Highlights From This Passage
- Jacob comes to Laban and serves seven years for Rachel.
- Leah is brought to his bed instead of Rachel.
- He serveth seven years more for Rachel.
- Leah conceives and bears four sons.
- Rachel and Leah being both barren, give their maids to their husband.
- Leah gives mandrakes to Rachel that Jacob might lie with her.
- Laban is enriched for Jacob’s sake.
- Jacob is made very rich.
- Laban’s children murmur against Jacob.
- God commands him to return to his country.
- Rachel steals her father’s idols.
- Laban follows Jacob.
- A covenant is made between Laban and Jacob.
While he was yet speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she kept them. When Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban, his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban, his mother’s brother, Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept. Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s relative, and that he was Rebekah’s son. She ran and told her father.
When Laban heard the news of Jacob, his sister’s son, he ran to meet Jacob, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. Jacob told Laban all these things. Laban said to him, “Surely you are my bone and my flesh.” Jacob stayed with him for a month. Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my relative, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what will your wages be?”
Laban had two daughters. The name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and attractive. Jacob loved Rachel. He said, “I will serve you seven years for Rachel, your younger daughter.”
Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you, than that I should give her to another man. Stay with me.”
Jacob served seven years for Rachel. They seemed to him but a few days, for the love he had for her.
Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in to her.”
Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. In the evening, he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to Jacob. He went in to her. Laban gave Zilpah his servant to his daughter Leah for a servant. In the morning, behold, it was Leah! He said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Didn’t I serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?”
Laban said, “It is not done so in our place, to give the younger before the firstborn. Fulfill the week of this one, and we will give you the other also for the service which you will serve with me for seven more years.”
Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week. He gave him Rachel his daughter as wife. Laban gave Bilhah, his servant, to his daughter Rachel to be her servant. He went in also to Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him seven more years.
Yahweh saw that Leah was hated, and he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. Leah conceived, and bore a son, and she named him Reuben. For she said, “Because Yahweh has looked at my affliction; for now my husband will love me.” She conceived again, and bore a son, and said, “Because Yahweh has heard that I am hated, he has therefore given me this son also.” She named him Simeon. She conceived again, and bore a son. She said, “Now this time my husband will be joined to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi. She conceived again, and bore a son. She said, “This time I will praise Yahweh.” Therefore she named him Judah. Then she stopped bearing.
When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I will die.”
Jacob’s anger burned against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in God’s place, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?”
She said, “Behold, my maid Bilhah. Go in to her, that she may bear on my knees, and I also may obtain children by her.” She gave him Bilhah her servant as wife, and Jacob went in to her. Bilhah conceived, and bore Jacob a son. Rachel said, “God has judged me, and has also heard my voice, and has given me a son.” Therefore she called his name Dan. Bilhah, Rachel’s servant, conceived again, and bore Jacob a second son. Rachel said, “I have wrestled with my sister with mighty wrestlings, and have prevailed.” She named him Naphtali.
When Leah saw that she had finished bearing, she took Zilpah, her servant, and gave her to Jacob as a wife. Zilpah, Leah’s servant, bore Jacob a son. Leah said, “How fortunate!” She named him Gad. Zilpah, Leah’s servant, bore Jacob a second son. Leah said, “Happy am I, for the daughters will call me happy.” She named him Asher.
Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother, Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”
Leah said to her, “Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes, also?”
Rachel said, “Therefore he will lie with you tonight for your son’s mandrakes.”
Jacob came from the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, “You must come in to me; for I have surely hired you with my son’s mandrakes.”
He lay with her that night. God listened to Leah, and she conceived, and bore Jacob a fifth son. Leah said, “God has given me my hire, because I gave my servant to my husband.” She named him Issachar. Leah conceived again, and bore a sixth son to Jacob. Leah said, “God has endowed me with a good dowry. Now my husband will live with me, because I have borne him six sons.” She named him Zebulun. Afterwards, she bore a daughter, and named her Dinah.
God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her, and opened her womb. She conceived, bore a son, and said, “God has taken away my reproach.” She named him Joseph, saying, “May Yahweh add another son to me.”
When Rachel had borne Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, that I may go to my own place, and to my country. Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me go; for you know my service with which I have served you.”
Laban said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, stay here, for I have divined that Yahweh has blessed me for your sake.” He said, “Appoint me your wages, and I will give it.”
Jacob said to him, “You know how I have served you, and how your livestock have fared with me. For it was little which you had before I came, and it has increased to a multitude. Yahweh has blessed you wherever I turned. Now when will I provide for my own house also?”
Laban said, “What shall I give you?”
Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything. If you will do this thing for me, I will again feed your flock and keep it. I will pass through all your flock today, removing from there every speckled and spotted one, and every black one among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats. This will be my hire. So my righteousness will answer for me hereafter, when you come concerning my hire that is before you. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and black among the sheep, that might be with me, will be considered stolen.”
Laban said, “Behold, let it be according to your word.”
That day, he removed the male goats that were streaked and spotted, and all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white in it, and all the black ones among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons. He set three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks.
Jacob took to himself rods of fresh poplar, almond, and plane tree, peeled white streaks in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods. He set the rods which he had peeled opposite the flocks in the watering troughs where the flocks came to drink. They conceived when they came to drink. The flocks conceived before the rods, and the flocks produced streaked, speckled, and spotted. Jacob separated the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the streaked and all the black in Laban’s flock. He put his own droves apart, and didn’t put them into Laban’s flock. Whenever the stronger of the flock conceived, Jacob laid the rods in front of the eyes of the flock in the watering troughs, that they might conceive among the rods; but when the flock were feeble, he didn’t put them in. So the feebler were Laban’s, and the stronger Jacob’s. The man increased exceedingly, and had large flocks, female servants and male servants, and camels and donkeys.
Jacob heard Laban’s sons’ words, saying, “Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s. He has obtained all this wealth from that which was our father’s.” Jacob saw the expression on Laban’s face, and, behold, it was not toward him as before. Yahweh said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers, and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”
Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field to his flock, and said to them, “I see the expression on your father’s face, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father has been with me. You know that I have served your father with all of my strength. Your father has deceived me, and changed my wages ten times, but God didn’t allow him to hurt me. If he said, ‘The speckled will be your wages,’ then all the flock bore speckled. If he said, ‘The streaked will be your wages,’ then all the flock bore streaked. Thus God has taken away your father’s livestock, and given them to me. During mating season, I lifted up my eyes, and saw in a dream, and behold, the male goats which leaped on the flock were streaked, speckled, and grizzled. The angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob,’ and I said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Now lift up your eyes, and behold, all the male goats which leap on the flock are streaked, speckled, and grizzled, for I have seen all that Laban does to you. I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar, where you vowed a vow to me. Now arise, get out from this land, and return to the land of your birth.’”
Rachel and Leah answered him, “Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father’s house? Aren’t we considered as foreigners by him? For he has sold us, and has also used up our money. For all the riches which God has taken away from our father are ours and our children’s. Now then, whatever God has said to you, do.”
Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives on the camels, and he took away all his livestock, and all his possessions which he had gathered, including the livestock which he had gained in Paddan Aram, to go to Isaac his father, to the land of Canaan. Now Laban had gone to shear his sheep; and Rachel stole the teraphim that were her father’s.
Jacob deceived Laban the Syrian, in that he didn’t tell him that he was running away. So he fled with all that he had. He rose up, passed over the River, and set his face toward the mountain of Gilead.
Laban was told on the third day that Jacob had fled. He took his relatives with him, and pursued him seven days’ journey. He overtook him in the mountain of Gilead. God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream of the night, and said to him, “Be careful that you don’t speak to Jacob either good or bad.”
Laban caught up with Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mountain, and Laban with his relatives encamped in the mountain of Gilead. Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done, that you have deceived me, and carried away my daughters like captives of the sword? Why did you flee secretly, and deceive me, and didn’t tell me, that I might have sent you away with mirth and with songs, with tambourine and with harp; and didn’t allow me to kiss my sons and my daughters? Now have you done foolishly. It is in the power of my hand to hurt you, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Be careful that you don’t speak to Jacob either good or bad.’ Now, you want to be gone, because you greatly longed for your father’s house, but why have you stolen my gods?”
Jacob answered Laban, “Because I was afraid, for I said, ‘Lest you should take your daughters from me by force.’ Anyone you find your gods with shall not live. Before our relatives, discern what is yours with me, and take it.” For Jacob didn’t know that Rachel had stolen them.
Laban went into Jacob’s tent, into Leah’s tent, and into the tent of the two female servants; but he didn’t find them. He went out of Leah’s tent, and entered into Rachel’s tent. Now Rachel had taken the teraphim, put them in the camel’s saddle, and sat on them. Laban felt around all the tent, but didn’t find them. She said to her father, “Don’t let my lord be angry that I can’t rise up before you; for I’m having my period.” He searched, but didn’t find the teraphim.
Jacob was angry, and argued with Laban. Jacob answered Laban, “What is my trespass? What is my sin, that you have hotly pursued me? Now that you have felt around in all my stuff, what have you found of all your household stuff? Set it here before my relatives and your relatives, that they may judge between us two.
“These twenty years I have been with you. Your ewes and your female goats have not cast their young, and I haven’t eaten the rams of your flocks. That which was torn of animals, I didn’t bring to you. I bore its loss. Of my hand you required it, whether stolen by day or stolen by night. This was my situation: in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep fled from my eyes. These twenty years I have been in your house. I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times. Unless the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely now you would have sent me away empty. God has seen my affliction and the labor of my hands, and rebuked you last night.”
Laban answered Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine! What can I do today to these my daughters, or to their children whom they have borne? Now come, let’s make a covenant, you and I. Let it be for a witness between me and you.”
Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar. Jacob said to his relatives, “Gather stones.” They took stones, and made a heap. They ate there by the heap. Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha, but Jacob called it Galeed. Laban said, “This heap is witness between me and you today.” Therefore it was named Galeed and Mizpah, for he said, “Yahweh watch between me and you, when we are absent one from another. If you afflict my daughters, or if you take wives in addition to my daughters, no man is with us; behold, God is witness between me and you.” Laban said to Jacob, “See this heap, and see the pillar, which I have set between me and you. May this heap be a witness, and the pillar be a witness, that I will not pass over this heap to you, and that you will not pass over this heap and this pillar to me, for harm. The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.” Then Jacob swore by the fear of his father, Isaac. Jacob offered a sacrifice in the mountain, and called his relatives to eat bread. They ate bread, and stayed all night in the mountain. Early in the morning, Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them. Laban departed and returned to his place.