How Jacob Married Two Wives

Now when Rebekah learned that Esau planned to kill Jacob because he had tricked him out of his blessing, she told Jacob, "Go to my brother Laban in Haran, until your brother Esau is not angry any more. Then I will send word and tell you to come back." Then she told her husband Isaac, "Esau's wives make me tired of living. If Jacob marries a Hittite woman like Esau did, what good will life be?" So Isaac called his son Jacob and blessed him and told him to go to his mother's relatives to find a wife.

Then Jacob left home and started toward Haran. Along the way he stopped one night to sleep. He found a rock to use as a pillow and lay down on the ground. As he slept, he dreamed that he saw a ladder on the earth that reached up to heaven. On it he saw angels of God going up and down. God saw standing at the top of it and He said to Jacob, "I am the God of Abraham and your father Isaac. I will give this land to you and your children. I am with you and will keep you safe wherever you go. I will bring you back to this land and will not leave you." When Jacob woke up, he said, "God is in this place, and I did not know it." In the morning he got up and set up the rock that he had slept on and put olive oil on it and made a promise to God, "If You will go with me and keep me safe until I come back to my father's house in peace, You will be my God and I will give You back a tenth of all that You give me." And he named that place Bethel.

Then Jacob went on his way. As he came near Haran, he saw a well in the field with three flocks of sheep lying near it. There was a heavy stone over the opening of the well. Whenever all the sheep came to get water, the shepherds would roll the stone back and water the sheep. Then they would cover the well with the stone again.

Jacob asked the shepherds, "Brothers, where are you from?" "Haran," they said. "Do you know Laban, the son of Nahor?" he asked. "Yes," they answered. "Is he well?" he asked. "Yes," they said, "Look, here comes his daughter Rachel with his sheep." Jacob asked, "Why don't you water your sheep and take them back out to the pasture?" They answered, "We can't do that until all the flocks are here and the stone is rolled back."

While Jacob was talking to the shepherds, Rachel came up with her father's sheep. So Jacob rolled the stone off the well and watered his uncle's sheep. Then he kissed Rachel and began to cry. He told her, "I am your father's relative, the son of Rebekah." She ran to tell her father, and when he heard, he ran out to meet Jacob. Laban hugged him and kissed him and brought him home. And Jacob stayed with him a month.

Then Laban said to Jacob, "You shouldn't work for me for nothing just because you are my relative. What shall I pay you?" Now Laban had two daughters; the younger named Rachel was more beautiful than the older, who was named Leah. So Jacob said, "I will work seven years for you, if you will let me marry Rachel." Laban agreed and so Jacob worked seven years for him in order to marry Rachel. But the time seemed like only a few days to him because he loved her so much.

When the seven years were over, Jacob said to Laban, "Give me my wife." So Laban held a wedding feast and invited everyone. But that night he took Leah to Jacob. The next morning when it was light Jacob saw that he had married Leah instead of Rachel. He went to Laban and said, "I worked to get Rachel. Why did you trick me?" Laban answered, "In our country the younger daughter does not get married before the older. Finish the week's marriage feast and I will give you Rachel too, if you will work another seven years for me." Jacob agreed and so the next week he married Rachel too. Then he worked another seven years for Laban. But he loved Rachel more than he loved Leah.

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