Saturday, January 10, 2004

Jacob: Genesis 28:10-30

Genesis 28

Jacobs Dream at Bethel

10Meanwhile, Jacob left Beersheba and traveled toward Haran. 11At sundown he arrived at a good place to set up camp and stopped there for the night. Jacob found a stone for a pillow and lay down to sleep. 12As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from earth to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down on it.
13At the top of the stairway stood the LORD, and he said, "I am the LORD, the God of your grandfather Abraham and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I will give it to you and your descendants. 14Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will cover the land from east to west and from north to south. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants.[a] 15What's more, I will be with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. I will someday bring you safely back to this land. I will be with you constantly until I have finished giving you everything I have promised."

16Then Jacob woke up and said, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I wasn't even aware of it." 17He was afraid and said, "What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God--the gateway to heaven!" 18The next morning he got up very early. He took the stone he had used as a pillow and set it upright as a memorial pillar. Then he poured olive oil over it. 19He named the place Bethel--"house of God"--though the name of the nearby village was Luz.

20Then Jacob made this vow: "If God will be with me and protect me on this journey and give me food and clothing, 21and if he will bring me back safely to my father, then I will make the LORD my God. 22This memorial pillar will become a place for worshiping God, and I will give God a tenth of everything he gives me."

Genesis 28:14 Hebrew seed.

Genesis 29

Jacob Arrives at Paddan-Aram
1Jacob hurried on, finally arriving in the land of the east. 2He saw in the distance three flocks of sheep lying in an open field beside a well, waiting to be watered. But a heavy stone covered the mouth of the well. 3It was the custom there to wait for all the flocks to arrive before removing the stone. After watering them, the stone would be rolled back over the mouth of the well. 4Jacob went over to the shepherds and asked them, "Where do you live?"
"At Haran," they said.

5"Do you know a man there named Laban, the grandson of Nahor?"

"Yes, we do," they replied.

6"How is he?" Jacob asked.

"He's well and prosperous. Look, here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep."

7"Why don't you water the flocks so they can get back to grazing?" Jacob asked. "They'll be hungry if you stop so early in the day."

8"We don't roll away the stone and begin the watering until all the flocks and shepherds are here," they replied.

9As this conversation was going on, Rachel arrived with her father's sheep, for she was a shepherd. 10And because she was his cousin, the daughter of his mother's brother, and because the sheep were his uncle's, Jacob went over to the well and rolled away the stone and watered his uncle's flock. 11Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and tears came to his eyes. 12He explained that he was her cousin on her father's side, her aunt Rebekah's son. So Rachel quickly ran and told her father, Laban.

13As soon as Laban heard about Jacob's arrival, he rushed out to meet him and greeted him warmly. Laban then brought him home, and Jacob told him his story. 14"Just think, my very own flesh and blood!" Laban exclaimed.

Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel

After Jacob had been there about a month, 15Laban said to him, "You shouldn't work for me without pay just because we are relatives. How much do you want?"
16Now Laban had two daughters: Leah, who was the oldest, and her younger sister, Rachel. 17Leah had pretty eyes,[a] but Rachel was beautiful in every way, with a lovely face and shapely figure. 18Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he told her father, "I'll work for you seven years if you'll give me Rachel, your younger daughter, as my wife."

19"Agreed!" Laban replied. "I'd rather give her to you than to someone outside the family."

20So Jacob spent the next seven years working to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days. 21Finally, the time came for him to marry her. "I have fulfilled my contract," Jacob said to Laban. "Now give me my wife so we can be married."

22So Laban invited everyone in the neighborhood to celebrate with Jacob at a wedding feast. 23That night, when it was dark, Laban took Leah to Jacob, and he slept with her. 24And Laban gave Leah a servant, Zilpah, to be her maid.

25But when Jacob woke up in the morning--it was Leah! "What sort of trick is this?" Jacob raged at Laban. "I worked seven years for Rachel. What do you mean by this trickery?"

26"It's not our custom to marry off a younger daughter ahead of the firstborn," Laban replied. 27"Wait until the bridal week is over, and you can have Rachel, too--that is, if you promise to work another seven years for me."

28So Jacob agreed to work seven more years. A week after Jacob had married Leah, Laban gave him Rachel, too. 29And Laban gave Rachel a servant, Bilhah, to be her maid. 30So Jacob slept with Rachel, too, and he loved her more than Leah. He then stayed and worked the additional seven years.

Jacob's Many Children

31But because Leah was unloved, the LORD let her have a child, while Rachel was childless. 32So Leah became pregnant and had a son. She named him Reuben,[b] for she said, "The LORD has noticed my misery, and now my husband will love me." 33She soon became pregnant again and had another son. She named him Simeon,[c] for she said, "The LORD heard that I was unloved and has given me another son." 34Again she became pregnant and had a son. She named him Levi,[d] for she said, "Surely now my husband will feel affection for me, since I have given him three sons!" 35Once again she became pregnant and had a son. She named him Judah,[e] for she said, "Now I will praise the LORD!" And then she stopped having children.

Genesis 29:17 Or dull eyes. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
Genesis 29:32 Reuben means "Look, a son!" It also sounds like the Hebrew for "He has seen my misery."
Genesis 29:33 Simeon probably means "one who hears."
Genesis 29:34 Levi sounds like a Hebrew term that means "being attached" or "feeling affection for."
Genesis 29:35 Judah sounds like the Hebrew term for "praise."

Genesis 30

1 When Rachel saw that she wasn't having any children, she became jealous of her sister. "Give me children, or I'll die!" she exclaimed to Jacob.
2Jacob flew into a rage. "Am I God?" he asked. "He is the only one able to give you children!"

3Then Rachel told him, "Sleep with my servant, Bilhah, and she will bear children for me." 4So Rachel gave him Bilhah to be his wife, and Jacob slept with her. 5Bilhah became pregnant and presented him with a son. 6Rachel named him Dan,[a] for she said, "God has vindicated me! He has heard my request and given me a son." 7Then Bilhah became pregnant again and gave Jacob a second son. 8Rachel named him Naphtali,[b] for she said, "I have had an intense struggle with my sister, and I am winning!"

9Meanwhile, Leah realized that she wasn't getting pregnant anymore, so she gave her servant, Zilpah, to Jacob to be his wife. 10Soon Zilpah presented him with another son. 11Leah named him Gad,[c] for she said, "How fortunate I am!" 12Then Zilpah produced a second son, 13and Leah named him Asher,[d] for she said, "What joy is mine! The other women will consider me happy indeed!"

14One day during the wheat harvest, Reuben found some mandrakes growing in a field and brought the roots to his mother, Leah. Rachel begged Leah to give some of them to her. 15But Leah angrily replied, "Wasn't it enough that you stole my husband? Now will you steal my son's mandrake roots, too?"

Rachel said, "I will let him sleep with you tonight in exchange for the mandrake roots."

16So that evening, as Jacob was coming home from the fields, Leah went out to meet him. "You must sleep with me tonight!" she said. "I have paid for you with some mandrake roots my son has found." So Jacob slept with her. 17And God answered her prayers. She became pregnant again and gave birth to her fifth son. 18She named him Issachar,[e] for she said, "God has rewarded me for giving my servant to my husband as a wife." 19Then she became pregnant again and had a sixth son. 20She named him Zebulun,[f] for she said, "God has given me good gifts for my husband. Now he will honor me, for I have given him six sons." 21Later she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.

22Then God remembered Rachel's plight and answered her prayers by giving her a child. 23She became pregnant and gave birth to a son. "God has removed my shame," she said. 24And she named him Joseph,[g] for she said, "May the LORD give me yet another son."

Jacobs Wealth Increases

25Soon after Joseph was born to Rachel, Jacob said to Laban, "I want to go back home. 26Let me take my wives and children, for I have earned them from you, and let me be on my way. You know I have fully paid for them with my service to you."
27"Please don't leave me," Laban replied, "for I have learned by divination that the LORD has blessed me because you are here. 28How much do I owe you? Whatever it is, I'll pay it."

29Jacob replied, "You know how faithfully I've served you through these many years, and how your flocks and herds have grown. 30You had little indeed before I came, and your wealth has increased enormously. The LORD has blessed you from everything I do! But now, what about me? When should I provide for my own family?"

31"What wages do you want?" Laban asked again.

Jacob replied, "Don't give me anything at all. Just do one thing, and I'll go back to work for you. 32Let me go out among your flocks today and remove all the sheep and goats that are speckled or spotted, along with all the dark-colored sheep. Give them to me as my wages. 33This will make it easy for you to see whether or not I have been honest. If you find in my flock any white sheep or goats that are not speckled, you will know that I have stolen them from you."

34"All right," Laban replied. "It will be as you have said." 35But that very day Laban went out and removed all the male goats that were speckled and spotted, the females that were speckled and spotted with any white patches, and all the dark-colored sheep. He placed them in the care of his sons, 36and they took them three days' distance from where Jacob was. Meanwhile, Jacob stayed and cared for Laban's flock.

37Now Jacob took fresh shoots from poplar, almond, and plane trees and peeled off strips of the bark to make white streaks on them. 38Then he set up these peeled branches beside the watering troughs so Laban's flocks would see them as they came to drink, for that was when they mated. 39So when the flocks mated in front of the white-streaked branches, all of their offspring were streaked, speckled, and spotted. 40Jacob added them to his own flock, thus separating the lambs from Laban's flock. Then at mating time, he turned the flocks toward the streaked and dark-colored rams in Laban's flock. This is how he built his flock from Laban's. 41Whenever the stronger females were ready to mate, Jacob set up the peeled branches in front of them. 42But he didn't do this with the weaker ones, so the weaker lambs belonged to Laban, and the stronger ones were Jacob's. 43As a result, Jacob's flocks increased rapidly, and he became very wealthy, with many servants, camels, and donkeys.

Genesis 30:6 Dan is a play on the Hebrew term meaning "to vindicate" or "to judge."
Genesis 30:8 Naphtali means "my struggle."
Genesis 30:11 Gad means "good fortune."
Genesis 30:13 Asher means "happy."
Genesis 30:18 Issachar sounds like a Hebrew term that means "reward."
Genesis 30:20 Zebulun probably means "honor."
Genesis 30:24 Joseph means "may he add."