Genesis 29 - Outline of Genesis (MENU page)
29:1 Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.
29:2 And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there [were] three flocks of sheep lying by it;
for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone [was] upon the well's mouth.
29:3 And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well's mouth,
and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well's mouth in his place.
29:4 And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence [be] ye?
And they said, Of Haran [are] we.
29:5 And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor?
And they said, We know [him].
29:6 And he said unto them, [Is] he well?
And they said, [He is] well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.
29:7 And he said, Lo, [it is] yet high day, neither [is it] time that the cattle should be gathered together:
water ye the sheep, and go [and] feed [them].
29:8 And they said, We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together,
and [till] they roll the stone from the well's mouth; then we water the sheep.
29:9 And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep: for she kept them.
29:10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother,
and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother,
that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth,
and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother.
29:11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.
29:12 And Jacob told Rachel that he [was] her father's brother, and that he [was] Rebekah's son:
and she ran and told her father.
Jacob... lifted up his voice and wept.-
His long lonely journey had ended, he was overcome with emotion to be with extended family. Jacob was Rachel's ''father's brother'' in a broad sense. He was the nephew of her father, Laban.
Jacob is still the same self-directed man, even after the vision at Bethel.
His attitude, even in a strange place, seems to be that he is in charge. (cp. v.7,8,10)
29:13 And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister's son,
that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house.
And he told Laban all these things.
29:14 And Laban said to him, Surely thou [art] my bone and my flesh.
And he abode with him the space of a month.
29:15 And Laban said unto Jacob,
Because thou [art] my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought?
tell me, what [shall] thy wages [be]?
29:16 And Laban had two daughters:
the name of the elder [was] Leah, and the name of the younger [was] Rachel.
29:17 Leah [was] tender eyed
{lit., 'weak eyed'}; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.
29:18 And Jacob loved Rachel; and said,
I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.
29:19 And Laban said,
[It is] better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me.
Jacob told Laban ''all these things''-
He would have described some highlights of his journey, and related family news from Isaac and Rebekah. He might have explained that he had become Isaac's heir, through the purchase of the birthright. But, no doubt, wanting to make a good impression, he omitted his deception of his father. Being confused about what it meant, he probably avoided sharing his vision at Bethel.
Jacob and Laban struck a bargain.- Jacob, who had no money,
would work for Laban for seven years to earn the dowry payment to take Rachel as his wife.
The relationship of these two men would be a continual test of wits, each trying to gain an advantage over the other. Jacob, the deceiver, had met his match, because God must teach Jacob a lesson.
Jacob and Laban are different before God, yet similar in the world.
Jacob is called of God, having received the Covenant by Grace. Laban is an idolater (31:30).
Yet, their lifestyles are nearly indistinguishable. Both men lived by deceit, for worldly gain.
That which set them apart was God's grace alone.
- - Jacob, because he did not appreciate the reality of God's working in his behalf, was continually scheming to obtain what God had promised to provide him.
- - Yet, God did not allow these needless schemes of unbelief...
  1. to thwart His purposes for Jacob.
    It is God who prepares the vessels of mercy (no thanks to their flesh).
    Apart from God, man prepares himself for destruction. cp. Rom 9:22,23; Mat 25:34,41
  2. to mar Jacob's standing before Him (cp. Num 23:21).
    ''God does not say that iniquity and perverseness were not in him.'' [CHM]
    God dealt with him in grace, though years would pass before Jacob's heart would be 'established in grace' by faith (Heb 13:9).
    Meanwhile, Jacob would suffer the consequences of his faithless actions.
29:20 And Jacob served seven years for Rachel;
and they seemed unto him [but] a few days, for the love he had to her.
29:21 And Jacob said unto Laban,
Give [me] my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her.
29:22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast.
29:23 And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him;
and he went in unto her.
29:24 And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid [for] an handmaid.
29:25 And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it [was] Leah:
and he said to Laban, What [is] this thou hast done unto me?
did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?
29:26 And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.
29:27 Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also
for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.
Jacob served seven years for Rachel... they seemed but a few days... for the love he had for her-
''The only noble thing about Jacob in his early years is his love for Rachel.'' [McGee]
What [is] this thou hast done unto me?... wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?-
Jacob is reaping what he had sowed (cp. Gal 6:7,8). He had beguiled (deceived) Isaac, by pretending to be the elder when he was the younger (Gen 27:18- f).
Now he is given the elder when he thinks he is receiving the younger daughter.
Uncle Laban is a master of deceit. When confronted, he tells Jacob that he had overlooked some fine print in their contract. But, he is willing to be generous, and is prepared to make an offer:
  1. fulfill her week... {ie., Leah's honeymoon period}
  2. serve with me yet seven other years {in payment for Rachel}-
    Jacob received Rachel seven days after his marriage to Leah, but he was then committed to work for Laban for another seven years.
29:28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week:
and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.
29:29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid.
29:30 And he went in also unto Rachel,
and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.
29:31 And when the LORD saw that Leah [was] hated, he opened her womb:
but Rachel [was] barren.
29:32 And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben
{ie., 'see, a son'}:
for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.
29:33 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said,
Because the LORD hath heard that I [was] hated, he hath therefore given me this [son] also:
and she called his name Simeon
{ie., 'hearing'}.
29:34 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said,
Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons:
therefore was his name called Levi
{ie., 'joined', cp. Num 18:2-4}.
29:35 And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said,
Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah
{ie., 'praise'};
and left bearing
{temporarily}.
Jacob... loved Rachel more than Leah (v.30)-
(The meaning of 'hated' in v.31 is comparative, ie., 'loved less.' cp. Mat 6:24; Luk 14:26)
Polygamy was never God's design in marriage (cp. Gen 2:24). Although it was allowed in certain OT periods, it was a constant source of trouble (cp. Deu 21:15-17).
In recording the practice of polygamy, God's Word does not approve of it. It is recorded for our benefit, so that we may avoid sin and its consequences. Jacob's marriage was full of conflict.
when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb-
''The tender love of the Heavenly Father's heart for a slighted wife is beautifully shown in the fact that he gave six sons to Leah.'' [GWms] Rachel and the two handmaids would eventually bear two sons each. God would also honor Leah with the son in the line of promise (ie., Judah).
"Jacob at Haran becomes an illustration of the nation of Israel in their long dispersion.-
Like Israel, Jacob...
  1. was out of the place of blessing (Gen 26:3).
  2. was without an altar (Hos 3:4,5).
  3. gained an evil name (Gen 31:1; Rom 2:17-24).
  4. remained under the covenant care of Jehovah (Gen 28:13,14; Rom 11:1,25-29).
  5. was ultimately brought back to the place of blessing (Gen 31:3; 35:1-4; Eze 37:21-23)." [ScofRB]

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