Through the Bible – Day 11

Bible text(s)

Jacob arrives at Laban's home

1As Jacob continued on his way to the east, 2he looked out in a field and saw a well where shepherds took their sheep for water. Three flocks of sheep were lying around the well, which was covered with a large rock. 3Shepherds would roll the rock away when all their sheep had gathered there. Then after the sheep had been watered, the shepherds would roll the rock back over the mouth of the well.

4Jacob asked the shepherds, “Where are you from?”

“We're from Haran,” they answered.

5Then he asked, “Do you know Nahor's grandson Laban?”

“Yes we do,” they replied.

6“How is he?” Jacob asked.

“He's fine,” they answered. “And here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep.”

7Jacob told them, “Look, the sun is still high up in the sky, and it's too early to bring in the rest of the flocks. Water your sheep and take them back to the pasture.”

8But they replied, “We can't do that until they all get here, and the rock has been rolled away from the well.”

9While Jacob was still talking with the men, his cousin Rachel came up with her father's sheep. 10When Jacob saw her and his uncle's sheep, he rolled the rock away and watered the sheep. 11He then kissed Rachel and started crying because he was so happy. 12He told her that he was the son of her aunt Rebekah, and she ran and told her father about him.

13As soon as Laban heard the news, he ran out to meet Jacob. He hugged and kissed him and brought him to his home, where Jacob told him everything that had happened. 14Laban said, “You are my nephew, and you are like one of my own family.”

Jacob marries Leah and Rachel

After Jacob had been there for a month, 15Laban said to him, “You shouldn't have to work without pay, just because you are a relative of mine. What do you want me to give you?”

16-17Laban had two daughters. Leah was older than Rachel, but her eyes didn't sparkle, while Rachel was beautiful and had a good figure. 18Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he answered, “If you will let me marry Rachel, I'll work seven years for you.”

19Laban replied, “It's better for me to let you marry Rachel than for someone else to have her. So stay and work for me.” 20Jacob worked seven years for Laban, but the time seemed like only a few days, because he loved Rachel so much.

21Jacob said to Laban, “The time is up, and I want to marry Rachel now!” 22So Laban gave a big feast and invited all their neighbours. 23But that evening he brought Leah to Jacob, who married her and spent the night with her. 24Laban also gave Zilpah to Leah as her servant woman.

25The next morning Jacob found out that he had married Leah, and he asked Laban, “Why did you do this to me? Didn't I work to get Rachel? Why did you trick me?”

26Laban replied, “In our country the elder daughter must get married first. 27After you spend this week with Leah, you may also marry Rachel. But you will have to work for me another seven years.”

28-30At the end of the week of celebration, Laban let Jacob marry Rachel, and he gave her his servant woman Bilhah. Jacob loved Rachel more than he did Leah, but he had to work another seven years for Laban.

31The LORD knew that Jacob loved Rachel more than he did Leah, and so he gave children to Leah, but not to Rachel. 32Leah gave birth to a son and named him Reuben, because she said, “The LORD has taken away my sorrow. Now my husband will love me more than he does Rachel.” 33She had a second son and named him Simeon, because she said, “The LORD has heard that my husband doesn't love me.” 34When Leah's third son was born, she said, “Now my husband will hold me close.” So this son was named Levi. 35She had one more son and named him Judah, because she said, “I'll praise the LORD!”

Problems between Rachel and Leah

1Rachel was very jealous of Leah for having children, and she said to Jacob, “I'll die if you don't give me some children!”

2But Jacob became upset with Rachel and answered, “Don't blame me! I'm not God.”

3“Here, take my servant Bilhah,” Rachel told him. “Have children by her, and I'll let them be born on my knees to show that they are mine.”

4Then Rachel let Jacob marry Bilhah, 5and they had a son. 6Rachel named him Dan, because she said, “God has answered my prayers. He has judged me and given me a son.” 7When Bilhah and Jacob had a second son, 8Rachel said, “I've struggled hard with my sister, and I've won!” So she named the boy Naphtali.

9When Leah realized she could not have any more children, she let Jacob marry her servant Zilpah, 10and they had a son. 11“I'm really lucky,” Leah said, and she named the boy Gad. 12When they had another son, 13Leah exclaimed, “I'm happy now, and all the women will say how happy I am.” So she named him Asher.

Love flowers

14During the time of the wheat harvest, Reuben found some love flowers and took them to his mother Leah. Rachel asked Leah for some of them, 15but Leah said, “It's bad enough that you stole my husband! Now you want my son's love flowers too.”

“All right,” Rachel answered. “Let me have the flowers, and you can sleep with Jacob tonight.”

16That evening when Jacob came in from the fields, Leah told him, “You're sleeping with me tonight. I hired you with my son's love flowers.”

They slept together that night, 17and God answered Leah's prayers by giving her a fifth son. 18Leah shouted, “God has rewarded me for letting Jacob marry my servant,” and she named the boy Issachar.

19When Leah had another son, 20she exclaimed, “God has given me a wonderful gift, and my husband will praise me for giving him six sons.” So she named the boy Zebulun. 21Later, Leah had a daughter and named her Dinah.

22-23Finally, God remembered Rachel—he answered her prayer by giving her a son. “God has taken away my disgrace,” she said. 24“I'll name the boy Joseph, and I'll pray that the LORD will give me another son.”

Jacob and Laban

25After Joseph was born, Jacob said to Laban, “Release me from our agreement and let me return to my own country. 26You know how hard I've worked for you, so let me take my wives and children and leave.”

27-28But Laban told him, “If you really are my friend, stay on, and I'll pay whatever you ask. I'm sure the LORD has blessed me because of you.”

29Jacob answered:

You've seen how hard I've worked for you, and you know how your flocks and herds have grown under my care. 30You didn't have much before I came, but the LORD has blessed everything I have ever done for you. Now it's time for me to start looking after my own family.

31“How much do you want me to pay you?” Laban asked.

Then Jacob told him:

I don't want you to pay me anything. Just do one thing, and I'll take care of your sheep and goats. 32Let me go through your flocks and herds and take the sheep and goats that are either spotted or speckled and the black lambs. That's all you need to give me. 33In the future you can easily find out if I've been honest. Just look and see if my animals are either spotted or speckled, or if the lambs are black. If they aren't, they've been stolen from you.

34“I agree to that,” was Laban's response. 35Before the end of the day, Laban had separated his spotted and speckled animals and the black lambs from the others and had put his sons in charge of them. 36Then Laban made Jacob keep the rest of the sheep and goats at a distance of three days' journey.

37Jacob cut branches from some poplar trees and from some almond and evergreen trees. He peeled off part of the bark and made the branches look spotted and speckled. 38Then he put the branches where the sheep and goats would see them while they were drinking from the water trough. The goats mated there 39in front of the branches, and their young were spotted and speckled.

40Some of the sheep that Jacob was keeping for Laban were already spotted. And when the others were ready to mate, he made sure that they faced in the direction of the spotted and black ones. In this way, Jacob built up a flock of sheep for himself and did not put them with the other sheep.

41When the stronger sheep were mating near the drinking place, Jacob made sure that the spotted branches were there. 42But he would not put out the branches when the weaker animals were mating. So Jacob got all the healthy animals, and Laban got what was left. 43Jacob soon became rich and successful. He owned many sheep, goats, camels, and donkeys, as well as a lot of slaves.

Genesis 29:1-30:43CEVOpen in Bible reader

Some who wanted to go with Jesus

18When Jesus saw the crowd, he went across Lake Galilee. 19A teacher of the Law of Moses came up to him and said, “Teacher, I'll go anywhere with you!”

20Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens, and birds have nests. But the Son of Man doesn't have a place to call his own.”

21Another disciple said to Jesus, “Lord, let me wait till I bury my father.”

22Jesus answered, “Come with me, and let the dead bury their dead.”

A storm

23After Jesus left in a boat with his disciples, 24a terrible storm suddenly struck the lake, and waves started splashing into their boat.

Jesus was sound asleep, 25so the disciples went over to him and woke him up. They said, “Lord, save us! We're going to drown!”

26But Jesus replied, “Why are you so afraid? You don't have much faith.” Then he got up and ordered the wind and the waves to calm down. And everything was calm.

27The men in the boat were amazed and said, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him.”

Two men with demons in them

28After Jesus had crossed the lake, he came to shore near the town of Gadara and started down the road. Two men with demons in them came to him from the tombs. They were so fierce that no one could travel that way. 29Suddenly they shouted, “Jesus, Son of God, what do you want with us? Have you come to punish us before our time?”

30Not far from there a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31So the demons begged Jesus, “If you force us out, please send us into those pigs!” 32Jesus told them to go, and they went out of the men and into the pigs. All at once the pigs rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned.

33The people taking care of the pigs ran to the town and told everything, especially what had happened to the two men. 34Everyone in town came out to meet Jesus. When they saw him, they begged him to leave their part of the country.

Matthew 8:18-34CEVOpen in Bible reader
Canadian Bible Societyv.4.21.9
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