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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 29

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1 JACOB, continuing his journey, came to the land of the eastern tribes. 2There he saw a well in the open country with three flocks of sheep lying beside it, because flocks were watered from that well. Over its mouth was a huge stone, 3and all the herdsmen used to gather there and roll it off the mouth of the well and water the flocks; then they would replace the stone over the well. 4Jacob said to them, ‘Where are you from, my friends?’ ‘We are from Harran,’ they replied. 5He asked them if they knew Laban the grandson a 29:5 grandson: lit. son. of Nahor. They answered, ‘Yes, we do.’ 6‘Is he well?’ Jacob asked; and they answered, ‘Yes, he is well, and there is his daughter Rachel coming with the flock.’ 7Jacob said, ‘It is still broad daylight, and not yet time for penning the sheep. Water the flocks and then go and let them graze.’ 8But they replied, ‘We cannot, until all the herdsmen have assembled and the stone has been rolled away from the mouth of the well; then we can water our flocks.’ 9While he was talking to them, Rachel arrived with her father's flock, for she was a shepherdess. 10Immediately Jacob saw Rachel, the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, with Laban's flock, he went forward, rolled the stone off the mouth of the well and watered Laban's sheep. 11He kissed Rachel, and was moved to tears. 12When he told her that he was her father's kinsman, Rebecca's son, she ran and told her father. 13No sooner had Laban heard the news of his sister's son Jacob, than he hurried to meet him, embraced and kissed him, and welcomed him to his home. Jacob told Laban all that had happened, 14and Laban said, ‘Yes, you are my own flesh and blood.’

After Jacob had stayed with him for a whole month, 15Laban said to him, ‘Why should you work for me for nothing simply because you are my kinsman? Tell me what wage you would settle for.’ 16Now Laban had two daughters: the elder was called Leah, and the younger Rachel. 17Leah was dulleyed, but Rachel was beautiful in both face and figure, and 18Jacob had fallen in love with her. He said, ‘For your younger daughter Rachel I would work seven years.’ 19Laban replied, ‘It is better that I should give her to you than to anyone else; stay with me.’

20When Jacob had worked seven years for Rachel, and they seemed like a few days because he loved her, 21he said to Laban, ‘I have served my time. Give me my wife that I may lie with her.’ 22Laban brought all the people of the place together and held a wedding feast. 23In the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he lay with her. 24At the same time Laban gave his slave-girl Zilpah to his daughter Leah. 25But when morning came, there was Leah! Jacob said to Laban, ‘What is this you have done to me? It was for Rachel I worked. Why have you played this trick on me?’ 26Laban answered, ‘It is against the custom of our country to marry off the younger sister before the elder. 27Go through with the seven days’ feast for the elder, and the younger shall be given you in return for a further seven years' work.’ 28Jacob agreed, and completed the seven days for Leah.

Then Laban gave Jacob his daughter Rachel to be his wife; 29and to serve Rachel he gave his slave-girl Bilhah. 30Jacob lay with Rachel also; he loved her rather than Leah, and he worked for Laban for a further seven years. 31When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, he granted her a child, but Rachel remained childless. 32Leah conceived and gave birth to a son; and she called him Reuben b 29:32 Reuben: that is See, a son. , for she said, ‘The LORD has seen my humiliation, but now my husband will love me.’ 33Again she conceived and had a son and said, ‘The LORD, hearing that I am unloved, has given me this child also’; and she called him Simeon c 29:33 Simeon: that is Hearing. . 34She conceived again and had a son and said, ‘Now that I have borne him three sons my husband will surely be attached to me.’ So she called him Levi d 29:34 Levi: that is Attachment. . 35Once more she conceived and had a son, and said, ‘Now I shall praise the LORD’; therefore she named him Judah e 29:35 Judah: that is Praise. . Then for a while she bore no more children.

Notes:

a 29:5 grandson: lit. son.

b 29:32 Reuben: that is See, a son.

c 29:33 Simeon: that is Hearing.

d 29:34 Levi: that is Attachment.

e 29:35 Judah: that is Praise.

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