28 So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him. Then he commanded him, “You must not marry a Canaanite woman! 1 2 Leave immediately 2 for Paddan Aram! Go to the house of Bethuel, your mother’s father, and find yourself a wife there, among the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother. 3 May the sovereign God 3 bless you! May he make you fruitful and give you a multitude of descendants! 4 Then you will become 5 a large nation. 6 4 May he give you and your descendants the blessing he gave to Abraham 7 so that you may possess the land 8 God gave to Abraham, the land where you have been living as a temporary resident.” 9 5 So Isaac sent Jacob on his way, and he went to Paddan Aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean and brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau.
6 Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him off to Paddan Aram to find a wife there. 10 As he blessed him, 11 Isaac commanded him, “You must not marry a Canaanite woman.” 12 7 Jacob obeyed his father and mother and left for Paddan Aram. 8 Then Esau realized 13 that the Canaanite women 14 were displeasing to 15 his father Isaac. 9 So Esau went to Ishmael and married 16 Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Abraham’s son Ishmael, along with the wives he already had.
10 Meanwhile Jacob left Beer Sheba and set out for Haran. 11 He reached a certain place 17 where he decided to camp because the sun had gone down. 18 He took one of the stones 19 and placed it near his head. 20 Then he fell asleep 21 in that place 12 and had a dream. 22 He saw 23 a stairway 24 erected on the earth with its top reaching to the heavens. The angels of God were going up and coming down it 13 and the Lord stood at its top. He said, “I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham and the God of your father Isaac. 25 I will give you and your descendants the ground 26 you are lying on. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, 27 and you will spread out 28 to the west, east, north, and south. All the families of the earth will pronounce blessings on one another 29 using your name and that of your descendants. 30 15 I am with you! 31 I will protect you wherever you go and will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I promised you!”
16 Then Jacob woke up 32 and thought, 33 “Surely the Lord is in this place, but I did not realize it!” 17 He was afraid and said, “What an awesome place this is! This is nothing else than the house of God! This is the gate of heaven!”
18 Early 34 in the morning Jacob 35 took the stone he had placed near his head 36 and set it up as a sacred stone. 37 Then he poured oil on top of it. 19 He called that place Bethel, 38 although the former name of the town was Luz. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God is with me and protects me on this journey I am taking and gives me food 39 to eat and clothing to wear, 21 and I return safely to my father’s home, 40 then the Lord will become my God. 22 Then this stone 41 that I have set up as a sacred stone will be the house of God, and I will surely 42 give you back a tenth of everything you give me.” 43
29 So Jacob moved on 1 and came to the land of the eastern people. 2 2 He saw 3 in the field a well with 4 three flocks of sheep lying beside it, because the flocks were watered from that well. Now 5 a large stone covered the mouth of the well. 3 When all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds 6 would roll the stone off the mouth of the well and water the sheep. Then they would put the stone back in its place over the well’s mouth.
4 Jacob asked them, “My brothers, where are you from?” They replied, “We’re from Haran.” 5 So he said to them, “Do you know Laban, the grandson 7 of Nahor?” “We know him,” 8 they said. 6 “Is he well?” 9 Jacob asked. They replied, “He is well. 10 Now look, here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep.” 7 Then Jacob 11 said, “Since it is still the middle of the day, 12 it is not time for the flocks to be gathered. You should water the sheep and then go and let them graze some more.” 13 8 “We can’t,” they said, “until all the flocks are gathered and the stone is rolled off the mouth of the well. Then we water 14 the sheep.”
9 While he was still speaking with them, Rachel arrived with her father’s sheep, for she was tending them. 15 10 When Jacob saw Rachel, the daughter of his uncle Laban, 16 and the sheep of his uncle Laban, he 17 went over 18 and rolled the stone off the mouth of the well and watered the sheep of his uncle Laban. 19 11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel and began to weep loudly. 20 12 When Jacob explained 21 to Rachel that he was a relative of her father 22 and the son of Rebekah, she ran and told her father. 13 When Laban heard this news about Jacob, his sister’s son, he rushed out to meet him. He embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his house. Jacob 23 told Laban how he was related to him. 24 14 Then Laban said to him, “You are indeed my own flesh and blood.” 25 So Jacob 26 stayed with him for a month. 27
15 Then Laban said to Jacob, “Should you work 28 for me for nothing because you are my relative? 29 Tell me what your wages should be.” 16 (Now Laban had two daughters; 30 the older one was named Leah, and the younger one Rachel. 17 Leah’s eyes were tender, 31 but Rachel had a lovely figure and beautiful appearance.) 32 18 Since Jacob had fallen in love with 33 Rachel, he said, “I’ll serve you seven years in exchange for your younger daughter Rachel.” 19 Laban replied, “I’d rather give her to you than to another man. 34 Stay with me.” 20 So Jacob worked for seven years to acquire Rachel. 35 But they seemed like only a few days to him 36 because his love for her was so great. 37
21 Finally Jacob said 38 to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my time of service is up. 39 I want to have marital relations with her.” 40 22 So Laban invited all the people 41 of that place and prepared a feast. 23 In the evening he brought his daughter Leah 42 to Jacob, 43 and Jacob 44 had marital relations with her. 45 24 (Laban gave his female servant Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her servant.) 46
25 In the morning Jacob discovered it was Leah! 47 So Jacob 48 said to Laban, “What in the world have you done to me! 49 Didn’t I work for you in exchange for Rachel? Why have you tricked 50 me?” 26 “It is not our custom here,” 51 Laban replied, “to give the younger daughter in marriage 52 before the firstborn. 27 Complete my older daughter’s bridal week. 53 Then we will give you the younger one 54 too, in exchange for seven more years of work.” 55
28 Jacob did as Laban said. 56 When Jacob 57 completed Leah’s bridal week, 58 Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. 59 29 (Laban gave his female servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her servant.) 60 30 Jacob 61 had marital relations 62 with Rachel as well. He loved Rachel more than Leah, so he worked for Laban 63 for seven more years. 64
31 When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, 65 he enabled her to become pregnant 66 while Rachel remained childless. 32 So Leah became pregnant 67 and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, 68 for she said, “The Lord has looked with pity on my oppressed condition. 69 Surely my husband will love me now.”
33 She became pregnant again and had another son. She said, “Because the Lord heard that I was unloved, 70 he gave me this one too.” So she named him Simeon. 71
34 She became pregnant again and had another son. She said, “Now this time my husband will show me affection, 72 because I have given birth to three sons for him.” That is why he was named Levi. 73
35 She became pregnant again and had another son. She said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” That is why she named him Judah. 74 Then she stopped having children.
30 When Rachel saw that she could not give Jacob children, she 1 became jealous of her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children 2 or I’ll die!” 2 Jacob became furious 3 with Rachel and exclaimed, “Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?” 4 3 She replied, “Here is my servant Bilhah! Have sexual relations with 5 her so that she can bear 6 children 7 for me 8 and I can have a family through her.” 9
4 So Rachel 10 gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob had marital relations with 11 her. 5 Bilhah became pregnant 12 and gave Jacob a son. 13 6 Then Rachel said, “God has vindicated me. He has responded to my prayer 14 and given me a son.” That is why 15 she named him Dan. 16
7 Bilhah, Rachel’s servant, became pregnant again and gave Jacob another son. 17 8 Then Rachel said, “I have fought a desperate struggle with my sister, but I have won.” 18 So she named him Naphtali. 19
9 When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she gave 20 her servant Zilpah to Jacob as a wife. 10 Soon Leah’s servant Zilpah gave Jacob a son. 21 11 Leah said, “How fortunate!” 22 So she named him Gad. 23
12 Then Leah’s servant Zilpah gave Jacob another son. 24 13 Leah said, “How happy I am, 25 for women 26 will call me happy!” So she named him Asher. 27
14 At the time 28 of the wheat harvest Reuben went out and found some mandrake plants 29 in a field and brought them to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, “Give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” 15 But Leah replied, 30 “Wasn’t it enough that you’ve taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes too?” “All right,” 31 Rachel said, “he may sleep 32 with you tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.” 16 When Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must sleep 33 with me because I have paid for your services 34 with my son’s mandrakes.” So he had marital relations 35 with her that night. 17 God paid attention 36 to Leah; she became pregnant 37 and gave Jacob a son for the fifth time. 38 18 Then Leah said, “God has granted me a reward 39 because I gave my servant to my husband as a wife.” 40 So she named him Issachar. 41
19 Leah became pregnant again and gave Jacob a son for the sixth time. 42 20 Then Leah said, “God has given me a good gift. Now my husband will honor me because I have given him six sons.” So she named him Zebulun. 43
21 After that she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.
22 Then God took note of 44 Rachel. He paid attention to her and enabled her to become pregnant. 45 23 She became pregnant 46 and gave birth to a son. Then she said, “God has taken away my shame.” 47 24 She named him Joseph, 48 saying, “May the Lord give me yet another son.”
25 After Rachel had given birth 49 to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send 50 me on my way so that I can go 51 home to my own country. 52 26 Let me take my wives and my children whom I have acquired by working for you. 53 Then I’ll depart, 54 because you know how hard I’ve worked for you.” 55
27 But Laban said to him, “If I have found favor in your sight, please stay here, 56 for I have learned by divination 57 that the Lord has blessed me on account of you.” 28 He added, “Just name your wages – I’ll pay whatever you want.” 58
29 “You know how I have worked for you,” Jacob replied, 59 “and how well your livestock have fared under my care. 60 30 Indeed, 61 you had little before I arrived, 62 but now your possessions have increased many times over. 63 The Lord has blessed you wherever I worked. 64 But now, how long must it be before I do something for my own family too?” 65
31 So Laban asked, 66 “What should I give you?” “You don’t need to give me a thing,” 67 Jacob replied, 68 “but if you agree to this one condition, 69 I will continue to care for 70 your flocks and protect them: 32 Let me walk among 71 all your flocks today and remove from them every speckled or spotted sheep, every dark-colored lamb, 72 and the spotted or speckled goats. 73 These animals will be my wages. 74 33 My integrity will testify for me 75 later on. 76 When you come to verify that I’ve taken only the wages we agreed on, 77 if I have in my possession any goat that is not speckled or spotted or any sheep that is not dark-colored, it will be considered stolen.” 78 34 “Agreed!” said Laban, “It will be as you say.” 79
35 So that day Laban 80 removed the male goats that were streaked or spotted, all the female goats that were speckled or spotted (all that had any white on them), and all the dark-colored lambs, and put them in the care 81 of his sons. 36 Then he separated them from Jacob by a three-day journey, 82 while 83 Jacob was taking care of the rest of Laban’s flocks.
37 But Jacob took fresh-cut branches from poplar, almond, and plane trees. He made white streaks by peeling them, making the white inner wood in the branches visible. 38 Then he set up the peeled branches in all the watering troughs where the flocks came to drink. He set up the branches in front of the flocks when they were in heat and came to drink. 84 39 When the sheep mated 85 in front of the branches, they 86 gave birth to young that were streaked or speckled or spotted. 40 Jacob removed these lambs, but he made the rest of the flock face 87 the streaked and completely dark-colored animals in Laban’s flock. So he made separate flocks for himself and did not mix them with Laban’s flocks. 41 When the stronger females were in heat, 88 Jacob would set up the branches in the troughs in front of the flock, so they would mate near the branches. 42 But if the animals were weaker, he did not set the branches there. 89 So the weaker animals ended up belonging to Laban 90 and the stronger animals to Jacob. 43 In this way Jacob 91 became extremely prosperous. He owned 92 large flocks, male and female servants, camels, and donkeys.