Jacob awoke from
his sleep. He was frightened. "How awe-inspiring this
place is!" he exclaimed "it must be HaShem's
Temple. It is the gate to heaven."
Jacob got up
early the next morning and took the stone that he used as a pillow and
stood it on end like a pillar and poured oil on it. He named the place
HaShem's Temple (Beth El). The town's original name had
Jacob made a vow.
"If HaShem will be with me," he said "if HaShem
will protect me on the journey I am taking, if HaShem gives me bread
to eat and clothing to wear, and if I return in peace to my father's
house, then I shall dedicate myself totally to HaShem. Let this stone
that I have setup become a temple to HaShem. All of that you give me I
will set aside a tenth for you."
Jacob set off and
headed toward the land of the people of the East. He came to a place
where he saw a well in a field. Three flocks of sheep were lying there
beside it as it was this well that they drank from. The well was
covered by a large stone. When all of the flocks came together the
shepherds would roll the stone away and water the sheep. When they
were done they would roll the stone back over it.
Some of the
shepherds were there.
"Where do you
come from, brothers?" asked Jacob.
"Do you know
Nachor's grandson, Labon?"
"Is he doing
Here is his daughter Rachel, coming with the sheep."
"But it is
the middle of the day. It is not time to bring the livestock together.
Why not water the sheep and go on grazing?"
until all the flocks have come together. All of us then roll the stone
from the top of the well. Only then can we water the sheep."
While he was still
talking with them, Rachel appeared with her father's sheep. Jacob
looked at his cousin Rachel who was with Laban's sheep. He stepped
forward and rolled the stone from on top of the well so the sheep
could be watered.
Rachel and wept aloud. He told her that he was Rebecca's son, and thus
related to her father. She ran to tell her father.
When Laban heard
the news that Jacob had arrived, he ran to greet him. He embraced and
kissed him, and then brought him home. Jacob told Laban all that had
happened. "Yes, you are indeed my own flesh and
blood." Laban said.
with him for a month. Laban then said to Jacob, "Just
because you are a close relative of mine, doesn't mean you have to
work for free, name your price."
Laban had two
daughters. The older one was Leah, and the younger was Rachel. Leah
had lovely eyes, while Rachel was shapely and beautiful.
Jacob had fallen
in love with Rachel. "I will work for you for seven years
for Rachel your daughter."
should give her to you than any other man." Laban replied.
"You can stay with me."
Jacob worked seven
years for Rachel. But he loved her so much it seemed no more than a
few days. Finally Jacob said to Laban, "Time is up. Give
me my bride and let me marry her."
the local people and made the wedding a feast. In the evening he took
his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob.
In the morning
Jacob discovered that it was Leah. He said to Laban, "How
could you do this to me? Didn't I work for you for Rachel? Why did you
country it is something that is not done!" Laban replied. "We
always marry the oldest first. Wait a week for the celebration to end
and I will give you Rachel - in return you will work for me seven
A week later he
married Rachel. HaShem saw that Leah was unloved and Rachel was, so
HaShem gave Leah children and Rachel none.
pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben. "HaShem
has seen my troubles," She said "Now my husband will love
pregnant again and had a son. "HaShem has heard that I was
unloved," she said "and HaShem also gave me this son."
She named him Simeon (Shim'on).
She became pregnant
again and had a son. "Now my husband will become attached to
me," she said "because I have given him three sons."
Jacob named him Levi.
Rachel was sad
that she had no children and jealous of her sister and said to Jacob,
"Give me children! If not, let me die!"
Jacob became angry
at her, "Shall I take HaShem's place?" he said,
HaShem's will that you have no children."
Rachel said "Take
my handmaid Bilhah and let her have a child for me. That way I can
have a son."
pregnant and had a son. Rachel said "HaShem has judged (Dan) me
and has heard my prayer. HaShem has given me a son!" She named
the child Dan.
had a second son. Rachel said "I have been twisted around
with my sister through all of HaShem's ways (Naphtuley), but I have
finally won!" She named the child Naphtali.
Leah realized that
she was no longer having children and gave her handmaid Zilpah so that
she could have more children. Leah's handmaid bore Jacob a son.
"Good fortune (gad) has come" She named the
had a second son. "It is my happiness (asher),"
said Leah. "Young girls will consider me happy."
She named the child Asher.
Reuben took a walk
during the wheat harvest and he found mandrakes in the field. He
brought them to his mother Leah.
Rachel said to
Leah, "Please give me some of your son's mandrakes."
enough that you took away my husband?" retorted Leah. "Now
you even want to take away my son's mandrakes?"
When Jacob came
home from the field that evening, Leah went out to meet him. "You
will come with me tonight. I have paid for you with my son's
mandrakes." He slept with her that night.
Leah's prayer, and she gave birth to Jacob's fifth son. Leah said, "HaShem
has given me my reward (sakhar) because I have given my handmaid to my
husband." She named the child Issachar.
Leah had his sixth
son. "HaShem has given me a wonderful gift (zeved)."
said Leah. "Now let my husband make his permanent home (zevul)
with me." She named the child Zebulun (Zevulun). She then
had a daughter and named her Dinah.
special consideration to Rachel and heard her prayer. She bore a son. "HaShem
has gathered away (asaph) my humiliation." She named
him Joseph (Yoseph) saying, " May HaShem grant me another
(yoseph) son to me."
After Rachel had
given birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban. "Let me leave.
I would like to go home to my own land. Let me have my wives and
children, since I earned them working for you, and I will go. You are
aware of the service that I have given you."
earned your friendship?" replied Laban. "I
made use of divination and have learned that it is because of you the
HaShem has blessed me. Just name your price and I will give it to
full well how I worked for you," replied Jacob., "and
how your livestock fared with me. You had very little before I came,
but since it has increased and become very substantial. HaShem blessed
you with my coming. But when will I do something to build my own
"What shall I
"Do not give
me anything. Just do one thing for me. I will come back and tend your
sheep, giving them the best care. I will go through all of your flocks
with you today. Remove every land that is spotted or streaked, every
sheep that has dark markings. Also remove every goat that is marked
like that. That is the way you will pay me. In the future, this will
be a sign of my honesty. I will let you inspect all that I have taken
as my pay. Any goat that is not spotted or streaked, or any sheep
without dark markings, that is in my possession can be considered
said Laban. "May your words only come true!"
day he and Laban separated the flocks.
Jacob took fresh
wands of storax, almond and plate. He peeled white stripes in them by
uncovering the white layer under the wands' bark.
He set up the
wands near the watering troughs where the animals came to drink. It
was when they drank that they usually mated. The animals that mated in
the presence of the wands bore young that were ringed, spotted and
the young animals. He bread his own flocks separately.
stronger animals mated, Jacob placed the wands before them, but when
the sheep were feeble he did not. The feeble ones thus went to Laban,
while Jacob got the strong ones.
In this way he
became wealthy. He had many sheep and goats, as well as slaves, camels
Jacob began to
hear Laban's sons saying "Jacob has taken everything
belonging to our father. He has become rich by taking our father's
property." When Jacob saw Laban in person, Laban did not
act as he had before.
HaShem said to
Jacob, "Go back to your birthplace in the land of your
fathers. I will be with you."
Jacob sent word
and summoned Rachel and Leah to the field where his flock was. "I
saw your father's face," he said, "He is not
acting the same with me as he used to. But HaShem is with me.
You know full well
that I have served your father with all of my strength. Your father
swindled me and changed his mind about my pay at least ten times, but
HaShem would not let him harm me. If he said ' Your pay will be the
spotted ones', then all the animals gave birth to spotted young. If he
said 'Ringed ones will be your wage' then all animals dropped would be
ringed ones. HaShem eroded your father's livestock and gave it to me
breeding season, I suddenly had a vision. I saw the bucks mating with
the sheep were ringed, spotted and flecked ones.
An angel called to
me in HaShem's name, "Jacob!' - and I replied 'Yes". He
said, 'raise your eyes, and your will see the bucks mating are
spotted, ringed and flecked. Let this be a sign that I have seen all
that Laban is doing to you. I am HaShem, Lord of Beth El, where you
anointed a pillar and made an oath to me. Now set out and leave this
land. Return to the land were you were born."
Rachel and Leah
both spoke up. "Do we still have a portion and an
inheritance in our father's estate? He treats us like strangers. He
sold us and spent the money. All the wealth HaShem has taken from our
father actually belongs to our children. Now whatever HaShem has said
to you you must do it."
Jacob began the
journey, placing his children and wives on the camels. He lead the way
with his livestock, he took all of his possessions including
everything he had brought from Padan Aram. He was heading to see his
father in the land of Canaan.
was away, shearing his sheep. Rachel stole her fathers' idols.
Jacob decided to
go behind the back of Laban, and did not tell him he was
On the third day,
Laban was told that Jacob had left. He took his kinsman and followed
his trail for seven days, catching up to him in the Gilead mountains.
HaShem appeared to
Laban in a dream and said, "Be very careful not to say
anything good or bad to Jacob."
Laban said to
Jacob, "How could you do this? You went behind my back and
lead my daughters away like prisoners of war! Why did you have to
leave so secretly? You went behind my back and told me nothing. Why I
would have sent you off with a celebration and song with drum and
lyre. You didn't even let me kiss my grandsons and daughters goodbye.
What you did was foolish. I have it in my power to do you great harm.
But HaShem spoke to me last night and said, 'Be careful not to say
anything to good or bad to Jacob.' I realize you left because you
missed your parents' home. But why did you have to steal my
Jacob said, "I
left this way because I was afraid. I thought you might take your
daughters away from me by force. If you find your idols here with
anyone, let them not live! let all of our close relatives here be
witness. See if anything here belongs to you and take it back."
Jacob did not realize that Rachel had taken the idols.
Leban went through
the tents and found nothing.
Jacob was angry
with Laban. "What is my crime?" he asked, "What
terrible thing did I do that you chase me like this? You inspected all
of my things -- what did you find that belonged to you? Place it right
here in front of all our relatives and let them determine what is
Twenty years I
worked for you! All that time, your sheep and goats never lost their
young. Not once did I ever take a ram from your flocks as food.
I never brought you an animal that had been attacked -- I took the
blame myself. You made me make it good whether it was carried off by
day or night.
By day I was
consumed by the scorching heat, by night by the frost when sleep was
snatched from my eyes. Twenty years now I have worked in your estate
-- fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for some of
your flocks. You changed my wages ten times!
If HaShem had not
been with me, you would have sent me away empty-handed. But HaShem saw
my plight and the work of my hands. Last night he rendered his judgment."
Jacob. "The daughters are my daughters. The sons are my
sons. The flocks are my flocks. All that you see is mine. But my
daughters ... what can I do to them today? Or to the children that
they have? Let's make a treaty - you and I. Let there be tangible
evidence of it between you and I."
Jacob took a
bolder and raised it as a pillar. "Gather stones"
he said to his relatives and they took stones and made a large mound.
They ate on top of the mound.
Laban called it
Witness Mound (Yegar Sahdutha), but Jacob called it Gal'ed.
shall be a witness between you and I today." said Laban. "That
is why it is named Gal'ed. Let the pillar be called Watchpost (Mitzpah).
Let it be said that HaShem will keep watch between you and I when we
are away from each other's sight. If you degrade my daughters,
or marry other women in addition to them, there may be no one with us,
but you must realize that HaShem is the witness between us.
Here is the mound
and here is the pillar that I have set up between us. The mound and
the pillar will be witnesses. I am not to go beyond the mound with bad
intentions and your are not to go beyond the mound and pillar. May HaShem
be our judge on this."
Jacob swore by the
dread of his father Isaac. He then butchered an animal on the hill and
invited all his relatives to break bread. They had a meal and spent
the night on the hill.
Laban got up early
the next morning and kissed his grandsons and daughters goodbye. He
then blessed them and returned home.
continued on his journey. He encountered angels of HaShem. When he saw
them he said, "This is HaShem's Camp." He
named the place Twin Camps (Machanaim).