Story Thirteen

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 6
AFTER Ḗ sa̤u found that he had lost his birthright and his blessing, he was very angry against his brother Jā́ cob; and he said to himself, and told others, "My father Ī́ s̞aac is very old and cannot live long. As soon as he is dead, then I shall kill Jā́ cob for having robbed me of my right.”
When Rē̇-bĕḱ ah heard this, she said to Jā́ cob, "Before it is too late, do you go away from home, and get out of Ḗ sa̤u's sight. Perhaps when Ḗ sa̤u sees you no longer, he will forget his anger; and then you can come home again. Go and visit my brother Lā́ ban, your uncle, in Hā́ ran, and stay with him for a little while, until Ḗsa̤u's anger is past.”
You remember that Rē̇-bĕḱ ah came from the family of Nā́ hôr, Ā́ bră-hăm's younger brother, who lived in Hā́ ran, a long distance to the northeast of Cā́ năan; and that Lā́ ban was Rē̇-bĕḱ ah’s brother, as was told in Story Eleven.
So Jā́ cob went out of Bḗ er-shḗ ba, on the border of the desert, and walked alone toward a land far to the north, carrying his staff in his hand. One evening, just about sunset, he came to a place among the mountains, more than sixty miles distant from his home. And as he had no bed to lie down upon, he took a stone and rested his head upon it for a pillow, and lay down to sleep. We would think that a hard pillow, but Jā́ cob was tired, and soon fell asleep.
And on that night Jā́ cob had a wonderful dream. In his dream he saw stairs leading up to heaven from the earth where he lay; and angels were coming down and going up upon the stairs. And above the stairs, he saw the Lord God standing. And God said to Jā́ cob:
"I am the Lord, the God of Ā́ bră-hăm, and the God of Ī́ s̞aac your father; and I will be your God, too. The land where you are lying all alone, shall belong to you and to your children after you: and your children shall spread abroad over the lands, east, and west, and north, and south, like the dust of the earth: and in your family all the world shall receive a blessing. And I am with you in your journey, and I will keep you where you are going, and will bring you back to this land. I will never leave you, and I will surely keep my promise to you." And in the morning Jā́ cob awaked from his sleep, and he said, "Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it! I thought that I was all alone, but God has been with me. This place is the house of God; it is the gate of heaven!" And Jā́ cob took the stone on which his head had rested, and he set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on it as an offering to God And Jā́ cob named that place Bĕth́-el, which in the language that Jā́ cob spoke means "The House of God." And Jā́ cob made a promise to God at that time, and said:
"If God really will go with me, and will keep me in the way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and will bring me to my" father's house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God; and this stone shall be the house of God; and of all that God gives me, I will give back to God one-tenth as an offering.”
Then Jā́ cob went onward in his long journey. He waded across the river Jordan in a shallow place, feeling the way with his staff; he climbed mountains, and journeyed beside the great desert on the east, and at last he came to the city of Hā́ ran. Beside the city was the well, where Ā́ bră-hăm's servant had met Jā́ cob's mother, Rē̇-bĕḱ ah (see Story Eleven); and there, after Jacob had waited for a time, he saw a young woman coming with her sheep, to give them water.
Then Jacob took off the flat stone that was over the mouth of the well, and drew water, and gave it to the sheep. And when he found that this young woman was his own cousin Rā́ chel, the daughter of Lā́ ban, he was so glad that he wept for joy. And at that moment he began to love Rā́chel, and longed to have her for his wife.
Rā́ chel's father, Lā́ ban, who was Jā́ cob's uncle, the brother of Rē̇-bĕḱ ah, Jā́ cob's mother, gave a welcome to Jā́ cob, and took him into his home.
And Jā́ cob asked Lā́ban if he would give his daughter Rā́ chel to him as his wife; and Jā́ cob said, "If you will give me Rā́ chel, I will work for you seven years." And Lā́ ban said, "It is better that you should have her than that a stranger should marry her.”
So Jā́ cob lived seven years in Lā́ ban's house, caring for his sheep and oxen and camels; and such was his love for Rā́ chel that the seven years seemed like a few days.
At last the day came for the marriage; and they brought in the bride, who after the manner of that land was covered with a thick veil, so that her face could not be seen. And she was married to Jā́ cob; and when Jā́ cob lifted up her veil, he found that he had married, not Rā́ chel whom he loved, but her older sister Lḗ ah, who was not beautiful, and whom Jā́ cob did not love at all.
Jā́ cob was very angry that he had been deceived, though that was just the way in which Jā́ cob himself had deceived his father and cheated his brother Ḗ sa̤u (see Story Twelve). But his uncle Lā́ ban said:
"In our land we never allow the younger daughter to be married before the older daughter. Keep Lḗ ah for your wife, and work for me seven years longer, and you shall have Rā́ chel also.”
For in those times, as we have seen, men often had two wives, or even more than two. No one thought that it was wrong then to have more than one wife, although now it is considered very wicked. So Jā́ cob stayed seven years more, fourteen years in all, before he received Rā́ chel as his wife.
While Jā́ cob was living at Hā́ ran, eleven sons were born to him. But only one of these was the child of Rā́ chel, whom Jā́ cob loved. This son was Jṓ s̝eph, who was dearer to Jā́ cob than any other of his children, partly because he was the youngest, and also because he was the child of his beloved Rā́ chel.