Gen. 29:1 Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.
Gen. 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.
Gen. 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.
Gen. 29:4 And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we.
Gen. 29:5 And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him.
Gen. 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.
Gen. 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.
Gen. 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.
Jacob arrives in the land of the “people of the east.” The first thing he sees is a well with three flocks of sheep nearby. So Jacob talks with the shepherds and finds out that they know Laban and that he is well. Then Rachel, Laban’s daughter, shows up with their sheep. Evidently they had been waiting for her. Their routine was to gather all the flocks, roll the stone from the well, water all the flocks and replace the stone.
Gen. 29:9 And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep: for she kept them.
Gen. 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.
Gen. 29:11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.
Gen. 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 immediately took care of watering the sheep in Rachel’s care. He kissed her and began to cry. He told her that he was Rebekah’s son, and she ran to tell her father. I’m sure his tears were tears of relief and joy. He had reached the end of a long, lonely journey.
Gen. 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.
Gen. 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.
When Laban heard that his nephew had come, he ran to meet him with hugs and kisses and to bring him home with him. Then Jacob told Laban “all these things.” I wonder if this means that he told his uncle the whole story of why he was sent from home or just that he had come to seek a wife from among his own people. Whatever he said must have hit a chord of connection since Laban said, “Surely thou art my bone and my flesh.” Then we are told that Jacob stayed with Laban a month— as part of the family both in work and play.
Gen. 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?
Gen. 29:16 And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.
Gen. 29:17 Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.
Gen. 29:18 And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.
Gen. 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.
Gen. 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.
After that month, Laban began to feel a little uncomfortable that Jacob was working so hard for no pay. So he approached Jacob regarding what he could pay him for his services. Then we are told that Laban had two daughters—Leah was the oldest and Rachel the youngest. I’m not sure what tender eyed means, but obviously Rachel was the most beautiful and the family favorite. Jacob had fallen in love with Rachel and offered to work for 7 years in return for her as his wife. Laban agreed. So Jacob worked for 7 years, “and they seemed unto him but a few days.” He was besotted!
Smith: “Now Jacob didn’t—he came from home with nothing. All he had was his walking stick. So he had no dowry. But he was so in love with Rachel, he was willing to become a slave for seven years in order that his seven years of service might become a dowry.”
Gen. 29:21 And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her.
Gen. 29:22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast.
Gen. 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.
Gen. 29:24 And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid.
Gen. 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?
Then Jacob asked Laban to fulfill his part of the bargain and give him Rachel as his wife and they could come to know each other intimately. Now the deceiver will learn how it feels to be at the receiving end of a trick. It’s just a shame that poor Leah becomes the victim. Laban throws a big feast to celebrate. But, when evening came, he took Leah and gave her to Jacob as wife. Jacob was intimate with her, but he didn’t know it was Leah until the next morning. It’s a bit hard to believe that he was duped so easily. Suffice it to say that Jacob was angry when he found out it wasn’t Rachel, and he confronted Laban. His bargain had been to serve for Rachel, and he wanted to know why he had been deceived. We are also told that Leah was given Zilpah as a handmaid.
According to Chuck Missler, it was the custom at that time for the woman not to remove her veil until the marriage was consummated.
Gen. 29:26 And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.
Gen. 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.
Gen. 29:28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.
Gen. 29:29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid.
Gen. 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.
Laban explained that it was the custom of his people for the older girl to be married first. So, if he would finish the bridal week with Leah, he would then give him Rachel—for another 7 years of work. “And Jacob did so.” (He finished the bridal week.) So Laban then gave him Rachel as his wife and gave Rachel a handmaid named Bilhah. Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah. Then Jacob began his next 7 years of service for Rachel.
vs 27, “fulfil” = accomplish, confirm, satisfy
In going through my study of Daniel again recently, I came back to check my notes in this chapter of Genesis. I gained clearer insight as I read through this section again and realized that I needed to clarify the thoughts presented. When Laban asked Jacob to fulfil Leah’s week, he was asking Jacob to accept her as satisfaction for the seven years of servitude he had completed—albeit thinking it was for Rachel. That is why the direct reference is made in the last part of verse 27 that Jacob would be required to serve “yet seven other years” to “fulfil” the bridal price for Rachel. This is direct reference to the word “week” (shabuwa) which is a Hebrew term often used to indicate a seven-year period. This same word is used when referencing the “70 weeks” determined against the Jewish people in Daniel 9.
This probably explains why Laban conveniently forgot to inform Jacob of their customs when they made their agreement. He was thinking he would get 14 years of free labor from Jacob.
It also stands out that Laban had no regard for the feelings of either his daughters or Jacob. He was focused on his own selfish purposes.
Constable: “The Hebrew name "Rachel" means "ewe," and "Leah" means "cow." Ironically, Laban treated them as cattle and used them for bargaining and trading.”
Gen. 29:31 And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.
Gen. 29:32 And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.
Gen. 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.
Gen. 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.
Gen. 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; and left bearing.
I just realized this time through that this passage helps define the meaning of “Jacob have I loved; Esau have I hated.” (Romans 9:13) Verse 30 states that Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah. Verse 31 states that God saw Leah was hated—loved less. That’s always been my understanding, but I missed the biblical definition staring me in the face.
Leah’s first child was a son, and she named him Reuben, “He has seen my misery.” She recognized this child as a gift from God and hoped it would make Jacob love her. Then she had a second son and named him Simeon, “one who hears.” She said this was because the Lord heard that she was not loved, so He sent her another child. Leah had a third son and named him Levi, “attached.” She hoped that the blessing of three sons would make Jacob attached to her. Her fourth son she named Judah, “praise.” By then she was just praising the Lord for the comfort of her sons. Then Leah stopped having children. Leah was privileged to give birth to the fathers of the priestly line of Levi and the royal line of Judah from whom would come the Messiah.Gene