Genesis 29

Genesis 29 has Jacob traveling to the land where Laban lived.  Laban was Jacob’s uncle – his mother Rebekah’s brother.  And he was sent there to find a wife. Jacob comes across some shepherds who were bringing their sheep to a well for watering.  As Jacob waited there, he is scoping out the terrain.  “As soon as Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, Jacob came near and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother”.  Jacob immediately takes action when he sees Rachel.  He makes it easy to water the sheep she was caring for.

But it goes much further.  “Jacob kissed Rachel and wept aloud”.  Pretty bold action for the very first time he saw her.  And then the weeping came – which seems like a strange response – but Jacob had found the woman he wanted as his wife.  “As soon as Laban heard the news about Jacob, his sister’s son, he ran to meet him and embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his house”.  It was family reunion time and they all caught up and spent time together.  In fact, Jacob stayed for a month and then Laban felt guilty and asked what fair wages might be if Jacob continued on.

Jacob has his chance.  “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel”.  He has identified who he wants for a wife and now has a plan to achieve that goal.  Laban buys in, at least on the surface, and agrees.  Jacob served for seven years and then says “Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed”.  So far the plan is going as expected.  But then Laban throws a party and pulls off a major switcharo.  “In the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he went in to her”.  Not exactly what Jacob was expecting to find when he woke up in the morning.

Jacob confronts Laban immediately.  “Why then have you deceived me”?  This wasn’t the agreement in Jacobs mind.  Laban plays the ‘tradition’ card telling him it’s how things are done where he is.  So the negotiation begins again as Jacob is still smitten with Rachel and determined to have her as his wife.  Laban’s offer was to “complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years”.  Jacob agrees again and after a week “Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife”.  Having two wives is problematic for Jacob because he loved Rachel more.  “When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren”.  Leah bore four children to him at this point.

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