Isaac was now old and had become blind. He sent for his older son Esau and said to him, "Son!" "Yes," he answered.
Isaac said, "You see that I am old and may die soon.
Take your bow and arrows, go out into the country, and kill an animal for me.
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."
While Isaac was talking to Esau, Rebecca was listening. So when Esau went out to hunt,
she said to Jacob, "I have just heard your father say to Esau,
"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.'
Now, son," Rebecca continued, "listen to me and do what I say.
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.
You can take it to him to eat, and he will give you his blessing before he dies."
But Jacob said to his mother, "You know that Esau is a hairy man, but I have smooth skin.
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."
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."
So he went to get them and brought them to her, and she cooked the kind of food that his father liked.
Then she took Esau's best clothes, which she kept in the house, and put them on Jacob.
She put the skins of the goats on his arms and on the hairless part of his neck.
She handed him the tasty food, along with the bread she had baked.
Then Jacob went to his father and said, "Father!" "Yes," he answered. "Which of my sons are you?"
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."
Isaac said, "How did you find it so quickly, son?" Jacob answered, "The Lord your God helped me find it."
Isaac said to Jacob, "Please come closer so that I can touch you. Are you really Esau?"
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."
He did not recognize Jacob, because his arms were hairy like Esau's. He was about to give him his blessing,
but asked again, "Are you really Esau?" "I am," he answered.
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.
Then his father said to him, "Come closer and kiss me, son."
As he came up to kiss him, Isaac smelled his clothes - so he gave him his blessing. He said, "The pleasant smell of my son is like the smell of a field which the Lord has blessed.
May God give you dew from heaven and make your fields fertile! May he give you plenty of grain and wine!
May nations be your servants, and may peoples bow down before you. May you rule over all your relatives, and may your mother's descendants bow down before you. May those who curse you be cursed, and may those who bless you be blessed."
Isaac finished giving his blessing, and as soon as Jacob left, his brother Esau came in from hunting.
He also cooked some tasty food and took it to his father. He said, "Please, father, sit up and eat some of the meat that I have brought you, so that you can give me your blessing."
"Who are you?" Isaac asked. "Your older son Esau," he answered.
Isaac began to tremble and shake all over, and he asked, "Who was it, then, who killed an animal and brought it to me? I ate it just before you came. I gave him my final blessing, and so it is his forever."
When Esau heard this, he cried out loudly and bitterly and said, "Give me your blessing also, father!"
Isaac answered, "Your brother came and deceived me. He has taken away your blessing."
Esau said, "This is the second time that he has cheated me. No wonder his name is Jacob. He took my rights as the first-born son, and now he has taken away my blessing. Haven't you saved a blessing for me?"
Isaac answered, "I have already made him master over you, and I have made all his relatives his slaves. I have given him grain and wine. Now there is nothing that I can do for you, son!"
Esau continued to plead with his father: "Do you have only one blessing, father? Bless me too, father!" He began to cry.
Then Isaac said to him, "No dew from heaven for you, No fertile fields for you.
You will live by your sword, But be your brother's slave. Yet when you rebel, You will break away from his control."
Esau hated Jacob, because his father had given Jacob the blessing. He thought, "The time to mourn my father's death is near; then I will kill Jacob."
But when Rebecca heard about Esau's plan, she sent for Jacob and said, "Listen, your brother Esau is planning to get even with you and kill you.
Now, son, do what I say. Go at once to my brother Laban in Haran,
and stay with him for a while, until your brother's anger cools down
and he forgets what you have done to him. Then I will send someone to bring you back. Why should I lose both of my sons on the same day?"
Rebecca said to Isaac, "I am sick and tired of Esau's foreign wives. If Jacob also marries one of these Hittites, I might as well die."
Isaac called Jacob, greeted him, and told him, "Don't marry a Canaanite.
Go instead to Mesopotamia, to the home of your grandfather Bethuel, and marry one of the young women there, one of your uncle Laban's daughters.
May Almighty God bless your marriage and give you many children, so that you will become the father of many nations!
May he bless you and your descendants as he blessed Abraham, and may you take possession of this land, in which you have lived and which God gave to Abraham!"
Isaac sent Jacob away to Mesopotamia, to Laban, who was the son of Bethuel the Aramean and the brother of Rebecca, the mother of Jacob and Esau.
Esau learned that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Mesopotamia to find a wife. He also learned that when Isaac blessed him, he commanded him not to marry a Canaanite woman.
He found out that Jacob had obeyed his father and mother and had gone to Mesopotamia.
Esau then understood that his father Isaac did not approve of Canaanite women.
So he went to Ishmael son of Abraham and married his daughter Mahalath, who was the sister of Nebaioth.
Jacob left Beersheba and started toward Haran.
At sunset he came to a holy place and camped there. He lay down to sleep, resting his head on a stone.
He dreamed that he saw a stairway reaching from earth to heaven, with angels going up and coming down on it.
And there was the Lord standing beside him. "I am the Lord, the God of Abraham and Isaac," he said. "I will give to you and to your descendants this land on which you are lying.
They will be as numerous as the specks of dust on the earth. They will extend their territory in all directions, and through you and your descendants I will bless all the nations.
Remember, I will be with you and protect you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done all that I have promised you."
Jacob woke up and said, "The Lord is here! He is in this place, and I didn't know it!"
He was afraid and said, "What a terrifying place this is! It must be the house of God; it must be the gate that opens into heaven."
Jacob got up early next morning, took the stone that was under his head, and set it up as a memorial. Then he poured olive oil on it to dedicate it to God.
He named the place Bethel. (The town there was once known as Luz.)
Then Jacob made a vow to the Lord: "If you will be with me and protect me on the journey I am making and give me food and clothing,
and if I return safely to my father's home, then you will be my God.
This memorial stone which I have set up will be the place where you are worshiped, and I will give you a tenth of everything you give me."
Jacob continued on his way and went toward the land of the East.
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.
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.
Jacob asked the shepherds, "My friends, where are you from?" "From Haran," they answered.
He asked, "Do you know Laban, grandson of Nahor?" "Yes, we do," they answered.
"Is he well?" he asked. "He is well," they answered. "Look, here comes his daughter Rachel with his flock."
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?"
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."
While Jacob was still talking with them, Rachel arrived with the flock.
When Jacob saw Rachel with his uncle Laban's flock, he went to the well, rolled the stone back, and watered the sheep.
Then he kissed her and began to cry for joy.
He told her, "I am your father's relative, the son of Rebecca." She ran to tell her father;
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,
Laban said, "Yes, indeed, you are my own flesh and blood." Jacob stayed there a whole month.
Laban said to Jacob, "You shouldn't work for me for nothing just because you are my relative. How much pay do you want?"
Laban had two daughters; the older was named Leah, and the younger Rachel.
Leah had lovely eyes, but Rachel was shapely and beautiful.
Jacob was in love with Rachel, so he said, "I will work seven years for you, if you will let me marry Rachel."
Laban answered, "I would rather give her to you than to anyone else; stay here with me."
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.
Then Jacob said to Laban, "The time is up; let me marry your daughter."
So Laban gave a wedding feast and invited everyone.
But that night, instead of Rachel, he took Leah to Jacob, and Jacob had intercourse with her
(Laban gave his slave woman Zilpah to his daughter Leah as her maid.)
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?"
Laban answered, "It is not the custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older.
Wait until the week's marriage celebrations are over, and I will give you Rachel, if you will work for me another seven years."
Jacob agreed, and when the week of marriage celebrations was over, Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife
(Laban gave his slave woman Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her maid.)
Jacob had intercourse with Rachel also, and he loved her more than Leah. Then he worked for Laban another seven years.
When the Lord saw that Leah was loved less than Rachel, he made it possible for her to have children, but Rachel remained childless.
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.
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.
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.
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.