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Life And Writings Of Sulpitius Severus by Sulpitius Severus

Chapter IX. Laban had two daughters, Leah and Rachel; but Leah had tender eyesà

Laban had two daughters, Leah and Rachel; but Leah had tender eyes, while Rachel is said to have been beautiful. Jacob, captivated by her beauty, burned with love for the virgin, and, asking her in marriage from the father, gave himself up to a servitude of seven years. But when the time was fulfilled, Leah was foisted upon him, and he was subjected to another servitude of seven years, after which Rachel was given him. But we are told that she was long barren, while Leah was fruitful. Of the sons whom Jacob had by Leah, the following are the names: Reuben, Symeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulon, and a daughter Dinah; while there were born to him by the handmaid of Leah, Gad and Asher, and by the handmaid of Rachel, Dan and Naphtali. But Rachel, after she had despaired of offspring, bare Joseph. Then Jacob, being desirous of returning to his father, when Laban his father-in-law had given him a portion of the flock as a reward for his service, and Jacob the son-in-law, thinking him not to be acting justly in that matter, while he [also] suspected deceit on his part, privately departed about the thirtieth year after his arrival. Rachel, without the knowledge of her husband, stole the idols of her father, and on account of this injury Laban followed his son-in-law, but not finding his idols, returned, after being reconciled, having straitly charged his son-in-law not to take other wives in addition to his daughters. Then Jacob, going on his way, is said to have had a vision of angels and of the army of the Lord. But, as he directed his journey past the region of Edom, which his brother Esau inhabited, suspecting the temper of Esau, he first sent messengers and gifts to try him. Then he went to meet his brother, but Jacob took care not to trust him beyond what he could help. On the day before the brothers were to meet, God, taking a human form, is said to have wrestled with Jacob. And when he had prevailed with God, still he was not ignorant that his adversary was no mere mortal; and therefore begged to be blessed by him. Then his name was changed by God, so that from Jacob he was called Israel. But when he, in turn, inquired of God the name of God, he was told that that should not be asked after because it was wonderful. Moreover, from that wrestling, the breadth of Jacob's thigh shrank.
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