Isaac summoned Jacob, blessed him, and commanded him: "Don't take a wife from the Canaanite women.
Go at once to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel, your mother's father. Marry one of the daughters of Laban, your mother's brother.
May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you so that you become an assembly of peoples.
May God give you and your offspring the blessing of Abraham so that you may possess the land where you live as an alien, the land God gave to Abraham."
So Isaac sent Jacob to Paddan-aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau.
Esau noticed that Isaac blessed Jacob and sent him to Paddan-aram to get a wife there. When he blessed him, Isaac commanded Jacob not to marry a Canaanite woman.
And Jacob listened to his father and mother and went to Paddan-aram.
Esau realized that his father Isaac disapproved of the Canaanite women,
so Esau went to Ishmael and married, in addition to his other wives, Mahalath daughter of Ishmael, Abraham's son. She was the sister of Nebaioth.
Jacob left Beer-sheba and went toward Haran.
He reached a certain place and spent the night there because the sun had set. He took one of the stones from the place, put it there at his head, and lay down in that place.
And he dreamed: A stairway was set on the ground with its top reaching heaven, and God's angels were going up and down on it.
The LORD was standing there beside him, saying, "I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your offspring the land that you are now sleeping on.
Your offspring will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out toward the west, the east, the north, and the south. All the peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.
Look, I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go. I will bring you back to this land, for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you."
When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he said, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it."
He was afraid and said, "What an awesome place this is! This is none other than the house of God. This is the gate of heaven."
Early in the morning Jacob took the stone that was near his head and set it up as a marker. He poured oil on top of it
and named the place Bethel, though previously the city was named Luz.
Then Jacob made a vow: "If God will be with me and watch over me on this journey, if He provides me with food to eat and clothing to wear,
and if I return safely to my father's house, then the LORD will be my God.
This stone that I have set up as a marker will be God's house, and I will give to You a tenth of all that You give me."
Jacob resumed his journey and went to the eastern country.
He looked and saw a well in a field. Three flocks of sheep were lying there beside it because the sheep were watered from this well. A large stone covered the opening of the well.
When all the flocks were gathered there, the [shepherds] would roll the stone from the opening of the well and water the sheep. The stone was then placed back on the well's opening.
Jacob asked the men at the well, "My brothers! Where are you from?" "We're from Haran," they answered.
"Do you know Laban son of Nahor?" Jacob asked them. They answered, "We know [him]."
"Is he well?" Jacob asked. "Yes," they said, "and here is his daughter Rachel, coming with his sheep."
Then Jacob said, "Look, it is still broad daylight. It's not time for the animals to be gathered. Water the flock, then go out and let them graze."
But they replied, "We can't, until all the flocks have been gathered and the stone is rolled from the well's opening. Then we will water the sheep."
While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep, for she was a shepherdess.
As soon as Jacob saw his uncle Laban's daughter Rachel with his sheep, he went up and rolled the stone from the opening and watered his uncle Laban's sheep.
Then Jacob kissed Rachel and wept loudly.
He told Rachel that he was her father's relative, Rebekah's son. She ran and told her father.
When Laban heard the news about his sister's son Jacob, he ran to meet him, hugged him, and kissed him. Then he took him to his house, and Jacob told him all that had happened.
Laban said to him, "Yes, you are my own flesh and blood." After Jacob had stayed with him a month,
Laban said to him, "Just because you're my relative, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me what your wages should be."
Now Laban had two daughters: the older was named Leah, and the younger was named Rachel.
Leah had delicate eyes, but Rachel was shapely and beautiful.
Jacob loved Rachel, so he answered Laban, "I'll work for you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel."
Laban replied, "Better that I give her to you than to some other man. Stay with me."
So Jacob worked seven years for Rachel, and they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.
Then Jacob said to Laban, "Give me my wife, for my time is completed. I want to sleep with her."
So Laban invited all the men of the place to a feast.
That evening, Laban took his daughter Leah and gave her to Jacob, and he slept with her.
And Laban gave his slave Zilpah to his daughter Leah as her slave.
When morning came, there was Leah! So he said to Laban, "What is this you have done to me? Wasn't it for Rachel that I worked for you? Why have you deceived me?"
Laban answered, "It is not the custom in this place to give the younger [daughter in marriage] before the firstborn.
Complete this week [of wedding celebration], and we will also give you this [younger] one in return for working yet another seven years for me."
And Jacob did just that. He finished the week [of celebration], and Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife.
And Laban gave his slave Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her slave.
Jacob slept with Rachel also, and indeed, he loved Rachel more than Leah. And he worked for Laban another seven years.
When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren.
Leah conceived, gave birth to a son, and named him Reuben, for she said, "The LORD has seen my affliction; surely my husband will love me now."
She conceived again, gave birth to a son, and said, "The LORD heard that I am unloved and has given me this [son] also." So she named him Simeon.
She conceived again, gave birth to a son, and said, "At last, my husband will become attached to me because I have borne him three sons." Therefore he was named Levi.
And she conceived again, gave birth to a son, and said, "This time I will praise the LORD." Therefore she named him Judah. Then Leah stopped having children.
When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob [any children], she envied her sister. "Give me sons, or I will die!" she said to Jacob.
Jacob became angry with Rachel and said, "Am I in God's place, who has withheld children from you?"
Then she said, "Here is my slave Bilhah. Go sleep with her, and she'll bear [children] for me so that through her I too can build [a family]."
So Rachel gave her slave Bilhah to Jacob as a wife, and he slept with her.
Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son.
Rachel said, "God has vindicated me; yes, He has heard me and given me a son," and she named him Dan.
Rachel's slave Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son.
Rachel said, "In [my] wrestlings with God, I have wrestled with my sister and won," and she named him Naphtali.
When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she took her slave Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife.
Leah's slave Zilpah bore Jacob a son.
Then Leah said, "What good fortune!" and she named him Gad.
When Leah's slave Zilpah bore Jacob a second son,
Leah said, "I am happy that the women call me happy," so she named him Asher.
Reuben went out during the wheat harvest and found some mandrakes in the field. When he brought them to his mother Leah, Rachel asked, "Please give me some of your son's mandrakes."
But Leah replied to her, "Isn't it enough that you have taken my husband? Now you also want to take my son's mandrakes?" "Well," Rachel said, "you can sleep with him tonight in exchange for your son's mandrakes."
When Jacob came in from the field that evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, "You must come with me, for I have hired you with my son's mandrakes." So Jacob slept with her that night.
God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son.
Leah said, "God has rewarded me for giving my slave to my husband," and she named him Issachar.
Then Leah conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son.
"God has given me a good gift," Leah said. "This time my husband will honor me because I have borne him six sons," and she named him Zebulun.
Later, Leah bore a daughter and named her Dinah.
Then God remembered Rachel. He listened to her and opened her womb.
She conceived and bore a son, and said, "God has taken away my shame."
She named him Joseph: "May the LORD add another son to me."
After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, "Send me on my way so that I can return to my homeland.
Give me my wives and my children that I have worked for, and let me go. You know how hard I have worked for you."
But Laban said to him, "If I have found favor in your sight, [stay.] I have learned by divination that the LORD has blessed me because of you."
Then Laban said, "Name your wages, and I will pay them."
So Jacob said to him, "You know what I have done for you and your herds.
For you had very little before I came, but now your wealth has increased. The LORD has blessed you because of me. And now, when will I also do something for my own family?"
Laban asked, "What should I give you?" And Jacob said, "You don't need to give me anything. If you do this one thing for me, I will continue to shepherd and keep your flock.
Let me go through all your sheep today and remove every sheep that is speckled or spotted, every dark-colored sheep among the lambs, and the spotted and speckled among the female goats. [Such] will be my wages.
In the future when you come to check on my wages, my honesty will testify for me. [If I have] any female goats that are not speckled or spotted, or any lambs that are not black, they will be considered stolen."
"Good," said Laban. "Let it be as you have said."
That day Laban removed the streaked and spotted male goats and all the speckled and spotted female goats-- every one that had any white on it-- and every dark-colored sheep among the lambs, and he placed his sons in charge of them.
He put a three-day journey between himself and Jacob. Jacob, meanwhile, was shepherding the rest of Laban's flock.
Jacob then took branches of fresh poplar, almond, and plane wood, and peeled [the bark], exposing white stripes on the branches.
He set the peeled branches in the troughs in front of the sheep-- in the water channels where the sheep came to drink. And the sheep bred when they came to drink.
The flocks bred in front of the branches and bore streaked, speckled, and spotted young.
Jacob separated the lambs and made the flocks face the streaked and the completely dark sheep in Laban's flocks. Then he set his own stock apart and didn't put them with Laban's sheep.
Whenever the stronger of the flock were breeding, Jacob placed the branches in the troughs, in full view of the flocks, and they would breed in front of the branches.
As for the weaklings of the flocks, he did not put out the branches. So it turned out that the weak sheep belonged to Laban and the stronger ones to Jacob.
And the man became very rich. He had many flocks, male and female slaves, and camels and donkeys.