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The Blue Letter Bible

Genesis 29 :: New Living Translation (NLT)

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Jacob Arrives at Paddan-Aram
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:1 - Then Jacob hurried on, finally arriving in the land of the east.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:2 - He saw a well in the distance. Three flocks of sheep and goats lay in an open field beside it, waiting to be watered. But a heavy stone covered the mouth of the well.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:3 - It was the custom there to wait for all the flocks to arrive before removing the stone and watering the animals. Afterward the stone would be placed back over the mouth of the well.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:4 - Jacob went over to the shepherds and asked, “Where are you from, my friends?”
“We are from Haran,” they answered.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:5 - “Do you know a man there named Laban, the grandson of Nahor?” he asked.
“Yes, we do,” they replied.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:6 - “Is he doing well?” Jacob asked.
“Yes, he’s well,” they answered. “Look, here comes his daughter Rachel with the flock now.”
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:7 - Jacob said, “Look, it’s still broad daylight—too early to round up the animals. Why don’t you water the sheep and goats so they can get back out to pasture?”
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:8 - “We can’t water the animals until all the flocks have arrived,” they replied. “Then the shepherds move the stone from the mouth of the well, and we water all the sheep and goats.”
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:9 - Jacob was still talking with them when Rachel arrived with her father’s flock, for she was a shepherd.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:10 - And because Rachel was his cousin—the daughter of Laban, his mother’s brother—and because the sheep and goats belonged to his uncle Laban, Jacob went over to the well and moved the stone from its mouth and watered his uncle’s flock.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:11 - Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and he wept aloud.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:12 - He explained to Rachel that he was her cousin on her father’s side—the son of her aunt Rebekah. So Rachel quickly ran and told her father, Laban.
Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:13 - As soon as Laban heard that his nephew Jacob had arrived, he ran out to meet him. He embraced and kissed him and brought him home. When Jacob had told him his story,
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:14 - Laban exclaimed, “You really are my own flesh and blood!” After Jacob had stayed with Laban for about a month,
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:15 - Laban said to him, “You shouldn’t work for me without pay just because we are relatives. Tell me how much your wages should be.”
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:16 - Now Laban had two daughters. The older daughter was named Leah, and the younger one was Rachel.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:17 - There was no sparkle in Leah’s eyes,[fn] but Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:18 - Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he told her father, “I’ll work for you for seven years if you’ll give me Rachel, your younger daughter, as my wife.”
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:19 - “Agreed!” Laban replied. “I’d rather give her to you than to anyone else. Stay and work with me.”
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:20 - So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:21 - Finally, the time came for him to marry her. “I have fulfilled my agreement,” Jacob said to Laban. “Now give me my wife so I can sleep with her.”
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:22 - So Laban invited everyone in the neighborhood and prepared a wedding feast.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:23 - But that night, when it was dark, Laban took Leah to Jacob, and he slept with her.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:24 - (Laban had given Leah a servant, Zilpah, to be her maid.)
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:25 - But when Jacob woke up in the morning—it was Leah! “What have you done to me?” Jacob raged at Laban. “I worked seven years for Rachel! Why have you tricked me?”
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:26 - “It’s not our custom here to marry off a younger daughter ahead of the firstborn,” Laban replied.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:27 - “But wait until the bridal week is over, then we’ll give you Rachel, too—provided you promise to work another seven years for me.”
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:28 - So Jacob agreed to work seven more years. A week after Jacob had married Leah, Laban gave him Rachel, too.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:29 - (Laban gave Rachel a servant, Bilhah, to be her maid.)
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:30 - So Jacob slept with Rachel, too, and he loved her much more than Leah. He then stayed and worked for Laban the additional seven years.
Jacob’s Many Children
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:31 - When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, he enabled her to have children, but Rachel could not conceive.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:32 - So Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben,[fn] for she said, “The LORD has noticed my misery, and now my husband will love me.”
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:33 - She soon became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She named him Simeon,[fn] for she said, “The LORD heard that I was unloved and has given me another son.”
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:34 - Then she became pregnant a third time and gave birth to another son. She named him Levi,[fn] for she said, “Surely this time my husband will feel affection for me, since I have given him three sons!”
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 29:35 - Once again Leah became pregnant and gave birth to another son. She named him Judah,[fn] for she said, “Now I will praise the LORD!” And then she stopped having children.
NLT Footnotes
Or Leah had dull eyes, or Leah had soft eyes. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
Reuben means “Look, a son!” It also sounds like the Hebrew for “He has seen my misery.”
Simeon probably means “one who hears.”
Levi sounds like a Hebrew term that means “being attached” or “feeling affection for.”
Judah is related to the Hebrew term for “praise.”

Holy Bible, New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Full copyright information is provided here. Visit the New Living Translation website.

For more information on this translation, see the NLT Preface.

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