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28Â So Isaac called for Jacob, blessed him, and said, â€œYou must not marry any of these Canaanite women.Â 2Â Instead, go at once to Paddan-aram, to the house of your grandfather Bethuel, and marry one of your uncle Labanâ€™s daughters.Â 3Â May God AlmightyÂ bless you and give you many children. And may your descendants multiply and become many nations!Â 4Â May God pass on to you and your descendantsÂ the blessings he promised to Abraham. May you own this land where you are now living as a foreigner, for God gave this land to Abraham.â€
5Â So Isaac sent Jacob away, and he went to Paddan-aram to stay with his uncle Laban, his motherâ€™s brother, the son of Bethuel the Aramean.
6Â Esau knew that his father, Isaac, had blessed Jacob and sent him to Paddan-aram to find a wife, and that he had warned Jacob, â€œYou must not marry a Canaanite woman.â€Â 7Â He also knew that Jacob had obeyed his parents and gone to Paddan-aram.Â 8Â It was now very clear to Esau that his father did not like the local Canaanite women.Â 9Â So Esau visited his uncle Ishmaelâ€™s family and married one of Ishmaelâ€™s daughters, in addition to the wives he already had. His new wifeâ€™s name was Mahalath. She was the sister of Nebaioth and the daughter of Ishmael, Abrahamâ€™s son.
Jacobâ€™s Dream at Bethel
10Â Meanwhile, Jacob left Beersheba and traveled toward Haran.Â 11Â At sundown he arrived at a good place to set up camp and stopped there for the night. Jacob found a stone to rest his head against and lay down to sleep.Â 12Â As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway.
13Â At the top of the stairway stood theÂ Lord, and he said, â€œI am theÂ Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants.Â 14Â Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directionsâ€”to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants.Â 15Â Whatâ€™s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.â€
16Â Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, â€œSurely theÂ LordÂ is in this place, and I wasnâ€™t even aware of it!â€Â 17Â But he was also afraid and said, â€œWhat an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God, the very gateway to heaven!â€
18Â The next morning Jacob got up very early. He took the stone he had rested his head against, and he set it upright as a memorial pillar. Then he poured olive oil over it.Â 19Â He named that place Bethel (which means â€œhouse of Godâ€), although it was previously called Luz.
20Â Then Jacob made this vow: â€œIf God will indeed be with me and protect me on this journey, and if he will provide me with food and clothing,Â 21Â and if I return safely to my fatherâ€™s home, then theÂ LordÂ will certainly be my God.Â 22Â And this memorial pillar I have set up will become a place for worshiping God, and I will present to God a tenth of everything he gives me.â€
Jacob Arrives at Paddan-Aram
29Â Then Jacob hurried on, finally arriving in the land of the east.Â 2Â He saw a well in the distance. Three flocks of sheep and goats lay in an open field beside it, waiting to be watered. But a heavy stone covered the mouth of the well.
3Â It was the custom there to wait for all the flocks to arrive before removing the stone and watering the animals. Afterward the stone would be placed back over the mouth of the well.Â 4Â Jacob went over to the shepherds and asked, â€œWhere are you from, my friends?â€
â€œWe are from Haran,â€ they answered.
5Â â€œDo you know a man there named Laban, the grandson of Nahor?â€ he asked.
â€œYes, we do,â€ they replied.
6Â â€œIs he doing well?â€ Jacob asked.
â€œYes, heâ€™s well,â€ they answered. â€œLook, here comes his daughter Rachel with the flock now.â€
7Â Jacob said, â€œLook, itâ€™s still broad daylightâ€”too early to round up the animals. Why donâ€™t you water the sheep and goats so they can get back out to pasture?â€
8Â â€œWe canâ€™t water the animals until all the flocks have arrived,â€ they replied. â€œThen the shepherds move the stone from the mouth of the well, and we water all the sheep and goats.â€
9Â Jacob was still talking with them when Rachel arrived with her fatherâ€™s flock, for she was a shepherd.Â 10Â And because Rachel was his cousinâ€”the daughter of Laban, his motherâ€™s brotherâ€”and because the sheep and goats belonged to his uncle Laban, Jacob went over to the well and moved the stone from its mouth and watered his uncleâ€™s flock.Â 11Â Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and he wept aloud.Â 12Â He explained to Rachel that he was her cousin on her fatherâ€™s sideâ€”the son of her aunt Rebekah. So Rachel quickly ran and told her father, Laban.
13Â As soon as Laban heard that his nephew Jacob had arrived, he ran out to meet him. He embraced and kissed him and brought him home. When Jacob had told him his story,Â 14Â Laban exclaimed, â€œYou really are my own flesh and blood!â€
Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel
After Jacob had stayed with Laban for about a month,Â 15Â Laban said to him, â€œYou shouldnâ€™t work for me without pay just because we are relatives. Tell me how much your wages should be.â€
16Â Now Laban had two daughters. The older daughter was named Leah, and the younger one was Rachel.Â 17Â There was no sparkle in Leahâ€™s eyes,Â but Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face.Â 18Â Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he told her father, â€œIâ€™ll work for you for seven years if youâ€™ll give me Rachel, your younger daughter, as my wife.â€
19Â â€œAgreed!â€ Laban replied. â€œIâ€™d rather give her to you than to anyone else. Stay and work with me.â€Â 20Â So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days.
21Â Finally, the time came for him to marry her. â€œI have fulfilled my agreement,â€ Jacob said to Laban. â€œNow give me my wife so I can sleep with her.â€
22Â So Laban invited everyone in the neighborhood and prepared a wedding feast.Â 23Â But that night, when it was dark, Laban took Leah to Jacob, and he slept with her.Â 24Â (Laban had given Leah a servant, Zilpah, to be her maid.)
25Â But when Jacob woke up in the morningâ€”it was Leah! â€œWhat have you done to me?â€ Jacob raged at Laban. â€œI worked seven years for Rachel! Why have you tricked me?â€
26Â â€œItâ€™s not our custom here to marry off a younger daughter ahead of the firstborn,â€ Laban replied.Â 27Â â€œBut wait until the bridal week is over, then weâ€™ll give you Rachel, tooâ€”provided you promise to work another seven years for me.â€
28Â So Jacob agreed to work seven more years. A week after Jacob had married Leah, Laban gave him Rachel, too.Â 29Â (Laban gave Rachel a servant, Bilhah, to be her maid.)Â 30Â So Jacob slept with Rachel, too, and he loved her much more than Leah. He then stayed and worked for Laban the additional seven years.
Jacobâ€™s Many Children
31Â When theÂ LordÂ saw that Leah was unloved, he enabled her to have children, but Rachel could not conceive.Â 32Â So Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben,Â for she said, â€œTheÂ LordÂ has noticed my misery, and now my husband will love me.â€
33Â She soon became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She named him Simeon,Â for she said, â€œTheÂ LordÂ heard that I was unloved and has given me another son.â€
34Â Then she became pregnant a third time and gave birth to another son. She named him Levi,Â for she said, â€œSurely this time my husband will feel affection for me, since I have given him three sons!â€
35Â Once again Leah became pregnant and gave birth to another son. She named him Judah,Â for she said, â€œNow I will praise theLord!â€ And then she stopped having children.
30Â When Rachel saw that she wasnâ€™t having any children for Jacob, she became jealous of her sister. She pleaded with Jacob, â€œGive me children, or Iâ€™ll die!â€
2Â Then Jacob became furious with Rachel. â€œAm I God?â€ he asked. â€œHeâ€™s the one who has kept you from having children!â€
3Â Then Rachel told him, â€œTake my maid, Bilhah, and sleep with her. She will bear children for me,Â and through her I can have a family, too.â€Â 4Â So Rachel gave her servant, Bilhah, to Jacob as a wife, and he slept with her.Â 5Â Bilhah became pregnant and presented him with a son.Â 6Â Rachel named him Dan,Â for she said, â€œGod has vindicated me! He has heard my request and given me a son.â€Â 7Â Then Bilhah became pregnant again and gave Jacob a second son.Â 8Â Rachel named him Naphtali,Â for she said, â€œI have struggled hard with my sister, and Iâ€™m winning!â€
9Â Meanwhile, Leah realized that she wasnâ€™t getting pregnant anymore, so she took her servant, Zilpah, and gave her to Jacob as a wife.Â 10Â Soon Zilpah presented him with a son.Â 11Â Leah named him Gad,Â for she said, â€œHow fortunate I am!â€Â 12Â Then Zilpah gave Jacob a second son.Â 13Â And Leah named him Asher,Â for she said, â€œWhat joy is mine! Now the other women will celebrate with me.â€
14Â One day during the wheat harvest, Reuben found some mandrakes growing in a field and brought them to his mother, Leah. Rachel begged Leah, â€œPlease give me some of your sonâ€™s mandrakes.â€
15Â But Leah angrily replied, â€œWasnâ€™t it enough that you stole my husband? Now will you steal my sonâ€™s mandrakes, too?â€
Rachel answered, â€œI will let Jacob sleep with you tonight if you give me some of the mandrakes.â€
16Â So that evening, as Jacob was coming home from the fields, Leah went out to meet him. â€œYou must come and sleep with me tonight!â€ she said. â€œI have paid for you with some mandrakes that my son found.â€ So that night he slept with Leah.17Â And God answered Leahâ€™s prayers. She became pregnant again and gave birth to a fifth son for Jacob.Â 18Â She named him Issachar,Â for she said, â€œGod has rewarded me for giving my servant to my husband as a wife.â€Â 19Â Then Leah became pregnant again and gave birth to a sixth son for Jacob.Â 20Â She named him Zebulun,Â for she said, â€œGod has given me a good reward. Now my husband will treat me with respect, for I have given him six sons.â€Â 21Â Later she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.
22Â Then God remembered Rachelâ€™s plight and answered her prayers by enabling her to have children.Â 23Â She became pregnant and gave birth to a son. â€œGod has removed my disgrace,â€ she said.Â 24Â And she named him Joseph,Â for she said, â€œMay theLordÂ add yet another son to my family.â€
Jacobâ€™s Wealth Increases
25Â Soon after Rachel had given birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, â€œPlease release me so I can go home to my own country.26Â Let me take my wives and children, for I have earned them by serving you, and let me be on my way. You certainly know how hard I have worked for you.â€
27Â â€œPlease listen to me,â€ Laban replied. â€œI have become wealthy, forÂ theÂ LordÂ has blessed me because of you.Â 28Â Tell me how much I owe you. Whatever it is, Iâ€™ll pay it.â€
29Â Jacob replied, â€œYou know how hard Iâ€™ve worked for you, and how your flocks and herds have grown under my care.Â 30Â You had little indeed before I came, but your wealth has increased enormously. TheÂ LordÂ has blessed you through everything Iâ€™ve done. But now, what about me? When can I start providing for my own family?â€
31Â â€œWhat wages do you want?â€ Laban asked again.
Jacob replied, â€œDonâ€™t give me anything. Just do this one thing, and Iâ€™ll continue to tend and watch over your flocks.Â 32Â Let me inspect your flocks today and remove all the sheep and goats that are speckled or spotted, along with all the black sheep. Give these to me as my wages.Â 33Â In the future, when you check on the animals you have given me as my wages, youâ€™ll see that I have been honest. If you find in my flock any goats without speckles or spots, or any sheep that are not black, you will know that I have stolen them from you.â€
34Â â€œAll right,â€ Laban replied. â€œIt will be as you say.â€Â 35Â But that very day Laban went out and removed the male goats that were streaked and spotted, all the female goats that were speckled and spotted or had white patches, and all the black sheep. He placed them in the care of his own sons,Â 36Â who took them a three-daysâ€™ journey from where Jacob was. Meanwhile, Jacob stayed and cared for the rest of Labanâ€™s flock.
37Â Then Jacob took some fresh branches from poplar, almond, and plane trees and peeled off strips of bark, making white streaks on them.Â 38Â Then he placed these peeled branches in the watering troughs where the flocks came to drink, for that was where they mated.Â 39Â And when they mated in front of the white-streaked branches, they gave birth to young that were streaked, speckled, and spotted.Â 40Â Jacob separated those lambs from Labanâ€™s flock. And at mating time he turned the flock to face Labanâ€™s animals that were streaked or black. This is how he built his own flock instead of increasing Labanâ€™s.
41Â Whenever the stronger females were ready to mate, Jacob would place the peeled branches in the watering troughs in front of them. Then they would mate in front of the branches.Â 42Â But he didnâ€™t do this with the weaker ones, so the weaker lambs belonged to Laban, and the stronger ones were Jacobâ€™s.Â 43Â As a result, Jacob became very wealthy, with large flocks of sheep and goats, female and male servants, and many camels and donkeys.
Jesus Heals a Man with Leprosy
8Â Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside.Â 2Â Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. â€œLord,â€ the man said, â€œif you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.â€
3Â Jesus reached out and touched him.Â â€œI am willing,â€Â he said.Â â€œBe healed!â€Â And instantly the leprosy disappeared.Â 4Â Then Jesus said to him,Â â€œDonâ€™t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy.Â This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.â€
The Faith of a Roman Officer
5Â When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officerÂ came and pleaded with him,Â 6Â â€œLord, my young servantÂ lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.â€
7Â Jesus said,Â â€œI will come and heal him.â€
8Â But the officer said, â€œLord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed.Â 9Â I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, â€˜Go,â€™ and they go, or â€˜Come,â€™ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, â€˜Do this,â€™ they do it.â€
10Â When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said,Â â€œI tell you the truth, I havenâ€™t seen faith like this in all Israel!Â 11Â And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the worldâ€”from east and westâ€”and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven.Â 12Â But many Israelitesâ€”those for whom the Kingdom was preparedâ€”will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.â€
13Â Then Jesus said to the Roman officer,Â â€œGo back home. Because you believed, it has happened.â€Â And the young servant was healed that same hour.
Jesus Heals Many People
14Â When Jesus arrived at Peterâ€™s house, Peterâ€™s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever.Â 15Â But when Jesus touched her hand, the fever left her. Then she got up and prepared a meal for him.
16Â That evening many demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. He cast out the evil spirits with a simple command, and he healed all the sick.Â 17Â This fulfilled the word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, who said,
â€œHe took our sicknesses
The Cost of Following Jesus
18Â When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he instructed his disciples to cross to the other side of the lake.
19Â Then one of the teachers of religious law said to him, â€œTeacher, I will follow you wherever you go.â€
20Â But Jesus replied,Â â€œFoxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of ManÂ has no place even to lay his head.â€
21Â Another of his disciples said, â€œLord, first let me return home and bury my father.â€
22Â But Jesus told him,Â â€œFollow me now. Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead.â€
Jesus Calms the Storm
23Â Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples.Â 24Â Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.Â 25Â The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, â€œLord, save us! Weâ€™re going to drown!â€
26Â Jesus responded,Â â€œWhy are you afraid? You have so little faith!â€Â Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.
27Â The disciples were amazed. â€œWho is this man?â€ they asked. â€œEven the winds and waves obey him!â€
Jesus Heals Two Demon-Possessed Men
28Â When Jesus arrived on the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gadarenes,Â two men who were possessed by demons met him. They lived in a cemetery and were so violent that no one could go through that area.
29Â They began screaming at him, â€œWhy are you interfering with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before Godâ€™s appointed time?â€
30Â There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding in the distance.Â 31Â So the demons begged, â€œIf you cast us out, send us into that herd of pigs.â€
32Â â€œAll right, go!â€Â Jesus commanded them. So the demons came out of the men and entered the pigs, and the whole herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.
33Â The herdsmen fled to the nearby town, telling everyone what happened to the demon-possessed men.Â 34Â Then the entire town came out to meet Jesus, but they begged him to go away and leave them alone.