Jacob Arrives at Paddan-Aram 1Then Jacob hurried on, finally arriving in the land of the east. 2He saw a well in the distance. Three flocks of sheep and goats lay in an open field beside it, waiting to be watered. But a heavy stone covered the mouth of the well. 3It was the custom there to wait for all the flocks to arrive before removing the stone and watering the animals. Afterward the stone would be placed back over the mouth of the well. 4Jacob went over to the shepherds and asked, “Where are you from, my friends?” “We are from Haran,” they answered. 5“Do you know a man there named Laban, the grandson of Nahor?” he asked. “Yes, we do,” they replied. 6“Is he doing well?” Jacob asked. “Yes, he’s well,” they answered. “Look, here comes his daughter Rachel with the flock now.” 7Jacob said, “Look, it’s still broad daylight—too early to round up the animals. Why don’t you water the sheep and goats so they can get back out to pasture?” 8“We can’t water the animals until all the flocks have arrived,” they replied. “Then the shepherds move the stone from the mouth of the well, and we water all the sheep and goats.” 9Jacob was still talking with them when Rachel arrived with her father’s flock, for she was a shepherd. 10And because Rachel was his cousin—the daughter of Laban, his mother’s brother—and because the sheep and goats belonged to his uncle Laban, Jacob went over to the well and moved the stone from its mouth and watered his uncle’s flock. 11Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and he wept aloud. 12He explained to Rachel that he was her cousin on her father’s side—the son of her aunt Rebekah. So Rachel quickly ran and told her father, Laban. 13As soon as Laban heard that his nephew Jacob had arrived, he ran out to meet him. He embraced and kissed him and brought him home. When Jacob had told him his story, 14Laban exclaimed, “You really are my own flesh and blood!” Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel After Jacob had stayed with Laban for about a month,15Laban said to him, “You shouldn’t work for me without pay just because we are relatives. Tell me how much your wages should be.” 16Now Laban had two daughters. The older daughter was named Leah, and the younger one was Rachel.17There was no sparkle in Leah’s eyes, but Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face. 18Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he told her father, “I’ll work for you for seven years if you’ll give me Rachel, your younger daughter, as my wife.” 19“Agreed!” Laban replied. “I’d rather give her to you than to anyone else. Stay and work with me.” 20So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days. 21Finally, the time came for him to marry her. “I have fulfilled my agreement,” Jacob said to Laban. “Now give me my wife so I can sleep with her.” 22So Laban invited everyone in the neighborhood and prepared a wedding feast. 23But that night, when it was dark, Laban took Leah to Jacob, and he slept with her.24(Laban had given Leah a servant, Zilpah, to be her maid.) 25But when Jacob woke up in the morning—it was Leah! “What have you done to me?” Jacob raged at Laban. “I worked seven years for Rachel! Why have you tricked me?” 26“It’s not our custom here to marry off a younger daughter ahead of the firstborn,” Laban replied. 27“But wait until the bridal week is over; then we’ll give you Rachel, too—provided you promise to work another seven years for me.” 28So Jacob agreed to work seven more years. A week after Jacob had married Leah, Laban gave him Rachel, too.29(Laban gave Rachel a servant, Bilhah, to be her maid.)30So Jacob slept with Rachel, too, and he loved her much more than Leah. He then stayed and worked for Laban the additional seven years. Jacob’s Many Children 31When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, he enabled her to have children, but Rachel could not conceive. 32So Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “The LORD has noticed my misery, and now my husband will love me.” 33She soon became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She named him Simeon, for she said, “TheLORD heard that I was unloved and has given me another son.” 34Then she became pregnant a third time and gave birth to another son. He was named Levi, for she said, “Surely this time my husband will feel affection for me, since I have given him three sons!” 35Once again Leah became pregnant and gave birth to another son. She named him Judah, for she said, “Now I will praise the LORD!” And then she stopped having children.
1When Rachel saw that she wasn’t having any children for Jacob, she became jealous of her sister. She pleaded with Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” 2Then Jacob became furious with Rachel. “Am I God?” he asked. “He’s the one who has kept you from having children!” 3Then Rachel told him, “Take my maid, Bilhah, and sleep with her. She will bear children for me, and through her I can have a family, too.” 4So Rachel gave her servant, Bilhah, to Jacob as a wife, and he slept with her. 5Bilhah became pregnant and presented him with a son. 6Rachel named him Dan, for she said, “God has vindicated me! He has heard my request and given me a son.” 7Then Bilhah became pregnant again and gave Jacob a second son.8Rachel named him Naphtali, for she said, “I have struggled hard with my sister, and I’m winning!” 9Meanwhile, Leah realized that she wasn’t getting pregnant anymore, so she took her servant, Zilpah, and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10Soon Zilpah presented him with a son. 11Leah named him Gad, for she said, “How fortunate I am!” 12Then Zilpah gave Jacob a second son.13And Leah named him Asher, for she said, “What joy is mine! Now the other women will celebrate with me.” 14One day during the wheat harvest, Reuben found some mandrakes growing in a field and brought them to his mother, Leah. Rachel begged Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” 15But Leah angrily replied, “Wasn’t it enough that you stole my husband? Now will you steal my son’s mandrakes, too?” Rachel answered, “I will let Jacob sleep with you tonight if you give me some of the mandrakes.” 16So that evening, as Jacob was coming home from the fields, Leah went out to meet him. “You must come and sleep with me tonight!” she said. “I have paid for you with some mandrakes that my son found.” So that night he slept with Leah. 17And God answered Leah’s prayers. She became pregnant again and gave birth to a fifth son for Jacob. 18She named him Issachar, for she said, “God has rewarded me for giving my servant to my husband as a wife.” 19Then Leah became pregnant again and gave birth to a sixth son for Jacob. 20She named him Zebulun, for she said, “God has given me a good reward. Now my husband will treat me with respect, for I have given him six sons.” 21Later she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah. 22Then God remembered Rachel’s plight and answered her prayers by enabling her to have children. 23She became pregnant and gave birth to a son. “God has removed my disgrace,” she said. 24And she named him Joseph, for she said, “May the LORD add yet another son to my family.” Jacob’s Wealth Increases 25Soon after Rachel had given birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Please release me so I can go home to my own country. 26Let me take my wives and children, for I have earned them by serving you, and let me be on my way. You certainly know how hard I have worked for you.” 27“Please listen to me,” Laban replied. “I have become wealthy, for the LORD has blessed me because of you.28Tell me how much I owe you. Whatever it is, I’ll pay it.” 29Jacob replied, “You know how hard I’ve worked for you, and how your flocks and herds have grown under my care. 30You had little indeed before I came, but your wealth has increased enormously. The LORD has blessed you through everything I’ve done. But now, what about me? When can I start providing for my own family?” 31“What wages do you want?” Laban asked again. Jacob replied, “Don’t give me anything. Just do this one thing, and I’ll continue to tend and watch over your flocks.32Let me inspect your flocks today and remove all the sheep and goats that are speckled or spotted, along with all the black sheep. Give these to me as my wages. 33In the future, when you check on the animals you have given me as my wages, you’ll see that I have been honest. If you find in my flock any goats without speckles or spots, or any sheep that are not black, you will know that I have stolen them from you.” 34“All right,” Laban replied. “It will be as you say.” 35But that very day Laban went out and removed the male goats that were streaked and spotted, all the female goats that were speckled and spotted or had white patches, and all the black sheep. He placed them in the care of his own sons, 36who took them a three-days’ journey from where Jacob was. Meanwhile, Jacob stayed and cared for the rest of Laban’s flock. 37Then Jacob took some fresh branches from poplar, almond, and plane trees and peeled off strips of bark, making white streaks on them. 38Then he placed these peeled branches in the watering troughs where the flocks came to drink, for that was where they mated. 39And when they mated in front of the white-streaked branches, they gave birth to young that were streaked, speckled, and spotted. 40Jacob separated those lambs from Laban’s flock. And at mating time he turned the flock to face Laban’s animals that were streaked or black. This is how he built his own flock instead of increasing Laban’s. 41Whenever the stronger females were ready to mate, Jacob would place the peeled branches in the watering troughs in front of them. Then they would mate in front of the branches. 42But he didn’t do this with the weaker ones, so the weaker lambs belonged to Laban, and the stronger ones were Jacob’s. 43As a result, Jacob became very wealthy, with large flocks of sheep and goats, female and male servants, and many camels and donkeys.
Jesus Anointed at Bethany 1Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. 2A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. 3Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance. 4But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, 5“That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.”6Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself. 7Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. 8You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” 9When all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead. 10Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too, 11for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus. Jesus’ Triumphant Entry 12The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors 13took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted, “Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of theLORD! Hail to the King of Israel!” 14Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said: 15“Don’t be afraid, people of Jerusalem. Look, your King is coming, riding on a donkey’s colt.” 16His disciples didn’t understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory, they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about him. 17Many in the crowd had seen Jesus call Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, and they were telling others about it. 18That was the reason so many went out to meet him—because they had heard about this miraculous sign. 19Then the Pharisees said to each other, “There’s nothing we can do. Look, everyone has gone after him!” Jesus Predicts His Death 20Some Greeks who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration 21paid a visit to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee. They said, “Sir, we want to meet Jesus.” 22Philip told Andrew about it, and they went together to ask Jesus. 23Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. 24I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. 25Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. 26Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me. 27“Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! 28Father, bring glory to your name.” Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.” 29When the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder, while others declared an angel had spoken to him. 30Then Jesus told them, “The voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out. 32And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” 33He said this to indicate how he was going to die. 34The crowd responded, “We understood from Scripturethat the Messiah would live forever. How can you say the Son of Man will die? Just who is this Son of Man, anyway?” 35Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. 36Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.” After saying these things, Jesus went away and was hidden from them. The Unbelief of the People 37But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him. 38This is exactly what Isaiah the prophet had predicted: “LORD, who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm?” 39But the people couldn’t believe, for as Isaiah also said, 40“The Lord has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts— so that their eyes cannot see, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and have me heal them.” 41Isaiah was referring to Jesus when he said this, because he saw the future and spoke of the Messiah’s glory. 42Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. 43For they loved human praise more than the praise of God. 44Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. 45For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. 46I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark.47I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. 48But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken. 49I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. 50And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.”