Genesis, chapter 29, verses 15-32 and chapter 30, verses 22-24 from the Message Bible by Peterson; adapted by Rev. Steitz .
After Esau realized he had been tricked out of his blessing, he was very angry and was determined to kill his brother. But their mother Rebekah send Jacob away to her brother Laban where he would be safe…Now Laban had two daughters; Leah was the older and Rachel the younger. Leah had nice eyes, but Rachel was stunningly beautiful. And it was Rachel that Jacob loved. So Jacob answered, “I will work for you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.”
“It is far better,” said Laban, “that I give her to you than marry her to some outsider. Yes. Stay here with me.” So Jacob worked seven years for Rachel. But it only seemed like a few days, he loved her so much.
Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife; I’ve completed what we agreed I’d do. I’m ready to consummate my marriage.” Laban invited everyone around and threw a big feast. At evening, though, he got his daughter Leah and brought her to the marriage bed, and Jacob slept with her. Morning came: Jacob found Leah in the marriage bed!
Jacob confronted Laban, “What have you done to me? Didn’t I work all this time for the hand of Rachel? Why did you cheat me?”
“We don’t do it that way in our country,” said Laban. “We don’t marry off the younger daughter before the older. Enjoy your week of honeymoon, and then we’ll give you the other one also. But it will cost you another seven years of work.”
Jacob agreed. When he’d completed the honeymoon week, Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. Jacob then slept with her. And he loved Rachel more than Leah. He worked for Laban another seven years.
When God realized that Leah was unloved, he opened her womb. But Rachel was barren. Leah became pregnant and had a son. She named him Reuben “This is a sign,” she said, “that God has seen my misery; and a sign that now my husband will love me.”
When Rachel realized that she wasn’t having any children for Jacob, she became jealous of her sister. She told Jacob, “Give me sons or I’ll die!”
Rachel said, “Here’s my maid Bilhah. Sleep with her. Let her substitute for me so I can have a child through her and build a family.” So she gave him her maid Bilhah for a wife and Jacob slept with her. Bilhah became pregnant and gave Jacob a son. Rachel said, “God took my side and vindicated me. He listened to me and gave me a son.”
Jacob had many children from Leah and her maid, Zilpah as well as Rachel’s maid, Bilhah. Finally, God remembered Rachel. God listened to her and opened her womb. She became pregnant and had a son. She said, “God has taken away my humiliation.” She named him Joseph.