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Genesis Twenty Nine

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Genesis 29:1 Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.

blessed him. At this point, Isaac repeated and expanded his blessing to Jacob, indicating his full realization that God's will had been accomplished.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 29:4 And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we.

Genesis 29:5 And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 29:9 And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep: for she kept them.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 29:11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 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.

my bone and my flesh. Jacob was the son of Laban's sister (Rebekah) and of Laban's father's cousin (Isaac). Thus he and Laban did, indeed, have the same basic genetic controls, which specify the characteristics of the individual's flesh and bones.

Genesis 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?

Genesis 29:16 And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.

Genesis 29:17 Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.

Genesis 29:18 And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 29:21 And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her.

Genesis 29:22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast.

Genesis 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.

brought her to him. This cruel deception on Laban's part was not God's retribution for Jacob's deception of Isaac, as many have suggested. Leah was destined to be the mother of Judah, through whom Christ would come. Leah was less attractive than Rachel and had found no husband as yet, thus inhibiting her younger sister also from marrying (Genesis 29:26), so that both were well past the normal age for marrying (as was Jacob). Laban was afraid no suitable husband would ever be found for Leah, and so used this trick to force Jacob into marrying both. This would, he hoped, tie Jacob (a productive worker with a substantial future inheritance) permanently to Laban and his family. Leah also had come to love Jacob and, although her father's device must have been difficult and embarrassing for her, as well as for Rachel, she went along with the plan in obedience to her father.

Genesis 29:24 And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid.

Genesis 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?

Genesis 29:26 And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.

Genesis 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.

her week. Crafty Laban elicited fourteen years of free and fruitful labor from Jacob because of Jacob's unselfish love for Rachel. After Jacob had served seven years and then was forced to marry Leah first, Laban finally gave Rachel to Jacob also, for another seven years of service. However, he had only to wait seven days (Leah's festive week, in accord with custom) before receiving Rachel too. Note, incidentally, that time was being measured in weeks (even in Syria) almost 500 years before the giving of the Sabbath commandment on Mount Sinai. This is incidental testimony that the nations of the world had been (perhaps inadvertently) commemorating the literal creation week ever since the beginning.

Genesis 29:28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.

Genesis 29:29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 29:31 And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.

hated. The word is better rendered “slighted.” Jacob loved Rachel more than he loved Leah (Genesis 29:30), but he surely loved Leah, too.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 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 praise the Lord. The Lord in grace not only gave Leah (the “slighted” wife—not “hated,” as wrongly rendered in Genesis 29:31) more sons than Rachel, but one of these was Judah, who was destined to produce the kingly tribe—including David and, eventually, Christ. It is thus significant that this is the first occurrence of the word here translated “praise,” and more commonly rendered “give thanks.”