16Laban had two daughters; the older was named Leah, and the younger Rachel. 17Leah had lovely eyes, but Rachel was shapely and beautiful.
18Jacob was in love with Rachel, so he said, “I will work seven years for you, if you will let me marry Rachel.”
19Laban answered, “I would rather give her to you than to anyone else; stay here with me.” 20Jacob worked seven years so that he could have Rachel, and the time seemed like only a few days to him, because he loved her.
21Then Jacob said to Laban, “The time is up; let me marry your daughter.” 22So Laban gave a wedding feast and invited everyone. 23But that night, instead of Rachel, he took Leah to Jacob, and Jacob had intercourse with her. ( 24Laban gave his slave woman Zilpah to his daughter Leah as her maid.) 25Not until the next morning did Jacob discover that it was Leah. He went to Laban and said, “Why did you do this to me? I worked to get Rachel. Why have you tricked me?”
26Laban answered, “It is not the custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older. 27Wait until the week's marriage celebrations are over, and I will give you Rachel, if you will work for me another seven years.”
28Jacob agreed, and when the week of marriage celebrations was over, Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife. ( 29Laban gave his slave woman Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her maid.) 30Jacob had intercourse with Rachel also, and he loved her more than Leah. Then he worked for Laban another seven years.
The Children Born to Jacob
31When the Lord saw that Leah was loved less than Rachel, he made it possible for her to have children, but Rachel remained childless. 32Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She said, “The Lord has seen my trouble, and now my husband will love me”; so she named him Reuben. 33She became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She said, “The Lord has given me this son also, because he heard that I was not loved”; so she named him Simeon. 34Once again she became pregnant and gave birth to another son. She said, “Now my husband will be bound more tightly to me, because I have borne him three sons”; so she named him Levi. 35Then she became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She said, “This time I will praise the Lord”; so she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children.