The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Genesis
Then Jacob went on his way, and reached the eastern country.
Here, in the open plain, he found a well, with three flocks of sheep lying down beside it. It was here that the flocks were watered; but the mouth of the well was closed by a great stone,
and it was not the custom to roll this stone away till all the flocks were assembled. When these had had their fill, the stone was put back on the well mouth.
Whence come you, brethren? he asked the shepherds. From Haran, they answered.
And his next question was, whether they knew Laban, son of Nachor. Yes, they said, we know him.
Is all well with him? asked Jacob. Yes, said they, all is well with him. That is his daughter, Rachel, yonder, coming towards us with her flock.
Then Jacob said, The sun is still high, and it is a long time before the flocks need to be folded; why do you not water the sheep at once, and take them back to their pasture again?
That cannot be done, they answered, until all the herds have assembled here; we wait till then, before we move the stone from the well mouth and water our flocks.
The words were scarcely spoken, when Rachel came up with her father’s sheep; Rachel herself was their shepherdess.
Jacob watched her as she came; this was his cousin, these were his uncle Laban’s sheep; so he moved away the stone by which the well was shut in.
Then, when she had watered her flock, he went up and kissed her, weeping aloud;
and he told her that he was her father’s kinsman, Rebecca’s son; whereupon she went quickly home to tell her father the news.
No sooner did Laban hear of his nephew Jacob’s arrival, than he ran out to meet him, embraced him, covered him with kisses, and brought him back home. He listened to the reasons that had brought him there,
and said, Thou art my own flesh and blood. And he waited till a month had passed;
then he said, Because thou art my kinsman, that is no reason why thou shouldst work for me free of charge; tell me what reward thou wouldst have.
Laban had two daughters; Rachel was the younger and her elder sister was called Lia.
But Lia was dull-eyed, whereas Rachel had beauty both of form and face,
and on her Jacob’s love had fallen. So he answered, I will work seven years for thee to win thy younger daughter Rachel.
Better thou, said Laban, than any other husband I could find for her; stay, then, at my side.
So Jacob worked seven years to win Rachel, and they seemed to him only a few days, because of the greatness of his love.
Then he said to Laban, Give me my bride; the time has come now for me to wed her.
So Laban invited a great company of his friends to the wedding feast;
but that night he matched Jacob with his daughter Lia instead,
giving her a maid called Zelpha to wait on her. So, with all due ceremony, Jacob took her to his bed, and it was not till morning he found out that it was Lia.
Whereupon he said to Laban, What meanest thou? Did not I work for thee to win Rachel? What is this trick thou hast played on me?
And Laban answered, It is not the custom of our country to wed our younger daughters first.
Celebrate this wedding of thine for a full week, and I will give thee Rachel too, and thou shalt work for me another seven years to earn her.
To this Jacob agreed, and when the week was over he made Rachel his wife;
the waiting-maid her father gave to Rachel was called Bala.
So, at last, he won the bride he had longed for, and loved her better than he had loved her sister; meanwhile, he spent another seven years in Laban’s service.
And now, seeing Lia thus despised, the Lord gave her issue, while Rachel must remain barren.
So she conceived and bore a son, whom she called Ruben, as if she would say, the Lord has looked on my lowliness, Raa-beoni. Now, she thought, my husband will love me.
Then she conceived again, and again bore a son; Fresh gift, said she, is fresh proof the Lord has come to hear of the despite done me; so she called him Simeon, Hearing.
Then she conceived a third time, and bore another son; This time, she thought, my husband will be closely knit to me, now that I have borne him three sons, and she called him Levi, Knit together.
And when she conceived a fourth time, and bore a son, she said, Now I may praise the Lord, and she called him Juda, Praise. Then, for a while, she had no more children.
The Holy Bible