The Bible in Its Traditions

Genesis 29:1–35

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Then Jacob went on his journey, and came to the land of the children of the east.

And Jacob started and went to the land of the east to Laban, the son of Bathuel the Syrian, and the brother of Rebecca, mother of Jacob and Esau.

And so Jacob, setting out, arrived in the eastern land.

And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, three flocks of sheep lying there by it.--For out of that well they watered the flocks. And the stone upon the well's mouth was great.

And he looks, and behold! a well in the plain; and there were there three flocks of sheep resting at it, for out of that well they watered the flocks, but there was a great stone at the mouth of the well.

And he saw a well in a field, and also three flocks of sheep reclining near it. For the animals were watered from it, and its mouth was closed with a great stone.

And thither were all the flocks gathered; and they rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone back upon the well's mouth in its place.--

And there were all the flocks gathered, and they used to roll away the stone from the mouth of the well, and water the flocks, and set the stone again in its place on the mouth of the well.

And the custom was, when all the sheep were gathered together, to roll away the stone. And when the flocks had been refreshed, they placed it over the mouth of the well again.

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And Jacob said unto them: 'My brethren, whence are ye?' And they said: 'Of Haran are we.'

And he said to the shepherds, “Brothers, where are you from?” And they answered. “From Haran.”

And he said unto them: 'Know ye Laban the son of Nahor?' And they said: 'We know him.'

And questioning them, he said, “Do you know Laban, the son of Nahor?” They said, “We know him.”

And he said unto them: 'Is it well with him?' And they said: 'It is well; and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.'

He said, “Is he well?” “He is very well,” they said. “And behold, his daughter Rachel approaches with his flock.”

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And he said: 'Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together; water ye the sheep, and go and feed them.'

And Jacob said, it is yet high day, it is not yet time that the flocks be gathered together; water ye the flocks, and depart and feed them.

And Jacob said, “There is still much daylight remaining, and it is not time to return the flocks to the sheepfold. Give the sheep to drink first, and then lead them back to pasture.”

And they said: 'We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and they roll the stone from the well's mouth; then we water the sheep.'

And they said, We shall not be able, until all the shepherds be gathered together, and they shall roll away the stone from the mouth of the well, then we will water the flocks.

They responded, “We cannot, until all the animals are gathered together and we remove the stone from the mouth of the well, so that we may water the flocks.”

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While he was yet speaking with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep; for she tended them.

They were still speaking, and behold, Rachel arrived with her father’s sheep; for she pastured the flock.

gland while he was still conversing with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep; for she was a shepherdess.

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10  And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother.

10  When Jacob had seen her, and he realized that she was his maternal first cousin, and that these were the sheep of his uncle Laban, he removed the stone which closed the well.

11  And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.

11  And having watered the flock, he kissed her. And lifting up his voice, he wept.

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12  And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's brother, and that he was Rebekah's son; and she ran and told her father.

12  And he told Rachel that he was the near relative of her father, and the son of Rebecca; and she ran and reported to her father according to these words.

12  And he revealed to her that he was a brother of her father, and the son of Rebekah. And so, hurrying, she announced it to her father.

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13  And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister's son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things.

13  And when he had heard that Jacob, his sister’s son, had arrived, he ran to meet him. And embracing him, and kissing him heartily, he brought him into his house. But when he had heard the reasons for his journey,

14  And Laban said to him: 'Surely thou art my bone and my flesh.' And he abode with him the space of a month.

14  he responded, “You are my bone and my flesh.” And after the days of one month were completed,

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15  And Laban said unto Jacob: 'Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be?'

15  he said to him: “Though you are my brother, will you serve me for nothing? Tell me what wages you would accept.”

15  And Laban said to Jacob, Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore work for me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?

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16  Now Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.

16  In truth, he had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah; and truly the younger was called Rachel.

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17  And Leah's eyes were weak; but Rachel was of beautiful form and fair to look upon.

17  But while Leah was bleary-eyed, Rachel had an elegant appearance and was attractive to behold.

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18  And Jacob loved Rachel; and he said: 'I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.'

18  And Jacob, loving her, said, “I will serve you for seven years, for your younger daughter Rachel.”

19  And Laban said: 'It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man; abide with me.'

19  Laban responded, “It is better that I give her to you than to another man; remain with me.”

20  And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.

20  Therefore, Jacob served for seven years for Rachel. And these seemed like only a few days, because of the greatness of love.

21  And Jacob said unto Laban: 'Give me my wife, for my days are filled, that I may go in unto her.'

21  And he said to Laban, “Give my wife to me. For now the time has been fulfilled, so that I may go in to her.”

22  And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast.

22  And he, having called a great crowd of his friends to the feast, agreed to the marriage.

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23  And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her.

23  And it was even, and he took his daughter Lea, and brought her in to Jacob, and Jacob went in to her.

23  And at night, he brought in his daughter Leah to him,

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24  And Laban gave Zilpah his handmaid unto his daughter Leah for a handmaid.

24  giving his daughter a handmaid named Zilpah. After Jacob had gone in to her, according to custom, when morning had arrived, he saw Leah.

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25  And it came to pass in the morning that, behold, it was Leah; and he said to Laban: 'What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?'

25  And it was morning, and behold it was Lea; and Jacob said to Laban, What is this that thou hast done to me? did I not serve thee for Rachel? and wherefore hast thou deceived me?

25  And he said to his father-in-law, “What is it that you intended to do? Did I not serve you for Rachel? Why have you deceived me?”

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26  And Laban said: 'It is not so done in our place, to give the younger before the first-born.

26  Laban responded, “It is not the practice in this place to give the younger in marriage first.

26  Then Laban said to Jacob, It is not so done in our country, to give the younger in marriage before the elder.

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27  Fulfil the week of this one, and we will give thee the other also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.'

27  Complete a week of days with this mating. And then I will give this one to you also, for the service that you will provide to me for another seven years.”

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28  And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week; and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife.

28  He agreed to his pleading. And after the week had passed, he took Rachel as a wife.

29  And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her handmaid.

29  To her, the father had given Bilhah as her servant.

30  And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.

30  And, having at last obtained the marriage he desired, he preferred the love of the latter before the former, and he served with him another seven years.

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31  And YHWH saw that Leah was hated, and he opened her womb; but Rachel was barren.

31  And when the Lord God saw that Lea was hated, he opened her womb; but Rachel was barren.

31  But the Lord, seeing that he despised Leah, opened her womb, but her sister remained barren.

32  And Leah conceived, and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben; for she said: 'Because YHWH hath looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.'

32  And Lea conceived and bore a son to Jacob; and she called his name, Ruben; saying, Because the Lord has looked on my humiliation, and has given me a son, now then my husband will love me.

32  Having conceived, she gave birth to a son, and she called his name Reuben, saying: “The Lord saw my humiliation; now my husband will love me.”

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33  And she conceived again, and bore a son; and said: 'Because YHWH hath heard that I am hated, He hath therefore given me this son also.' And she called his name Simeon.

33  And again she conceived and bore a son, and she said, “Because the Lord heard that I was treated with contempt, he has also given this one to me.” And she called his name Simeon.

34  And she conceived again, and bore a son; and said: 'Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have borne him three sons.' Therefore was his name called Levi.

34  And she conceived a third time, and she gave birth to another son, and she said: “Now likewise my husband will unite with me, because I have borne him three sons.” And because of this, she called his name Levi.

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35  And she conceived again, and bore a son; and she said: 'This time will I praise YHWH.' Therefore she called his name Judah; and she left off bearing.

35  And having conceived yet again, she bore a son, and said, Now yet again this time will I give thanks to the Lord; therefore she called his name, Juda; and ceased bearing.

35  A fourth time she conceived and bore a son, and she said, “Only now will I confess to the Lord.” And for this reason, she called him Judah. And she ceased from child-bearing.