Genesis 29

1 Continuing his journey, Ya'akov came to the land of the people of the east.
2 As he looked, he saw a well in a field; and there were three flocks of sheep lying there next to it; because they watered the sheep from that well. The stone on the well's mouth was large,
3 and only when all the flocks had gathered there would they roll the stone away from the opening of the well and water the sheep. Then they would put the stone back in its place on the well's opening.
4 Ya'akov said to them, "My brothers, where are you from?" They answered, "We're from Haran."
5 He asked them, "Do you know Lavan the [grand]son of Nachor?" They said, "We do."
6 He asked them, "Are things going well with him?""Yes," they answered, "and here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep."
7 He said, "Look, there's still plenty of daylight left; and it isn't time to bring the animals home; so water the sheep; then go, and put them out to pasture."
8 They answered, "We can't, not until all the flocks have been gathered together, and they roll the stone away from the opening of the well. That's when we water the sheep."
9 While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep, because she took care of them.
10 When Ya'akov saw Rachel the daughter of Lavan his mother's brother, and the sheep of Lavan his mother's brother, Ya'akov went up and rolled the stone away from the opening of the well and watered the flock of Lavan his mother's brother.
11 Ya'akov kissed Rachel and wept aloud.
12 Ya'akov told Rachel that he was her father's relative, and that he was Rivkah's son; and she ran and told her father.
13 When Lavan heard the news of Ya'akov his sister's son, he ran to meet him, hugged him and kissed him, and brought him to his house. Ya'akov told Lavan all that had happened.
14 Lavan said to him, "You are indeed my own flesh and blood." After Ya'akov had stayed with him for a whole month,
15 Lavan said to him, "Why should you work for me for nothing, just because you are my relative? Tell me how much I should pay you."
16 Now Lavan had two daughters; the name of the older was Le'ah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.
17 Le'ah's eyes were weak; but Rachel was good-looking, with beautiful features.
18 Ya'akov had fallen in love with Rachel and said, "I will work for you seven years in exchange for Rachel your younger daughter."
19 Lavan answered, "Better that I give her to you than to someone else; stay with me."
20 So Ya'akov worked seven years for Rachel, and it seemed only a few days to him, because he was so much in love with her.
21 Ya'akov said to Lavan, "Give me my wife, since my time is finished, so that I can start living with her."
22 Lavan gathered all the men of the place and gave a banquet.
23 In the evening he took Le'ah his daughter and brought her to Ya'akov, and he went in and slept with her.
24 Lavan also gave his slave-girl Zilpah to his daughter Le'ah as her slave-girl.
25 In the morning Ya'akov saw that he was with Le'ah, and he said to Lavan, "What kind of thing is this that you've done to me? Didn't I work for you for Rachel? Why have you deceived me?"
26 Lavan answered, "In our place that isn't how it's done, to give the younger daughter before the firstborn.
27 Finish the marriage week of this one, and we'll give you the other one also in exchange for the work you will do for me during yet another seven years."
28 Ya'akov agreed to this, so he finished her week, and Lavan gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife.
29 Lavan also gave to his daughter Rachel his slave-girl Bilhah as her slave-girl.
30 So not only did Ya'akov go in and sleep with Rachel, but he also loved Rachel more than Le'ah. Then he served Lavan another seven years.
31 ADONAI saw that Le'ah was unloved, so he made her fertile, while Rachel remained childless.
32 Le'ah conceived and gave birth to a son, whom she named Re'uven [see, a son!], for she said, "It is because ADONAI has seen how humiliated I have been, but now my husband will love me."
33 She conceived again, gave birth to a son and said, "It is because ADONAI has heard that I am unloved; therefore he has given me this son also." So she named him Shim'on [hearing].
34 Once more she conceived and had a son; and she said, "Now this time my husband will be joined to me, because I have borne him three sons." Therefore she named him Levi [joining].
35 She conceived yet again, had a son and said, "This time I will praise ADONAI"; therefore she named him Y'hudah [praise]. Then she stopped having children.

Images for Genesis 29

Genesis 29 Commentary

Chapter 29

Jacob comes to the well of Haran. (1-8) His interview with Rachel, Laban entertains him. (9-14) Jacob's covenant for Rachel, Laban's deceit. (15-30) Leah's sons. (31-35)

Verses 1-8 Jacob proceeded cheerfully in his journey, after the sweet communion he had with God at Beth-el. Providence brought him to the field where his uncle's flocks were to be watered. What is said of the care of the shepherds for their sheep, may remind us of the tender concern which our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, has for his flock the church; for he is the good Shepherd, that knows his sheep, and is known of them. The stone at the well's mouth was to secure it; water was scarce, it was not there for every one's use: but separate interests should not take us from helping one another. When all the shepherds came together with their flocks, then, like loving neighbours, they watered their flocks together. The law of kindness in the tongue has a commanding power, ( Proverbs 31:26 ) . Jacob was civil to these strangers, and he found them civil to him.

Verses 9-14 See Rachel's humility and industry. Nobody needs to be ashamed of honest, useful labour, 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 humoured, bade him welcome, and was satisfied with the account Jacob gave of himself. While we avoid being foolishly ready to believe every thing which is told us, we must take heed of being uncharitably suspicious.

Verses 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 wordly 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 labour 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 )

Verses 31-35 The names Leah gave her children, expressed her respect and regard, both to God and to her husband. Reuben, or See a son, with this thought, Now will my husband love me; Levi, or joined, expecting, Now will my husband be joined unto me. Mutual affection is both the duty and comfort of the married relation; and yoke-fellows should study to recommend themselves to each ( 1 Corinthians. 7:33 1 Corinthians. 7:34 ) providence of God in hearing her. Whatever supports and comforts us under afflictions, or tends to our deliverance from them, God must be owned in it. Her fourth son she called Judah, or praise, saying, Now will I praise the Lord. This was he, of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came. Whatever is the matter of our rejoicing, ought to be the matter of our thanksgiving. Fresh favours should quicken us to praise God for former favours; Now will I praise the Lord more and better than I have done. All our praises must centre in Christ, both as the matter of them, and as the Mediator of them. He descended after the flesh from him whose name was "Praise," and He is our praise. Is Christ formed in my heart? Now will I praise the Lord.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO GENESIS 29

This chapter informs us of Jacob's coming to a well near Haran, where meeting with some shepherds he inquires after Laban, Ge 29:1-8; and there also with Rachel his daughter, the shepherds made known to him, and acquainted her who he was, Ge 29:9-12; upon which she ran to her father, and told him who was at the well, who went forth and brought him to his house, and kindly entertained him, Ge 29:13,14; with whom he agreed to stay and serve seven years for Rachel his daughter, Ge 29:15-20; at the end of which Jacob demands his wife, but instead of Rachel, Leah was brought to him as his wife, Ge 29:21-25; which being discovered, and complained of, it was proposed he should have Rachel also, provided he would serve yet seven years more, to which he agreed, Ge 29:26-30; and the chapter is concluded with an account of four sons being born to Jacob of Leah, Ge 29:31-35.

Genesis 29 Commentaries