Jacob arrives at Laban’s home
1 Jacob set out and came to the land of the people of the east. 2 There he saw a well and lying beside the well were three flocks of sheep, for it was at this well that the flocks were watered, and a large stone covered the mouth of the well. 3 Then when all the flocks gathered there, the shepherds rolled away the stone from the opening of the well, watered their flocks and replaced the stone at the mouth of the well. 4 Jacob said to them, “Brothers, where are you from?” “We are from Haran,” they re plied. 5 He then said, “Do you know Laban, Nahor’s son?” “Yes, we know him,” they replied. 6 And Jacob asked, “Is he well?” “Yes, he is well,” they said, “and here is Rachel, his daughter, coming with the sheep!”
7 Jacob then said, “Look! The sun is still high; it’s not yet time for the flocks to be gathered together. Water the sheep and let them graze.” 8 But they said, “We cannot do that until all the flocks are gathered together and the stone is rolled away from the mouth of the well; it’s then we water the sheep.”
9 He was still speaking when Rachel arrived with her father’s flock, for she looked after them. 10 As soon as Jacob saw Rachel he went forward and rolled the stone from the mouth of the well and then watered Laban’s flock. 11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel and wept aloud.
12 Jacob told Rachel he was her father’s kinsman and Rebekah’s son, and she ran and told her father. 13 As soon as Laban heard the news about Jacob being his sister’s son, he ran to meet him; and after embracing and kissing him he brought him into his house. Jacob told Laban all that had happened 14 and Laban said to him, “Truly you are my bone and flesh!” And Jacob stayed there a month with him.
Jacob’s two marriages
15 Laban said to Jacob, “Even if you are my kinsman, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me, what wages do you want?”
16 Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older one was Leah and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 Leah’s eyes were weak but Rachel had a lovely figure and was beau tiful. 18 Jacob had fallen in love with Rachel and he said, “I will work for you for seven years in return for your younger daughter, Ra chel.” 19 Laban said, “It is better for me to give her to you than to any other man; stay with me.”
20 To win Rachel, Jacob worked for seven years which seemed to him only a few days, because he loved her so much. 21 Jacob then said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for I have served my time and I want to lie with her.” 22 So Laban gathered together all the people of the place and gave a feast. 23 But when night came he took his daughter Leah and gave her to Jacob and he lay with her. 24 Laban gave his slave girl Zilpah to Leah to be her maid.
25 When morning came, there was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, “What have you done to me? Haven’t I worked with you for Rachel? Why have you deceived me?” 26 Laban said, “It is not our custom to give the younger daughter before the firstborn. 27 As soon as the marriage week is over, I will give you my younger daughter as well, but you must work with me for another seven years. 28 Jacob agreed to this and when he completed the week with Leah, Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife.
29 Laban gave Rachel his slave girl, Bilhah, to be her maidservant. 30 So Jacob slept with Rachel as well, and he loved Rachel more than Leah. And he continued working for Laban another seven years.
31 As Yahweh saw that Leah was not loved, he let her have children; but Rachel was barren. 32 Leah gave birth to a child and named him Reuben, for she said, “Because the Lord has seen my affliction; my husband is sure to love me now.” 33 She gave birth to another son and said, “Yahweh saw that I was neglected and has given me this son as well”; and she called him Simeon. 34 Again she gave birth to a son and said, “This time my husband will be united to me because I have borne him three sons.” That is why he was called Levi. 35 She again gave birth to a son and said: “This time I will praise Yahweh.” That is why she named him Judah. After that she had no more children.