Jacob comes to Laban’s house
1: Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east. 2: And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone was upon the well's mouth. 3: And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well's mouth in his place. 4: And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we. 5: And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him. 6: And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep. 7: And he said, Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together: water ye the sheep, and go and feed them. 8: And they said, We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and till they roll the stone from the well's mouth; then we water the sheep. 9: And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep: for she kept them. 10: And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother. 11: And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept. 12: And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's brother, and that he was Rebekah's son: and she ran and told her father. 13: And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister's son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things. 14: And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month.
Jacob works for his wives
15: And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be? 16: And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17: Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured. 18: And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter. 19: And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me. 20: And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her. 21: And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her. 22: And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. 23: And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her. 24: And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid. 25: And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me? 26: And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. 27: Fulfill her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years. 28: And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also. 29: And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid. 30: And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.
31: And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. 32: And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me. 33: And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon. 34: And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi. 35: And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.
1: And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. 2: And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb? 3: And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees that I may also have children by her. 4: And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her. 5: And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son. 6: And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan. 7: And Bilhah Rachel's maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son. 8: And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali. 9: When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife. 10: And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a son. 11: And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad. 12: And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a second son. 13: And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher. 14: And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son's mandrakes. 15: And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son's mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son's mandrakes. 16: And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son's mandrakes. And he lay with her that night. 17: And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son. 18: And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar. 19: And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son. 20: And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun. 21: And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah. 22: And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. 23: And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach: 24: And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son.
Jacob leaves Laban
25: And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country. 26: Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served thee, and let me go: for thou knowest my service which I have done thee. 27: And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake. 28: And he said, Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it. 29: And he said unto him, Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy cattle was with me. 30: For it was little which thou hadst before I came, and it is now increased unto a multitude; and the LORD hath blessed thee since my coming: and now when shall I provide for mine own house also? 31: And he said, What shall I give thee? And Jacob said, Thou shalt not give me any thing: if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep thy flock: 32: I will pass through all thy flock to day, removing from thence all the speckled and spotted cattle, and all the brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and of such shall be my hire. 33: So shall my righteousness answer for me in time to come, when it shall come for my hire before thy face: every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and brown among the sheep, that shall be counted stolen with me. 34: And Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to thy word. 35: And he removed that day the he goats that were ringstraked and spotted, and all the she goats that were speckled and spotted, and every one that had some white in it, and all the brown among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons. 36: And he set three days' journey betwixt himself and Jacob: and Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks. 37: And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chestnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods. 38: And he set the rods which he had pilled before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink. 39: And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted. 40: And Jacob did separate the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the ringstraked, and all the brown in the flock of Laban; and he put his own flocks by themselves, and put them not unto Laban's cattle. 41: And it came to pass, whensoever the stronger cattle did conceive, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the cattle in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods. 42: But when the cattle were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's. 43: And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.
In today’s Bible reading we read of the period of time that Jacob spent at Laban’s house. Laban lived in northern Iraq. When Jacob arrived he found three flocks of sheep all lying near to the well. The well was covered by a huge stone and it had to be rolled away to enable the shepherds to water the sheep. Jacob asked where are you from? And they replied we are from Haran. So Jacob asked if they knew Laban son of Nahor? They said yes we know him. Jacob asked if he was well. And they replied he is well. Just at that moment Rachel came with the sheep. Jacob when he saw Rachel went and rolled the stone away from the well. Then Jacob kissed Rachel and wept for joy. Jacob told her who he was she ran to tell her father. When Laban heard the news he ran to meet Jacob. He hugged him and kissed him and took him to his house. They saw a log time while Jacob told Laban everything. Jacob stayed in Laban’s house for a month. Jacob offered to serve Laban in exchange for his kindness and as a payment for the loss of Laban’s daughter. Laban had two daughters Leah and Rachel. Leah had weal eyes but Rachel was very beautiful and people thought a lot of her. Jacob loved Rachel and offered to serve Laban for seven years. The years of work were a light burden to Jacob because he loved her so much. At the end of seven years he said to Laban give me Rachel as a wife. However after a great wedding feast Laban brought Leah to Jacob and he was united to her. However in the morning Jacob found that he had married the wrong woman. Many a man wakes up to find that he has married the wrong woman. Laban tried to make excuses for this deception but Jacob willingly agreed to serve another seven years for Rachel. Jacob served another seven long years but they passed quickly because of his devotion to Rachel. Both of Laban’s daughters were given handmaids by Laban. When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved he enabled her to conceive and she became pregnant. But Rachel was barren. This is the third case of barrenness. Sarah was barren. Rebekah was barren and now Rachel is barren. The promises of God are not going to be fulfilled in the normal process of human life. This is going to be God at work. Often servants of the Lord are barren in their ministry until they learn that it is God that does the work. Leah thought that her husband would love her when she had her first child. It was not her fault but Jacob didn’t love her but he did care for her. She had a whole succession of children ten in all but it was the love of her husband that she wanted most of all. Rachel was getting frustrated and she spoke sharply to Jacob but he confessed that this was to be an act of God. Jacob tried to give her a child by her handmaid but this was not going to be the same thing for Rachel. Leah also gave her handmaid to Jacob and she bore a child. There was increasing tension in the home and everything blew up over some meal. Both women had frustrations in different ways. In the end God heard the prayer of Rachel and gave her a son – Joseph. All of this took place in Laban’s house. After a long time Jacob asked Laban to send him away to his own family. Laban realised that everything had gone well since Jacob had come so he sought to delay him. Laban said what can l give you for all the work you have done but Jacob said l don’t want anything except perhaps the speckled and spotted cattle and the brown sheep and the speckled goats. Then Jacob separated all the spotted and speckled cattle, sheep and goats and removed them a three days journey possibly 30 miles. Then Jacob put strips of timber in front of the sheep of Laban and when they bare young they were spotted and speckled. All the speckled sheep he put with his own. In this way he increased his herds immensely. Jacob took advantage of his skills and management of the herds for his own benefit.