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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

Chapter 29

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Arrival in Haran. 1 e Wis 10, 10 . After Jacob resumed his journey, he came to the land of the Easterners.* 2Looking about, he saw a well in the open country, with three droves of sheep huddled near it, for droves were watered from that well. A large stone covered the mouth of the well. f Gn 24, 11f . 3Only when all the shepherds were assembled there could they roll the stone away from the mouth of the well and water the flocks. Then they would put the stone back again over the mouth of the well.

4Jacob said to them, “Friends, where are you from?” “We are from Haran,” they replied. 5Then he asked them, “Do you know Laban, son of Nahor?” “We do,” they answered. g Tb 7, 4 . 6He inquired further, “Is he well?” “He is,” they answered; “and here comes his daughter Rachel with his flock.” 7Then he said: “There is still much daylight left; it is hardly the time to bring the animals home. Why don't you water the flocks now, and then continue pasturing them?” 8“We cannot,” they replied, “until all the shepherds are here to roll the stone away from the mouth of the well; only then can we water the flocks.”

9While he was still talking with them, Rachel arrived with her father's sheep; she was the one who tended them. 10As soon as Jacob saw Rachel, the daughter of his uncle Laban, with the sheep of his uncle Laban, he went up, rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well, and watered his uncle's sheep. 11Then Jacob kissed Rachel and burst into tears.* 12He told her that he was her father's relative, Rebekah's son, and she ran to tell her father. 13When Laban heard the news about his sister's son Jacob, he hurried out to meet him. After embracing and kissing him, he brought him to his house. Jacob then recounted to Laban all that had happened, 14and Laban said to him, “You are indeed my flesh and blood.”*

Marriage to Leah and Rachel. After Jacob had stayed with him a full month, 15Laban said to him: “Should you serve me for nothing just because you are a relative of mine? Tell me what your wages should be.” 16Now Laban had two daughters; the older was called Leah, the younger Rachel. 17Leah had lovely eyes,* but Rachel was well formed and beautiful. 18Since Jacob had fallen in love with Rachel, he answered Laban, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.”* 19Laban replied, “I prefer to give her to you rather than to an outsider. Stay with me.” 20So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, yet they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her. h Hos 12, 13 .

21Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, that I may consummate my marriage with her, for my term is now completed.” 22So Laban invited all the local inhabitants and gave a feast. 23At the nightfall he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and Jacob consummated the marriage with her. 24(Laban assigned his slave girl Zilpah to his daughter Leah as her maidservant.) 25In the morning Jacob was amazed:* it was Leah! So he cried out to Laban: “How could you do this to me! Was it not for Rachel that I served you? Why did you dupe me?” 26“It is not the custom in our country,” Laban replied, “to marry off a younger daughter before an older one. 27Finish the bridal week* for this one, and then I will give you the other too, in return for another seven years of service with me.” i Hos 12, 13 .

28Jacob agreed. He finished the bridal week for Leah, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel in marriage. 29(Laban assigned his slave girl Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her maidservant.) 30Jacob then consummated his marriage with Rachel also, and he loved her more than Leah. Thus he remained in Laban's service another seven years. j Dt 21, 15ff .

Jacob's Children. 31When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, he made her fruitful, while Rachel remained barren. 32Leah conceived and bore a son, and she named him Reuben;* for she said, “It means, ‘The LORD saw my misery; now my husband will love me.’ ” k Gn 49, 3 . 33She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “It means, ‘The LORD heard that I was unloved,’ and therefore he has given me this one also”; so she named him Simeon.* 34Again she conceived and bore a son, and she said, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, since I have now borne him three sons”; that is why she named him Levi.* 35Once more she conceived and bore a son, and she said, “This time I will give grateful praise to the LORD”; therefore she named him Judah.* Then she stopped bearing children. l Mt 1, 2; Lk 3, 33 .


e: Wis 10, 10 .

f: Gn 24, 11f .

g: Tb 7, 4 .

h: Hos 12, 13 .

i: Hos 12, 13 .

j: Dt 21, 15ff .

k: Gn 49, 3 .

l: Mt 1, 2; Lk 3, 33 .

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