This article is part of a series of Bible passages, which together are mainly about how the Bible says the Jewish race developed and were given laws, how they settled in ancient Israel, and how it says God sometimes punished them for disobeying his commands, which led to them changing their ways.
This is Part 2 (of 3) in Section 1: "The Early Old Testament."
Some parts of the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation are very unpleasant. If you become offended by anything, please read An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.
Genesis chapter 25 (NLT)
19 This is the history of the family of Isaac, the son of Abraham.
20 When Isaac was forty years old, he married Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan-aram and the sister of Laban. 21 Isaac pleaded with the LORD to give Rebekah a child because she was childless. So the LORD answered Isaac's prayer, and his wife became pregnant with twins. 22 But the two children struggled with each other in her womb. So she went to ask the LORD about it. "Why is this happening to me?" she asked. 23 And the LORD told her, "The sons in your womb will become two rival nations. One nation will be stronger than the other; the descendants of your older son will serve the descendants of your younger son." 24 And when the time came, the twins were born. 25 The first was very red at birth. He was covered with so much hair that one would think he was wearing a piece of clothing. So they called him Esau. 26 Then the other twin was born with his hand grasping Esau's heel. So they called him Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when the twins were born.
27 As the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open fields, while Jacob was the kind of person who liked to stay at home. 28 Isaac loved Esau in particular because of the wild game he brought home, but Rebekah favored Jacob.
Genesis chapter 25 (GWT)
29 Once, Jacob was preparing a meal when Esau, exhausted, came in from outdoors. 30 So Esau said to Jacob, "Let me have the whole pot of red stuff to eat--that red stuff--I'm exhausted." This is why he was called Edom.
31 Jacob responded, "First, sell me your rights as firstborn."
32 "I'm about to die." Esau said. "What good is my inheritance to me?"
33 "First, swear an oath," Jacob said.
So Esau swore an oath to him and sold him his rights as firstborn. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau a meal of bread and lentils. He ate and drank, and then he got up and left. This is how Esau showed his contempt for his rights as firstborn.
Genesis Chapter 26 (NIV)
34 When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite. 35 They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.
Genesis chapter 27 (TEV)
1 Isaac was now old and had become blind. He sent for his older son Esau and said to him, "Son!"
"Yes," he answered.
2 Isaac said, "You see that I am old and may die soon. 3 Take your bow and arrows, go out into the country, and kill an animal for me. 4 Cook me some of that tasty food that I like, and bring it to me. After I have eaten it, I will give you my final blessing before I die."
5 While Isaac was talking to Esau, Rebecca was listening. So when Esau went out to hunt, 6 she said to Jacob, "I have just heard your father say to Esau, 7 "Bring me an animal and cook it for me. After I have eaten it, I will give you my blessing in the presence of the Lord before I die.' 8 Now, son," Rebecca continued, "listen to me and do what I say. 9 Go to the flock and pick out two fat young goats, so that I can cook them and make some of that food your father likes so much. 10 You can take it to him to eat, and he will give you his blessing before he dies."
11 But Jacob said to his mother, "You know that Esau is a hairy man, but I have smooth skin. 12 Perhaps my father will touch me and find out that I am deceiving him; in this way, I will bring a curse on myself instead of a blessing."
13 His mother answered, "Let any curse against you fall on me, my son; just do as I say, and go and get the goats for me."
14 So he went to get them and brought them to her, and she cooked the kind of food that his father liked. 15 Then she took Esau's best clothes, which she kept in the house, and put them on Jacob. 16 She put the skins of the goats on his arms and on the hairless part of his neck. 17 She handed him the tasty food, along with the bread she had baked. 18 Then Jacob went to his father and said, "Father!"
"Yes," he answered. "Which of my sons are you?"
19 Jacob answered, "I am your older son Esau; I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of the meat that I have brought you, so that you can give me your blessing."
20 Isaac said, "How did you find it so quickly, son?"
Jacob answered, "The Lord your God helped me find it."
21 Isaac said to Jacob, "Please come closer so that I can touch you. Are you really Esau?"
22 Jacob moved closer to his father, who felt him and said, "Your voice sounds like Jacob's voice, but your arms feel like Esau's arms." 23 He did not recognize Jacob, because his arms were hairy like Esau's. He was about to give him his blessing, 24 but asked again, "Are you really Esau?"
"I am," he answered.
25 Isaac said, "Bring me some of the meat. After I eat it, I will give you my blessing."
Jacob brought it to him, and he also brought him some wine to drink.
Genesis chapter 27 (NLT)
25 ... Then Isaac said, 26 "Come here and kiss me, my son." 27 So Jacob went over and kissed him. And when Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he was finally convinced, and he blessed his son. He said, "The smell of my son is the good smell of the open fields that the LORD has blessed.
28 May God always give you plenty of dew for healthy crops and good harvests of grain and wine.
29 May many nations become your servants.
May you be the master of your brothers. May all your mother's sons bow low before you.
All who curse you are cursed, and all who bless you are blessed."
30 As soon as Isaac had blessed Jacob, and almost before Jacob had left his father, Esau returned from his hunting trip. 31 Esau prepared his father's favorite meat dish and brought it to him. Then he said, "I'm back, Father, and I have the wild game. Sit up and eat it so you can give me your blessing." 32 But Isaac asked him, "Who are you?""Why, it's me, of course!" he replied. "It's Esau, your older son."
Genesis chapter 27 (NIV)
33 Isaac trembled violently and said, "Who was it, then, that hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it just before you came and I blessed him--and indeed he will be blessed!" 34 When Esau heard his father's words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, "Bless me--me too, my father!" 35 But he said, "Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing." 36 Esau said, "Isn't he rightly named Jacob? He has deceived me these two times: He took my birthright, and now he's taken my blessing!" Then he asked, "Haven't you reserved any blessing for me?"
Genesis chapter 27 (NLT)
37 Isaac said to Esau, "I have made Jacob your master and have declared that all his brothers will be his servants. I have guaranteed him an abundance of grain and wine - what is there left to give?" 38 Esau pleaded, "Not one blessing left for me? O my father, bless me, too!" Then Esau broke down and wept. 39 His father, Isaac, said to him,
"You will live off the land and what it yields, 40 and you will live by your sword.
You will serve your brother for a time, but then you will shake loose from him and be free."
41 Esau hated Jacob because he had stolen his blessing, and he said to himself, "My father will soon be dead and gone. Then I will kill Jacob." 42 But someone got wind of what Esau was planning and reported it to Rebekah. She sent for Jacob and told him, "Esau is threatening to kill you. 43 This is what you should do. Flee to your uncle Laban in Haran. 44 Stay there with him until your brother's fury is spent. 45 When he forgets what you have done, I will send for you. Why should I lose both of you in one day?"
46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, "I'm sick and tired of these local Hittite women. I'd rather die than see Jacob marry one of them."
Genesis chapter 28 (GWT)
1 Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him. Then he commanded him, "You are not to marry any of the Canaanite women. 2 Quick! Go to Paddan Aram. Go to the home of Bethuel, your mother's father, and get yourself a wife from there from the daughters of your uncle Laban. 3 May God Almighty bless you, make you fertile, and increase the number of your descendants so that you will become a community of people. 4 May he give to you and your descendants the blessing of Abraham so that you may take possession of the land where you are now living, the land that God gave to Abraham."
5 Isaac sent Jacob to Paddan Aram. Jacob went to live with Laban, son of Bethuel the Aramean and brother of Rebekah.
6 Esau learned that Isaac had blessed Jacob and had sent him away to Paddan Aram to get a wife from there. He learned that Isaac had blessed Jacob and had commanded him not to marry any of the Canaanite women. 7 He also learned that Jacob had obeyed his father and mother and had left for Paddan Aram. 8 Esau realized that his father Isaac disapproved of Canaanite women. 9 So he went to Ishmael and married Mahalath, daughter of Abraham's son Ishmael and sister of Nebaioth, in addition to the wives he had.
10 Jacob left Beersheba and traveled toward Haran. 11 When he came to a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had gone down. He took one of the stones from that place, put it under his head, and lay down there.
12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway set up on the earth with its top reaching up to heaven. He saw the angels of God going up and coming down on it. 13 The LORD was standing above it, saying, "I am the LORD, the God of your grandfather Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give the land on which you are lying to you and your descendants. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust on the earth. You will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. Through you and through your descendant every family on earth will be blessed. 15 Remember, I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go. I will also bring you back to this land because I will not leave you until I do what I've promised you."
16 Then Jacob woke up from his sleep and exclaimed, "Certainly, the LORD is in this place, and I didn't know it!" 17 Filled with awe, he said, "How awe-inspiring this place is! Certainly, this is the house of God and the gateway to heaven!" 18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had put under his head. He set it up as a marker and poured olive oil on top of it. 19 He named that place Bethel [House of God]. Previously, the name of the city was Luz. 20 Then Jacob made a vow: "If God will be with me and will watch over me on my trip and give me food to eat and clothes to wear, 21 and if I return safely to my father's home, then the LORD will be my God. 22 This stone that I have set up as a marker will be the house of God, and I will surely give you a tenth of everything you give me."
Genesis chapter 29 (TEV)
1 Jacob continued on his way and went toward the land of the East. 2 Suddenly he came upon a well out in the fields with three flocks of sheep lying around it. The flocks were watered from this well, which had a large stone over the opening. 3 Whenever all the flocks came together there, the shepherds would roll the stone back and water them. Then they would put the stone back in place. 4 Jacob asked the shepherds, "My friends, where are you from?"
"From Haran," they answered. 5 He asked, "Do you know Laban, grandson of Nahor?"
"Yes, we do," they answered. 6 "Is he well?" he asked.
"He is well," they answered. "Look, here comes his daughter Rachel with his flock."
7 Jacob said, "Since it is still broad daylight and not yet time to bring the flocks in, why don't you water them and take them back to pasture?" 8 They answered, "We can't do that until all the flocks are here and the stone has been rolled back; then we will water the flocks."
9 While Jacob was still talking with them, Rachel arrived with the flock. 10 When Jacob saw Rachel with his uncle Laban's flock, he went to the well, rolled the stone back, and watered the sheep. 11 Then he kissed her and began to cry for joy. 12 He told her, "I am your father's relative, the son of Rebecca."
She ran to tell her father; 13 and when he heard the news about his nephew Jacob, he ran to meet him, hugged him and kissed him, and brought him into the house. When Jacob told Laban everything that had happened, 14 Laban said, "Yes, indeed, you are my own flesh and blood." Jacob stayed there a whole month.
15 Laban said to Jacob, "You shouldn't work for me for nothing just because you are my relative. How much pay do you want?" 16 Laban had two daughters; the older was named Leah, and the younger Rachel. 17 Leah had lovely eyes, but Rachel was shapely and beautiful. 18 Jacob was in love with Rachel, so he said, "I will work seven years for you, if you will let me marry Rachel." 19 Laban answered, "I would rather give her to you than to anyone else; stay here with me." 20 Jacob worked seven years so that he could have Rachel, and the time seemed like only a few days to him, because he loved her. 21 Then Jacob said to Laban, "The time is up; let me marry your daughter." 22 So Laban gave a wedding feast and invited everyone. 23 But that night, instead of Rachel, he took Leah to Jacob, and Jacob had intercourse with her 24 (Laban gave his slave woman Zilpah to his daughter Leah as her maid.) 25 Not until the next morning did Jacob discover that it was Leah. He went to Laban and said, "Why did you do this to me? I worked to get Rachel. Why have you tricked me?" 26 Laban answered, "It is not the custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older. 27 Wait until the week's marriage celebrations are over, and I will give you Rachel, if you will work for me another seven years." 28 Jacob agreed, and when the week of marriage celebrations was over, Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife 29 (Laban gave his slave woman Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her maid.) 30 Jacob had intercourse with Rachel also, and he loved her more than Leah. Then he worked for Laban another seven years.
31 When the Lord saw that Leah was loved less than Rachel, he made it possible for her to have children, but Rachel remained childless. 32 Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She said, "The Lord has seen my trouble, and now my husband will love me"; so she named him Reuben. 33 She became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She said, "The Lord has given me this son also, because he heard that I was not loved"; so she named him Simeon. 34 Once again she became pregnant and gave birth to another son. She said, "Now my husband will be bound more tightly to me, because I have borne him three sons"; so she named him Levi. 35 Then she became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She said, "This time I will praise the Lord"; so she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children.
Genesis chapter 30 (TEV)
1 But Rachel had not borne Jacob any children, and so she became jealous of her sister and said to Jacob, "Give me children, or I will die." 2
Jacob became angry with Rachel and said, "I can't take the place of God. He is the one who keeps you from having children."
3 She said, "Here is my slave Bilhah; sleep with her, so that she can have a child for me. In this way I can become a mother through her."
4 So she gave Bilhah to her husband, and he had intercourse with her. 5 Bilhah became pregnant and bore Jacob a son. 6 Rachel said, "God has judged in my favor. He has heard my prayer and has given me a son"; so she named him Dan. 7 Bilhah became pregnant again and bore Jacob a second son. 8 Rachel said, "I have fought a hard fight with my sister, but I have won"; so she named him Naphtali. 9 When Leah realized that she had stopped having children, she gave her slave Zilpah to Jacob as his wife. 10 Then Zilpah bore Jacob a son. 11 Leah said, "I have been lucky"; so she named him Gad. 12 Zilpah bore Jacob another son, 13 and Leah said, "How happy I am! Now women will call me happy"; so she named him Asher.
14 During the wheat harvest Reuben went into the fields and found mandrakes, which he brought to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, "Please give me some of your son's mandrakes."
15 Leah answered, "Isn't it enough that you have taken away my husband? Now you are even trying to take away my son's mandrakes."
Rachel said, "If you will give me your son's mandrakes, you can sleep with Jacob tonight."
16 When Jacob came in from the fields in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, "You are going to sleep with me tonight, because I have paid for you with my son's mandrakes." So he had intercourse with her that night. 17 God answered Leah's prayer, and she became pregnant and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18 Leah said, "God has given me my reward, because I gave my slave to my husband"; so she named her son Issachar. 19 Leah became pregnant again and bore Jacob a sixth son. 20 She said, "God has given me a fine gift. Now my husband will accept me, because I have borne him six sons"; so she named him Zebulun. 21 Later she bore a daughter, whom she named Dinah.
22 Then God remembered Rachel; he answered her prayer and made it possible for her to have children. 23 She became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She said, "God has taken away my disgrace by giving me a son. 24 May the Lord give me another son"; so she named him Joseph.
The next file in this section (Part 3), is entitled: "The Bible Story Of Jacob's Family."
The main Bible pages on this site:
|Bible Part 1: Bible Quotations, The Holy Spirit, People And Their Stories|
|Bible Part 2: The Lives and Suffering of the Ancient Israelites|
|Bible Part 3: The Bible, Articles About Alleged Inaccuracies in it, And Stories of People who Became Christians.|
|If you have found parts of the Old Testament or the Book of Revelation offensive, please read An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.|
The selections of Bible quotations have been put together by Diana Holbourn.
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