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Jacob Serves for Rachel

Hardly had Jacob left the old Isaac when Esau returned from his hunting, and hastened to make the savory meat his father had asked for. Soon it was ready and he brought it to the tent where Isaac was lying, and said to his father: "Let my father arise and eat of my venison, that his soul may bless me."

Isaac rose and said to Esau: "Who are you?" And Esau replied: "I am your son, Esau, your first born, whom you will bless before you die according as you have said." And Isaac knew that this was Esau, and he trembled for he was very angry at the deception which had been practiced upon him by Jacob.

He then told Esau that his brother had been there and had brought the meat and the bread, and that he had eaten of it, and had already given away his blessing. Then Esau cried out with a bitter cry, and said to Isaac: "Bless me, even me also, O my father." And Esau fell down before his father and wept.

Isaac rose and told Esau that he should live by the sword, and that he should have the fatness of the earth, but that he should serve his brother, until the time should come when he would lift the yoke of that service from his neck. Esau hated Jacob for stealing the blessing from him, and declared that when Isaac was dead and the days of mourning were over he would slay his brother Jacob.

Rebekah heard the vow that Esau had 'made and hastened to tell Jacob: "Your brother Esau proposes to kill you, when your father Isaac is no more. You must arise and flee to my brother Laban who will take care of you until the fury of Esau is turned away." And Jacob rose and fled from his father's tents toward the land where his Uncle Laban lived.

At last he came to a certain place and because the sun was set and he was weary with his long journey, he gathered some stones and made a pillow for his head to rest upon. Then he lay down to sleep and soon there came to him a wondrous dream. There appeared a ladder set upon the earth and the top reached to heaven, and the angels descended and ascended the ladder.

The Lord spoke to Jacob out of the heavens and told him that he would give him the land where he lay, and to his children after him, and that he should found a great nation that should spread abroad to the north and the east and the west and the south. Jacob waked out of his sleep and behold the ladder and the angel were gone. But Jacob said: "Surely the Lord is in this place and I knew it not." Then he took the stones that he had used to rest his head upon and built them into a pillar and poured oil upon them and called the place Bethel, which means House of God.

Jacob went on his journey and came into the land of the people of the east. He saw a well in a field and three flocks of sheep lying near it, and there was a great stone upon the mouth of the well. When all the flocks were gathered the men would roll the stone away, and water the sheep and then close again the mouth of the well.

Jacob said to the men who were with the sheep: "Do you know Laban the son of Bethuel and grandson of Nahor?" The men said to Jacob: "We know him well, and his daughter Rachel will soon come with the sheep." And while Jacob waited Rachel came with her father's sheep for she kept them.

When Jacob saw Rachel and her sheep, he knew she was tired and the sheep were thirsty. Therefore, he went near the well and rolled the stone away from the mouth and watered all the sheep that Rachel had brought. Then Jacob knew that Rachel was his cousin, and kissed her, and because he loved her at once he shed tears of happiness.

Rachel ran to her home and told her father she had met Jacob by the well. Laban came out and embraced Jacob and took him to his home and kept him there for a month, because he was Rebekah's son. At the end of the month Laban said to Jacob: "You should not serve me for nothing; tell me what shall your wages be?"

Now Laban had two daughters, the older one was Leah, and the younger one was Rachel, and Jacob loved Rachel. Leah had some trouble with her eyes, but Rachel was beautiful and well favored. When Laban asked Jacob about the wages he should pay, Jacob thought only of his love for Rachel, and answered: "I will serve you seven years for Rachel, your younger daughter."

"It is better that I should give her to you than to give her to another man; abide here with me," Laban answered.

Then Jacob began to work for Laban, and he worked seven years, but they seemed only a few days for the love he bore Rachel. At the end of seven years Jacob demanded that Rachel should be his wife, but instead of giving her to Jacob, Laban gathered all men of the place and made a great feast. He then told Jacob that it was not the custom of his country for the younger to marry before the first-born, and that Jacob must marry Leah.

This angered Jacob greatly, but he complied with the demand of Laban and married Leah. Then he set about serving another seven years for Rachel, and those seven years again seemed but as a few days for the love he bore her. And at the end of the time he married Rachel also, according to the custom of the country.