Teacher: Rusty Kennedy
Series: Bible Stories
1Jacob resumed his journey and went to the eastern country. 2 He looked and saw a well in a field. Three flocks of sheep were lying there beside it because the sheep were watered from this well. A large stone covered the opening of the well. 3 When all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone from the opening of the well and water the sheep. The stone was then placed back on the well’s opening.
4 Jacob asked the men at the well, “My brothers! Where are you from?”
“We’re from Haran,” they answered.
5 “Do you know Laban grandson of Nahor?” Jacob asked them.
They answered, “We know him.”
6 “Is he well?” Jacob asked.
“Yes,” they said, “and here is his daughter Rachel, coming with his sheep.”
7 Then Jacob said, “Look, it is still broad daylight. It’s not time for the animals to be gathered. Water the flock, then go out and let them graze.”
8 But they replied, “We can’t until all the flocks have been gathered and the stone is rolled from the well’s opening. Then we will water the sheep.”
9 While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess. 10 As soon as Jacob saw his uncle Laban’s daughter Rachel with his sheep, he went up and rolled the stone from the opening and watered his uncle Laban’s sheep. 11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel and wept loudly. 12 He told Rachel that he was her father’s relative, Rebekah’s son. She ran and told her father.
13 When Laban heard the news about his sister’s son Jacob, he ran to meet him, hugged him, and kissed him. Then he took him to his house, and Jacob told him all that had happened.
14 Laban said to him, “Yes, you are my own flesh and blood.” r
After Jacob had stayed with him a month, 15 Laban said to him, “Just because you’re my relative, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me what your wages should be.”
16 Now Laban had two daughters: the older was named Leah, and the younger was named Rachel. 17 Leah had ordinary eyes, but Rachel was shapely and beautiful. 18 Jacob loved Rachel, so he answered Laban, “I’ll work for you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.”
19 Laban replied, “Better that I give her to you than to some other man. Stay with me.” 20 So Jacob worked seven years for Rachel, and they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.
21 Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my time is completed. I want to sleep with her.” 22 So Laban invited all the men of the place to a feast. 23 That evening, Laban took his daughter Leah and gave her to Jacob, and he slept with her. 24 And Laban gave his slave Zilpah to his daughter Leah as her slave.
25 When morning came, there was Leah! So he said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Wasn’t it for Rachel that I worked for you? Why have you deceived me?”
26 Laban answered, “It is not the custom in this place to give the younger daughter in marriage before the firstborn. 27 Complete this week of wedding celebration, and we will also give you this younger one in return for working yet another seven years for me.”
28 And Jacob did just that. He finished the week of celebration, and Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife. 29 And Laban gave his slave Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her slave. 30 Jacob slept with Rachel also, and indeed, he loved Rachel more than Leah. And he worked for Laban another seven years.
31 When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved,
- The word senu'ah also occurs in Deut 21:15 in a similar context where a man has two wives. Certain Bibles translate the latter occurrence “unloved” but opt for “hated” here (esv). “Unloved” captures the intended meaning: Jacob does not have antipathy toward Leah, he simply prefers Rachel—the woman he labored for in both seven year periods.
He opened her womb; but Rachel was unable to conceive. 32 Leah conceived, gave birth to a son, and named him Reuben, for she said, “The Lord has seen my affliction; surely my husband will love me now.”
33 She conceived again, gave birth to a son, and said, “The Lord heard that I am unloved and has given me this son also.” So she named him Simeon.
34 She conceived again, gave birth to a son, and said, “At last, my husband will become attached to me because I have borne three sons for him.” Therefore he was named Levi.
35 And she conceived again, gave birth to a son, and said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she named him Judah. Then Leah stopped having children.
1 When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she envied her sister. “Give me sons, or I will die!” she said to Jacob.
2 Jacob became angry with Rachel and said, “Am I in God’s place, who has withheld children from you?”
3 Then she said, “Here is my slave Bilhah. Go sleep with her, and she’ll bear children for me so that through her I too can build a family.” 4 So Rachel gave her slave Bilhah to Jacob as a wife, and he slept with her. 5 Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. 6 Rachel said, “God has vindicated me; yes, He has heard me and given me a son,” and she named him Dan.
7 Rachel’s slave Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. 8 Rachel said, “In my wrestlings with God, I have wrestled with my sister and won,” and she named him Naphtali.
9 When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she took her slave Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10 Leah’s slave Zilpah bore Jacob a son. 11 Then Leah said, “What good fortune!” and she named him Gad.
12 When Leah’s slave Zilpah bore Jacob a second son, 13 Leah said, “I am happy that the women call me happy,” so she named him Asher.
14 Reuben went out during the wheat harvest and found some mandrakes in the field. When he brought them to his mother Leah, Rachel asked, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”
15 But Leah replied to her, “Isn’t it enough that you have taken my husband? Now you also want to take my son’s mandrakes?”
“Well,” Rachel said, “you can sleep with him tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.”
16 When Jacob came in from the field that evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must come with me, for I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So Jacob slept with her that night.
17 God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18 Leah said, “God has rewarded me for giving my slave to my husband,” and she named him Issachar.
19 Then Leah conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son. 20 “God has given me a good gift,” Leah said. “This time my husband will honor me because I have borne six sons for him,” and she named him Zebulun. 21 Later, Leah bore a daughter and named her Dinah.
22 Then God remembered Rachel. He listened to her and opened her womb. 23 She conceived and bore a son, and said, “God has taken away my shame.” 24 She named him Joseph: “May the Lord add another son to me.”
25 After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me on my way so that I can return to my homeland. 26 Give me my wives and my children that I have worked for, and let me go. You know how hard I have worked for you.”
27 But Laban said to him, “If I have found favor in your sight, stay. I have learned by divination that the Lord has blessed me because of you.” 28 Then Laban said, “Name your wages, and I will pay them.”
29 So Jacob said to him, “You know what I have done for you and your herds. 30 For you had very little before I came, but now your wealth has increased. The Lord has blessed you because of me. And now, when will I also do something for my own family?”
31 Laban asked, “What should I give you?”
And Jacob said, “You don’t need to give me anything. If you do this one thing for me, I will continue to shepherd and keep your flock. 32 Let me go through all your sheep today and remove every sheep that is speckled or spotted, every dark-colored sheep among the lambs, and the spotted and speckled among the female goats. Such will be my wages. 33 In the future when you come to check on my wages, my honesty will testify for me. If I have any female goats that are not speckled or spotted, or any lambs that are not black, they will be considered stolen.”
34 “Good,” said Laban. “Let it be as you have said.”
37 Jacob then took branches of fresh poplar, almond, and plane wood, and peeled the bark, exposing white stripes on the branches. 38 He set the peeled branches in the troughs in front of the sheep—in the water channels where the sheep came to drink. And the sheep bred when they came to drink. 39 The flocks bred in front of the branches and bore streaked, speckled, and spotted young. 40 Jacob separated the lambs and made the flocks face the streaked and the completely dark sheep in Laban’s flocks. Then he set his own stock apart and didn’t put them with Laban’s sheep.
41 Whenever the stronger of the flock were breeding, Jacob placed the branches in the troughs, in full view of the flocks, and they would breed in front of the branches. 42 As for the weaklings of the flocks, he did not put out the branches. So it turned out that the weak sheep belonged to Laban and the stronger ones to Jacob. 43 And the man became very rich. He had many flocks, male and female slaves, and camels and donkeys.
1 Now Jacob heard what Laban’s sons were saying: “Jacob has taken all that was our father’s and has built this wealth from what belonged to our father.” 2 And Jacob saw from Laban’s face that his attitude toward him was not the same.
3 Then the Lord said to him, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you.”
4 Jacob had Rachel and Leah called to the field where his flocks were. 5 He said to them, “I can see from your father’s face that his attitude toward me is not the same, but the God of my father has been with me. 6 You know that I’ve worked hard for your father 7 and that he has cheated me and changed my wages 10 times. But God has not let him harm me. 8 If he said, ‘The spotted sheep will be your wages,’ then all the sheep were born spotted. If he said, ‘The streaked sheep will be your wages,’ then all the sheep were born streaked. 9 God has taken away your father’s herds and given them to me.
10 “When the flocks were breeding, I saw in a dream that the streaked, spotted, and speckled males were mating with the females. 11 In that dream the Angel of God said to me, ‘Jacob!’ and I said, ‘Here I am.’ 12 And He said, ‘Look up and see: all the males that are mating with the flocks are streaked, spotted, and speckled, for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel, where you poured oil on the stone marker and made a solemn vow to Me. Get up, leave this land, and return to your native land.’ ”
14 Then Rachel and Leah answered him, “Do we have any portion or inheritance in our father’s household? 15 Are we not regarded by him as outsiders? For he has sold us and has certainly spent our money. 16 In fact, all the wealth that God has taken away from our father belongs to us and to our children. So do whatever God has said to you.”
17 Then Jacob got up and put his children and wives on the camels. 18 He took all the livestock and possessions he had acquired in Paddan-aram, and he drove his herds to go to the land of his father Isaac in Canaan. 19 When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father’s household idols. 20 And Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean, not telling him that he was fleeing. 21 He fled with all his possessions, crossed the Euphrates, and headed for the hill country of Gilead.
22 On the third day Laban was told that Jacob had fled. 23 So he took his relatives with him, pursued Jacob for seven days, and overtook him at Mount Gilead. 24 But God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night. “Watch yourself!” God warned him. “Don’t say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.”
25 When Laban overtook Jacob, Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country, and Laban and his brothers also pitched their tents in the hill country of Gilead. 26 Then Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done? You have deceived me and taken my daughters away like prisoners of war! 27 Why did you secretly flee from me, deceive me, and not tell me? I would have sent you away with joy and singing, with tambourines and lyres, 28 but you didn’t even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters. You have acted foolishly. 29 I could do you great harm, but last night the God of your father said to me: ‘Watch yourself. Don’t say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.’ 30 Now you have gone off because you long for your father—but why have you stolen my gods?”
31 Jacob answered, “I was afraid, for I thought you would take your daughters from me by force. 32 If you find your gods with anyone here, he will not live! Before our relatives, point out anything that is yours and take it.” Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the idols.
33 So Laban went into Jacob’s tent, then Leah’s tent, and then the tents of the two female slaves, but he found nothing. Then he left Leah’s tent and entered Rachel’s. 34 Now Rachel had taken Laban’s household idols, put them in the saddlebag of the camel, and sat on them. Laban searched the whole tent but found nothing.
35 She said to her father, “Sir, don’t be angry that I cannot stand up in your presence; I am having my period.” So Laban searched, but could not find the household idols.
36 Then Jacob became incensed and brought charges against Laban. “What is my crime?” he said to Laban. “What is my sin, that you have pursued me? 37 You’ve searched all my possessions! Have you found anything of yours? Put it here before my relatives and yours, and let them decide between the two of us. 38 I’ve been with you these 20 years. Your ewes and female goats have not miscarried, and I have not eaten the rams from your flock. 39 I did not bring you any of the flock torn by wild beasts; I myself bore the loss. You demanded payment from me for what was stolen by day or by night. 40 There I was—the heat consumed me by day and the frost by night, and sleep fled from my eyes. 41 For 20 years I have worked in your household—14 years for your two daughters and six years for your flocks —and you have changed my wages 10 times! 42 If the God of my father, the God of Abraham, the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, certainly now you would have sent me off empty-handed. But God has seen my affliction and my hard work, and He issued His verdict last night.”
43 Then Laban answered Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters; the sons, my sons; and the flocks, my flocks! Everything you see is mine! But what can I do today for these daughters of mine or for the children they have borne? 44 Come now, let’s make a covenant, you and I. Let it be a witness between the two of us.”
45 So Jacob picked out a stone and set it up as a marker. 46 Then Jacob said to his relatives, “Gather stones.” And they took stones and made a mound, then ate there by the mound. 47 Laban named the mound Jegar-sahadutha, but Jacob named it Galeed.
48 Then Laban said, “This mound is a witness between you and me today.” Therefore the place was called Galeed 49 and also Mizpah, for he said, “May the Lord watch between you and me when we are out of each other’s sight. 50 If you mistreat my daughters or take other wives, though no one is with us, understand that God will be a witness between you and me.” 51 Laban also said to Jacob, “Look at this mound and the marker I have set up between you and me. 52 This mound is a witness and the marker is a witness that I will not pass beyond this mound to you, and you will not pass beyond this mound and this marker to do me harm. 53 The God of Abraham, and the gods of Nahor—the gods of their father —will judge between us.” And Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac. 54 Then Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain and invited his relatives to eat a meal. So they ate a meal and spent the night on the mountain. 55Laban got up early in the morning, kissed his grandchildren and daughters, and blessed them. Then Laban left to return home. 
 Barry, J. D., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Mangum, D., & Whitehead, M. M. (2012). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 29:31). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
 The Holy Bible: Holman Christian standard version. (2009). (Ge 29-31). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.