Poor Jacob. He had been sent away from his family. He had tricked his own family, and it had backfired. His father was angry. His brother wanted to kill him. He had to run away. His mother had family in Haran, a long way away.
She had told Jacob to go there. He had never met his mother's family. What if they didn't like him? What if Esau found him? He was feeling scared and lost. It was a long way to go. He was by himself, and he felt lonely.He walked until the sun set.
Poor Jacob. He had been sent away from his family. He had tricked his own family, and it had backfired. His father was angry. His brother wanted to kill him. He had to run away. His mother had family in Haran, a long way away. She had told Jacob to go there. He had never met his mother's family. What if they didn't like him? What if Esau found him? He was feeling scared and lost. It was a long way to go. He was by himself, and he felt lonely.He walked until the sun set. Then he lay down to sleep. While he was asleep he had a very strange dream. He dreamed he was at the bottom of some stairs. The stairs stretched from heaven to earth. Angels were walking up and down the stairs. Then God spoke to him. God told Jacob that his descendants would live in this land. God also said that He would look after Jacob until he could come back home. Then Jacob woke up. He felt better. He knew God loved him even though he had tricked and lied to his family. He also knew that God would look after him. Now he didn't feel so alone. God would never leave him. He also promised God that he would always serve Him.
Jacob reached Haran and stopped at the well there. He saw all the shepherds and their sheep gathered around. He went over and asked them where he was.
"Haran," they replied. Jacob was excited - this was where Laban lived.
"Do you know Laban?" he asked.
"Yes," they said, "and here comes Rachel his daughter."
Rachel looked after her family's sheep, and had come to give them water. Jacob ran over to her and watered the sheep for her. He then kissed her and told her who he was. Finally he had met some one from his mother's family! She ran to tell her father, and he came out to meet Jacob. Laban was happy to see Jacob, and invited him to stay with them.
After Jacob had stayed with them for a month Laban said to him,
"You have worked hard. I should be paying you. What would you like as your wages?"
Laban had two daughters, Leah and Rachel. Rachel was the youngest and prettiest and Jacob had fallen in love with her. So he said, "Nothing for seven years. After that, let me marry your daughter Rachel." Laban thought and then spoke.
"All right" he said. "I know you will be good to her."
So Jacob worked hard, looking after Laban's animals. After sevens years he said to Laban, "I have worked for free for seven years. Please can Rachel and I get married now?" Laban agreed, and Jacob was married. But Laban tricked Jacob. The next mornmg when Jacob woke up, he found out he had married Leah, not Rachel. The bride had been in a heavy veil which hadn't been taken off until it was dark. Jacob had not realised he was marrying the wrong girl.
It was not a very nice situation. Jacob was unhappy because he loved Rachel. Leah was unhappy because Jacob didn't love her. Jacob then made everything worse by marrying Rachel as well. There were many arguments. Leah and Rachel were jealous of each other. Leah was jealous that Jacob loved Rachel and not her. Rachel was also unhappy - Leah had lots of children, and Rachel couldn't have any.
After many years, Jacob decided that he and his family should leave Haran. Laban was still cheating Jacob out of his wages. Jacob was sick of it. He got everyone to pack their things and they all ran away from Laban. Laban was unhappy about this, so he chased Jacob. God looked after Jacob though. God talked to Laban and told him to be nice to Jacob. So Laban was. When he found them he spent time saying goodbye to his daughters and grandchildren and then he let them all go.
Shortly after this, Jacob heard that Esau was nearby and wanted to see him. He was really scared. Esau probably still wanted to kill him, and his family. God was there for Jacob though. The night before Esau and Jacob were to meet, Jacob was alone as everyone else had gone on ahead. God talked to him and told him not to worry. He also gave Jacob a new name Israel. (This is the name of the land where the Jews live today.) After this Jacob felt happier about meeting Esau.
The next day Jacob and Esau met again. The brothers forgot their old fight and hugged each other. Esau told Jacob about all the family news. Isaac and Rebekah, their parents, had died. Jacob was sad. He felt happy that he had met Esau again though. Jacob was now forgiven. He could continue on his way in peace.
See if you can answer these questions:
1. What did Jacob dream about?
2. Who did he meet at Haran?
3. How did Jacob get tricked?
4. Do you think their family was happy?