Continuing his journey, Jacob reached the Land of the Easterners.
And there, out in the open, he saw a well with three flocks of sheep lying beside it; this well was used for watering the flocks. Now the stone on the mouth of the well was a large one,
and only when all the flocks had collected there, did they roll the stone off the mouth of the well and water the sheep; then they would replace the stone over the mouth of the well.
Jacob said to the shepherds, 'Friends, where are you from?' They replied, 'We are from Haran.'
He asked them, 'Do you know Laban son of Nahor?' They replied, 'We do.'
Then he asked them, 'Is he well?' 'He is,' they replied, 'and here comes his daughter Rachel with the flock.'
Then he said, 'But it is still broad daylight, not the time to round up the animals. Why don't you water the sheep and take them back to graze?'
To which, they replied, 'We can't, until all the shepherds have assembled to roll the stone off the mouth of the well; then we can water the sheep.'
He was still talking to them, when Rachel arrived with her father's flock, for she was a shepherdess.
As soon as Jacob saw Rachel, his uncle Laban's daughter, with his uncle Laban's flock, he went up and, rolling the stone off the mouth of the well, watered his uncle Laban's sheep.
Jacob then kissed Rachel and burst into tears.
He told Rachel he was her father's kinsman and Rebekah's son, and she ran to tell her father.
As soon as he heard her speak of his sister's son Jacob, Laban ran to greet him, embraced him, kissed him and took him to his house. Jacob told Laban everything that had happened,
and Laban said to him, 'You are indeed my bone and flesh!' After Jacob had been staying with him for a month,
Laban said to Jacob, 'Just because you are my kinsman, why should you work for me for nothing? Tell me what wages you want.'
Now Laban had two daughters, the elder named Leah, and the younger Rachel.
Leah had lovely eyes, but Rachel was shapely and beautiful,
and Jacob had fallen in love with Rachel. So his answer was, 'I shall work for you for seven years in exchange for your younger daughter Rachel.'
Laban replied, 'It is better for me to give her to you than to a stranger; stay with me.'
So Jacob worked for seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him like a few days because he loved her so much.
Then Jacob said to Laban, 'Give me my wife, for my time is up and I should like to go to her.'
Laban gathered all the people of the place together, and gave a banquet.
But when night came, he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he slept with her.
(Laban gave his slave-girl Zilpah to his daughter Leah as her slave.)
When morning came, it was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, 'What have you done to me? Did I not work for you for Rachel? Why then have you tricked me?'
Laban replied, 'It is not the custom in our place to marry off the younger before the elder.
Finish this marriage week and I shall give you the other one too in return for your working for me for another seven years.'
Jacob agreed and, when he had finished the week, Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife.
(Laban gave his slave-girl Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her slave.)
So Jacob slept with Rachel too, and he loved Rachel more than Leah. He worked for Laban for another seven years.
When Yahweh saw that Leah was unloved, he opened her womb, while Rachel remained barren.
Leah conceived and gave birth to a son whom she named Reuben, meaning 'Yahweh has seen my misery'; and she said, 'Now my husband will love me.'
Conceiving again, she gave birth to a son and said, 'Yahweh heard that I was unloved, and so he has given me this one too'; and she named him Simeon.
Again she conceived and gave birth to a son, and said, 'This time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.' Accordingly, she named him Levi.
Again she conceived and gave birth to a son, and said, 'Now I shall praise Yahweh!' Accordingly, she named him Judah. Then she had no more children.