Genesis 29; Genesis 30; Matthew 9:1-17

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.
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. 25 After the birth of Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, "Let me go, so that I can return home. 26 Give me my wives and children that I have earned by working for you, and I will leave. You know how well I have served you." 27 Laban said to him, "Let me say this: I have learned by divination that the Lord has blessed me because of you. 28 Name your wages, and I will pay them." 29 Jacob answered, "You know how I have worked for you and how your flocks have prospered under my care. 30 The little you had before I came has grown enormously, and the Lord has blessed you wherever I went. Now it is time for me to look out for my own interests." 31 "What shall I pay you?" Laban asked. Jacob answered, "I don't want any wages. I will continue to take care of your flocks if you agree to this suggestion: 32 Let me go through all your flocks today and take every black lamb and every spotted or speckled young goat. That is all the wages I want. 33 In the future you can easily find out if I have been honest. When you come to check up on my wages, if I have any goat that isn't speckled or spotted or any sheep that isn't black, you will know that it has been stolen." 34 Laban answered, "Agreed. We will do as you suggest." 35 But that day Laban removed the male goats that had stripes or spots and all the females that were speckled and spotted or which had white on them; he also removed all the black sheep. He put his sons in charge of them, 36 and then went away from Jacob with this flock as far as he could travel in three days. Jacob took care of the rest of Laban's flocks. 37 Jacob got green branches of poplar, almond, and plane trees and stripped off some of the bark so that the branches had white stripes on them. 38 He placed these branches in front of the flocks at their drinking troughs. He put them there, because the animals mated when they came to drink. 39 So when the goats bred in front of the branches, they produced young that were streaked, speckled, and spotted. 40 Jacob kept the sheep separate from the goats and made them face in the direction of the streaked and black animals of Laban's flock. In this way he built up his own flock and kept it apart from Laban's. 41 When the healthy animals were mating, Jacob put the branches in front of them at the drinking troughs, so that they would breed among the branches. 42 But he did not put the branches in front of the weak animals. Soon Laban had all the weak animals, and Jacob all the healthy ones. 43 In this way Jacob became very wealthy. He had many flocks, slaves, camels, and donkeys.
1 Jesus got into the boat and went back across the lake to his own town, 2 where some people brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a bed. When Jesus saw how much faith they had, he said to the paralyzed man, "Courage, my son! Your sins are forgiven." 3 Then some teachers of the Law said to themselves, "This man is speaking blasphemy!" 4 Jesus perceived what they were thinking, and so he said, "Why are you thinking such evil things? 5 Is it easier to say, "Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, "Get up and walk'? 6 I will prove to you, then, that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins." So he said to the paralyzed man, "Get up, pick up your bed, and go home!" 7 The man got up and went home. 8 When the people saw it, they were afraid, and praised God for giving such authority to people. 9 Jesus left that place, and as he walked along, he saw a tax collector, named Matthew, sitting in his office. He said to him, "Follow me." Matthew got up and followed him. 10 While Jesus was having a meal in Matthew's house, many tax collectors and other outcasts came and joined Jesus and his disciples at the table. 11 Some Pharisees saw this and asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with such people?" 12 Jesus heard them and answered, "People who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick. 13 Go and find out what is meant by the scripture that says: "It is kindness that I want, not animal sacrifices.' I have not come to call respectable people, but outcasts." 14 Then the followers of John the Baptist came to Jesus, asking, "Why is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples don't fast at all?" 15 Jesus answered, "Do you expect the guests at a wedding party to be sad as long as the bridegroom is with them? Of course not! But the day will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16 "No one patches up an old coat with a piece of new cloth, for the new patch will shrink and make an even bigger hole in the coat. 17 Nor does anyone pour new wine into used wineskins, for the skins will burst, the wine will pour out, and the skins will be ruined. Instead, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins, and both will keep in good condition."
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