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The Apocryphal Old Testament Collection of the most important non-canonical Old Testament books designed for general use.

Chapter XXVIII

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Text Commentary

1And he resumed his journey and came to the land of the East, to Laban, Rebecca's brother; and he stayed with him and became his servant for his daughter Rachel, one week. 2And in the first year of the third week he said to him, Give me my wife, for whom I have served you seven years; and Laban said to Jacob, I will give you your wife. 3And Laban prepared a feast, and he took Leah, his elder daughter, and gave her to Jacob as his wife (and he gave her Zilpah his own slave-girl as her slave-girl); and Jacob did not realize it, but thought she was Rachel. 4And he slept with her, and when morning came, behold, she was Leah; and Jacob was angry with Laban and said to him, Why have you done this to me? Did I not agree to serve you for Rachel and not for Leah? Why have you done me this wrong? 5Take your daughter, and I will go: you have tricked me. 1 Lit. ‘you have done evil to me’. (For Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah, for Leah's eyes had no sparkle, despite her shapely figure, whereas Rachel had attractive eyes as well as an attractive and very shapely figure.)

6And Laban said to Jacob, In our country it is not the custom to give the younger sister in marriage before the elder. (And indeed, it is not right to do this; for so it is ordained and written on the heavenly tablets, that no one should give his younger daughter in marriage before the elder, but the elder should be given first; and the man who does so has it entered to his discredit in heaven, and no one is righteous that does it, for to do such a thing is abhorrent to the Lord. 7And give the sons of Israel orders that they should not do it: see that they neither take nor give the younger in marriage without having given the elder first, for to do so is very wicked.) 8And Laban said to Jacob, Let the seven days of Leah's feast 2 Lit. ‘of the feast of this one’. run their course, and then I will give you Rachel on the understanding that you serve me another seven years and pasture my sheep as you did in the previous week. 9And on one of the days, when the seven days of Leah's feast were over, Laban gave Rachel to Jacob, that he might serve him another seven years (and he gave Rachel as her slave-girl Bilhah, Zilpah's sister). 10And he served seven years more for Rachel, for Leah had been given him to no purpose.

11And the Lord made Leah fruitful, and she conceived and bore Jacob a son, and he called him Reuben, on the fourteenth day of the ninth month, in the first year of the third week. 12But Rachel had no children, for the Lord saw that Leah was neglected 3 Lit. ‘hated’. and Rachel loved. 13And Jacob slept with Leah again, and she conceived and bore Jacob a second son, and he called him Simeon, on the twenty-first of the tenth month, and in the third year of this week. 14And again Jacob slept with Leah, and she conceived and bore him a third son, and he called him Levi, on the new moon of the first month in the sixth year of this week. 15And again Jacob slept with her, and she conceived and bore him a fourth son, and he called him Judah, on the fifteenth of the third month, in the †first† year of the †fourth† week.

16And because of all this Rachel was jealous of Leah (for she herself had no children), and she said to Jacob, Give me children; and Jacob said, Have I denied you children? 17Have I deserted you? And when Rachel saw that Leah had borne Jacob four sons, Reuben and Simeon and Levi and Judah, she said to him, Sleep with my slave-girl Bilhah, and she will conceive and bear me a son. 18And she gave him her slave-girl Bilhah as a wife; and he slept with her, and she conceived and bore him a son, and he called him Dan, on the ninth of the sixth month, in the †sixth† year of the †third† week. 19And Jacob slept with Bilhah again, a second time, and she conceived and bore Jacob another son, and Rachel called him Naphtali, on the fifth of the seventh month, in the second year of the fourth week.

20And when Leah saw that she had no more children, she became jealous of Rachel; and she also gave her slave-girl, Zilpah, to Jacob as a wife, and she conceived and bore a son, and Leah called him Gad, on the twelfth of the eighth month, in the third year of the fourth week. 21And he slept with her again, and she conceived and bore him a second son, and Leah called him Asher, on the second of the eleventh month, in the †fifth† year of the fourth week. 22And Jacob slept with Leah, and she conceived and bore a son and she called him Issachar, on the fourth of the fifth month, in the †fourth† year of the fourth week; and she gave him to a nurse. 23And Jacob slept with her again, and she conceived and bore twins, a son and a daughter, and she called the son Zabulon and the daughter Dinah, on the seventh of the seventh month, in the sixth year of the fourth week. 24And the Lord showed Rachel favour and made her fruitful, and she conceived and bore a son, and she called him Joseph, on the new moon of the fourth month, in the †sixth† year in this fourth week.

25And at the time Joseph was born, Jacob said to Laban, Give me my wives and sons, and let me go to my father Isaac and let me set up my household there; 4 Lit. ‘let me make a house’. for I have completed my years of service to you for your two daughters, and I will go to my father's house. 26And Laban said to Jacob, Tell me what wages you want from me, 5 Emended in the light of Gen. xxx. 28 . Eth. has ‘Wait with me for your wages’ and Lat. ‘Expecta me in mercede’, neither of which Charles considered satisfactory. and pasture my flock for me again, and I will pay your wages. 6 So Lat.: Eth. ‘and take your wages’. 27And they agreed with one another that he should give him as his wages the lambs and the kids that were born either grey or spotted or speckled: these were to be his wages. 28And all the sheep produced lambs that were either spotted or speckled or grey, and they again produced lambs like themselves; and all that were spotted were Jacob's and those that were not were Laban's. 7 Both the text and the precise meaning of some of the Eth. words used to indicate differences of colour in this passage are uncertain. However, the general sense, that things turned out very much to Jacob's advantage, is plain. Gen. xxx. 32–42 describes in detail how Jacob arranged this himself; and part of the obscurity of the Jubilees version is due to the fact that the author, by abbreviating so drastically the Genesis account, has confused the details in Genesis that apply to the sheep with others that apply to the goats – unless, perhaps, several lines have at some stage in the copying fallen out of the original text. 29And Jacob's possessions increased more and more – oxen and sheep and asses and camels, and male slaves and female slaves. 30And Laban and his sons were jealous of Jacob; and Laban withdrew his sheep from him, and eyed him with evil intent.

Notes:

1 Lit. ‘you have done evil to me’.

2 Lit. ‘of the feast of this one’.

3 Lit. ‘hated’.

4 Lit. ‘let me make a house’.

5 Emended in the light of Gen. xxx. 28 . Eth. has ‘Wait with me for your wages’ and Lat. ‘Expecta me in mercede’, neither of which Charles considered satisfactory.

6 So Lat.: Eth. ‘and take your wages’.

7 Both the text and the precise meaning of some of the Eth. words used to indicate differences of colour in this passage are uncertain. However, the general sense, that things turned out very much to Jacob's advantage, is plain. Gen. xxx. 32–42 describes in detail how Jacob arranged this himself; and part of the obscurity of the Jubilees version is due to the fact that the author, by abbreviating so drastically the Genesis account, has confused the details in Genesis that apply to the sheep with others that apply to the goats – unless, perhaps, several lines have at some stage in the copying fallen out of the original text.

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