Jacob is the grandson of Abraham and introduced in the Bible story of Jacob and Esau. After 7 years of service, Jacob’s uncle Laban tricked him into marrying his eldest daughter Leah. Laban then made Jacob work a further 7 years before he could marry his youngest daughter Rachel, who had been Jacob’s first choice of his bride (Genesis 29:18-30).
Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel
Genesis 29:14-30 - 14 Then Laban said to him, “You are my own flesh and blood.” After Jacob had stayed with him for a whole month, 15 Laban said to him, “Just because you are a relative of mine, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me what your wages should be.” 16 Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel had a lovely figure and was beautiful. 18 Jacob was in love with Rachel and said, “I’ll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel.” 19 Laban said, “It’s better that I give her to you than to some other man. Stay here with me.” 20 So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her. 21 Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife. My time is completed, and I want to make love to her.” 22 So Laban brought together all the people of the place and gave a feast. 23 But when evening came, he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and Jacob made love to her. 24 And Laban gave his servant Zilpah to his daughter as her attendant. 25 When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn’t I? Why have you deceived me?” 26 Laban replied, “It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one. 27 Finish this daughter’s bridal week; then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work.” 28 And Jacob did so. He finished the week with Leah, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. 29 Laban gave his servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her attendant. 30 Jacob made love to Rachel also, and his love for Rachel was greater than his love for Leah. And he worked for Laban another seven years.
Bible Commentary on Jacob and Rachel
The following is biblical commentary from Matthew Henry:
Genesis 29:9-14 - See Rachel's humility and industry. Nobody needs to be ashamed of honest, useful labor, nor ought it to hinder any one's preferment. When Jacob understood that this was his kinswoman, he was very ready to serve her. Laban, though not the best humored, bade him welcome and was satisfied with the account Jacob gave of himself. While we avoid being foolishly ready to believe everything which is told us, we must take heed of being uncharitably suspicious.
Genesis 29:15-30 - During the month that Jacob spent as a guest, he was not idle. Wherever we are, it is good to employ ourselves in some useful business. Laban was desirous that Jacob should continue with him. Inferior relations must not be imposed upon; it is our duty to reward them. Jacob made known to Laban the affection he had for his daughter Rachel. And having no worldly goods with which to endow her, he promises seven years' service Love makes long and hard services short and easy; hence we read of the labor of love, (Hebrews 6:10). If we know how to value the happiness of heaven, the sufferings of this present time will be as nothing to us. An age of work will be but as a few days to those that love God, and long for Christ's appearing. Jacob, who had imposed upon his father, is imposed upon by Laban, his father-in-law, by a like deception. Herein, how unrighteous soever Laban was, the Lord was righteous: see (Judges 1:7). Even the righteous, if they take a false step, are sometimes thus recompensed in the earth. And many who are not, like Jacob, in their marriage, disappointed in person, soon find themselves, as much to their grief, disappointed in the character. The choice of that relation ought to be made with good advice and thought on both sides. There is reason to believe that Laban's excuse was not true. His way of settling the matter made bad worse. Jacob was drawn into the disquiet of multiplying wives. He could not refuse Rachel, for he had espoused her; still less could he refuse Leah. As yet there was no express command against marrying more than one wife. It was in the patriarchs a sin of ignorance; but it will not justify the like practice now when God's will is plainly made known by the Divine law, (Leviticus 18:18), and more fully since, by our Saviour, that one man and woman (1 Corinthians 7:2).
Read the full scripture of this Bible story below and find related articles, videos, and audio sermons for more Bible study resources.
Photo Credit: Jacob and Rachel Leaving the House of Laban by Charles-Joseph Natoire (Public Domain)