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Esau marries again, Jacob goes to Paddan-Haran, works for Laban, marries Rachel and Leah, and has 11 of his sons and one daughter: Genesis 28–30

After an 800-kilometre journey to his uncle Laban’s household, Jacob met Rachel (Laban’s daughter) and thought he had an agreement to marry her once he had worked for her father for seven years, but ended up working for 14 years for two wives. Laban had become wilier in the 40-or-more years since he had watched his sister Rebekah leave.

This whole thing set up a serious competition between the two wives, Rachel and Leah, with each wanting to outdo the other in what they didn’t have. Leah had children, but no love. Rachel had love, but no children for a long time. Even their maidservants got involved.

Jacob’s response was sad: rather than sympathising with Rachel and praying to God for her to conceive (which is what Isaac did when he and Rebekah couldn’t conceive):

30-2 Then Jacob became furious with Rachel. “Am I God?” he asked. “He’s the one who has kept you from having children!”

Finally, and some years later, God heard Rachel’s prayers, and Joseph was born.

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