Up Again: Meditation on the story of Peter
Clothes and Houses
What Rachel wore, the
tents they lived in
were families like in ancient Israel?
How were they different to ours?
Maps: see the great distance these
Information on the
dowry and bride-price
in the ancient world
lies, lies - the story of Rachel's husband Jacob
Terephim, ancient religious beliefs and practices
Bible Archaeology: Ancient Religions
of the sort of tent Rachel lived in
What happened to Rachel's
son Joseph? Joseph of
Rachel's son and That Woman
Story of Love and Deceit
Isaac Tells Jacob to Find a
Rachel and Jacob,
So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him. Then he commanded him: “Do
not marry a Canaanite woman.
2 Go at once to Paddan Aram, to the house of your mother’s father
Bethuel. Take a wife for yourself there, from among the daughters of
Laban, your mother’s brother.
3 May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your
numbers until you become a community of peoples.
4 May he give you and your descendants the blessing given to
Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now reside
as a foreigner, the land God gave to Abraham.”
5 Then Isaac sent Jacob on his way, and he went to Paddan Aram, to
Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, who was the
mother of Jacob and Esau.
Marries Two Sisters, Leah and Rachel
Jacob went on his journey and came to the land of the people of the
2 As he looked, he saw a well in the field, and behold, three
flocks of sheep lying beside it, for out of that well the flocks were
watered. The stone on the well's mouth was large,
Stone cover of an
3 and when all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds
would roll the stone from the mouth of the well and water the sheep, and
put the stone back in its place over the mouth of the well.
4 Jacob said to them, “My brothers, where do you come
from?” They said, “We are from Haran.”
5 He said to them, “Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?”
They said, “We know him.”
6 He said to them, “Is it well with him?” They said, “It
is well; and see, Rachel his daughter is coming with the sheep!”
7 He said, “Behold, it is still high day; it is not time for
the livestock to be gathered together. Water the sheep and go, pasture
8 But they said, “We cannot until all the flocks are
gathered together and the stone is rolled from the mouth of the well; then
we water the sheep.”
9 While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her
father's sheep, for she was a shepherdess.
10 Now as soon as Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his
mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, Jacob came
near and rolled the stone from the well's mouth and watered the flock of
Laban his mother's brother.
11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel and wept aloud.
12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's kinsman, and
that he was Rebekah's son, and she ran and told her father.
13 As soon as Laban heard the news about Jacob, his sister's
son, he ran to meet him and embraced him and kissed him and brought him to
his house. Jacob told Laban all these things,
14 and Laban said to him, “Surely you are my bone and my
flesh!” And he stayed with him a month.
15 Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my kinsman,
should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages
16 Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was
Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.
17 Leah's eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and
18 Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, “I will serve you seven
years for your younger daughter Rachel.”
19 Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than
that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.”
20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to
him but a few days because of the love he had for her.
21 Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife that I may go
in to her, for my time is completed.”
22 So Laban gathered together all the people of the place and
made a feast.
A veiled woman
23 But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought
her to Jacob, and he went in to her.
24 (Laban gavehis female
servant Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her servant.)
25 And in the morning, behold, it was Leah! And Jacob said to
Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for
Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?” 26 Laban
said, “It is not so done in our country, to give the younger before the
firstborn. 27 Complete
the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for
serving me another seven years.”
28 Jacob did so, and completed her week. Then Laban gave him
his daughter Rachel to be his wife.
29 (Laban gave his female servant Bilhah to his daughter
Rachel to be her servant.)
30 So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more
than Leah, and served Laban for another seven years.
the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he
opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. 32 And
Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben,for
she said, “Because the Lord has looked
upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.”
33 She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because
the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has
given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon.
34 Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this
time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three
sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi.
35 And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This
time I will praise the Lord.” Therefore
she called his name Judah.Then she
Yearns for Children
When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became
jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or
2 Jacob became angry with her and said, “Am I in the place of God,
who has kept you from having children?”
3 Then she said, “Here is Bilhah, my servant. Sleep with her so
that she can bear children for me and I too can build a family through
4 So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife. Jacob slept with
5 and she became pregnant and bore him a son.
6 Then Rachel said, “God has vindicated me; he has listened to my
plea and given me a son.” Because of this she named him Dan.
7 Rachel’s servant Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second
8 Then Rachel said, “I have had a great struggle with my sister,
and I have won.” So she named him Naphtali.
9 When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she took her
servant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife.
10 Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a son.
11 Then Leah said, “What good fortune!” So she named him Gad.
12 Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a second son.
13 Then Leah said, “How happy I am! The women will call me
happy.” So she named him Asher.
A mandrake root
14 During wheat harvest, Reuben went out into the fields and found
some mandrake plants, which he brought to his mother Leah. Rachel said to
Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”
15 But she said to her, “Wasn’t it enough that you took away my
husband? Will you take my son’s mandrakes too?” “Very
well,” Rachel said, “he can sleep with you tonight in return for your
16 So when Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out
to meet him. “You must sleep with me,” she said. “I have hired you
with my son’s mandrakes.” So he slept with her that night.
17 God listened to Leah, and she became pregnant and bore Jacob a
18 Then Leah said, “God has rewarded me for giving my servant to
my husband.” So she named him Issachar.
19 Leah conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son.
20 Then Leah said, “God has presented me with a precious gift.
This time my husband will treat me with honor, because I have borne him
six sons.” So she named him Zebulun.
21 Some time later she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.
22 Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and enabled her to
23 She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and said, “God has
taken away my disgrace.”
24 She named him Joseph, and said, “May the Lord add to me another
and Rachel Flee from Laban
Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were saying, “Jacob has taken everything
our father owned and has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our
2 And Jacob noticed that Laban’s attitude toward him was not what
it had been.
3 Then the Lord said to Jacob,
“Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will
be with you.”
4 So Jacob sent word to Rachel
and Leah to come out to the fields where his flocks were.
5 He said to them, “I see that your father’s attitude toward me
is not what it was before, but the God of my father has been with
6 You know that I’ve worked for your father with all my
7 yet your father has cheated me by changing my wages ten times.
However, God has not allowed him to harm me.
If he said, ‘The speckled ones will be your wages,’ then all
the flocks gave birth to speckled young; and if he said, ‘The streaked
ones will be your wages,’ then all the flocks bore streaked young.
9 So God has taken away your father’s livestock and has given them
10 “In breeding season I once had a dream in which I looked up and
saw that the male goats mating with the flock were streaked, speckled or
11 The angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob.’ I
answered, ‘Here I am.’
12 And he said, ‘Look up and see that all the male goats mating
with the flock are streaked, speckled or spotted, for I have seen all that
Laban has been doing to you.
13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and where you
made a vow to me. Now leave this land at once and go back to your native
14 Then Rachel and Leah replied, “Do we still have any share in
the inheritance of our father’s estate?
15 Does he not regard us as foreigners? Not only has he sold us, but
he has used up what was paid for us.
16 Surely all the wealth that God took away from our father belongs
to us and our children. So do whatever God has told you.”
17 Then Jacob put his children and his wives on camels,
18 and he drove all his livestock ahead of him, along with all the
goods he had accumulated in Paddan Aram, to go to his father Isaac in the
land of Canaan.
19 When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her
father’s household gods.
20 Moreover, Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean by not telling him he
was running away. 21 So he
fled with all he had, crossed the Euphrates River, and headed for the hill
country of Gilead.
Pursues Jacob, Rachel and Leah
On the third day Laban was told that Jacob had fled.
23 Taking his relatives with him, he pursued Jacob for seven days
and caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead.
24 Then God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and said
to him, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.”
25 Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country of Gilead when
Laban overtook him, and Laban and his relatives camped there too.
26 Then Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done? You’ve
deceived me, and you’ve carried off my daughters like captives in
27 Why did you run off secretly and deceive me? Why didn’t you
tell me, so I could send you away with joy and singing to the music of
timbrels and harps?
28 You didn’t even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters
goodbye. You have done a foolish thing.
29 I have the power to harm you; but last night the God of your
father said to me, ‘Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good
Ancient figurines from Mesopotamis, 4,000-5,000BC, similar to the terephim stolen by Rachel
30 Now you have gone off because you longed to return to your
father’s household. But why did you steal my gods?”
31 Jacob answered Laban, “I was afraid, because I thought you
would take your daughters away from me by force.
32 But if you find anyone who has your gods, that person shall not
live. In the presence of our relatives, see for yourself whether there is
anything of yours here with me; and if so, take it.” Now Jacob did not
know that Rachel had stolen the gods.
33 So Laban went into Jacob’s tent and into Leah’s tent and into
the tent of the two female servants, but he found nothing. After he came
out of Leah’s tent, he entered Rachel’s tent. 34
Now Rachel had taken the household gods and put them inside her camel’s
saddle and was sitting on them. Laban searched through everything in the
tent but found nothing.
35 Rachel said to her father, “Don’t be angry, my lord, that I
cannot stand up in your presence; I’m having my period.” So he
searched but could not find the household gods.
Death of Rachel
19th century photograph of Rachel's Tomb
Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from
Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty.
17 And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife
said to her, “Don’t despair, for you have another son.”
18 As she breathed her last—for she was dying—she named her son
Ben-Oni (son of my trouble). But his father named him Benjamin (son
of my right hand).
19 So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is,
20 Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day that pillar
marks Rachel’s tomb.