Genesis 29

Listen to Genesis 29

Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel

1 Then Jacob went on his journey and came to 1the land of the people of the east.
2 As he looked, he saw a well in the field, and behold, three flocks of sheep lying beside it, for out of that well the flocks were watered. The stone on the well's mouth was large,
3 and when all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone from the mouth of the well and water the sheep, and put the stone back in its place over the mouth of the well.
4 Jacob said to them, "My brothers, where do you come from?" They said, 2"We are from Haran."
5 He said to them, "Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?" They said, "We know him."
6 He said to them, "Is it well with him?" They said, "It is well; and see, Rachel his daughter is coming with the sheep!"
7 He said, "Behold, it is still high day; it is not time for the livestock to be gathered together. Water the sheep and go, pasture them."
8 But they said, "We cannot until all the flocks are gathered together and the stone is rolled from the mouth of the well; then we water the sheep."
9 While he was still speaking with them, 3Rachel came with her father's sheep, for she was a shepherdess.
10 Now 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.
11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel and wept aloud.
12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was 4her father's kinsman, and that he was Rebekah's son, 5and she ran and told her father.
13 As soon as Laban heard the news about Jacob, his sister's son, 6he ran to meet him and embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his house. Jacob told Laban all these things,
14 and Laban said to him, 7"Surely you are my bone and my flesh!" And he stayed with him a month.
15 Then Laban said to Jacob, "Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?"
16 Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.
17 Leah's eyes were weak,[a] but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance.
18 Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, 8"I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel."
19 Laban said, "It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me."
20 So Jacob 9served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.
21 Then Jacob said to Laban, "Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed."
22 So Laban gathered together all the people of the place and 10made a feast.
23 But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he went in to her.
24 (Laban gave[b]11his female servant Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her servant.)
25 And in the morning, behold, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, "What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?"
26 Laban said, "It is not so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.
27 12Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years."
28 Jacob did so, and completed her week. Then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife.
29 (Laban gave 13his female servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her servant.)
30 So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and served Laban 14for another seven years.

Jacob's Children

31 When the LORD saw that Leah was 15hated, 16he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.
32 And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben,[c] for she said, "Because the LORD 17has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me."
33 She conceived again and bore a son, and said, "Because the LORD has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also." And she called his name Simeon.[d]
34 Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, "Now this time my husband will be 18attached to me, because I have borne him three sons." Therefore his name was called Levi.[e]
35 And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, "This time I will praise the LORD." Therefore she called his name 19Judah.[f] Then she ceased bearing.

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.

Cross References 19

  • 1. Numbers 23:7; Judges 6:3
  • 2. Genesis 27:43
  • 3. Exodus 2:16, 17
  • 4. Genesis 13:8; Genesis 14:14, 16
  • 5. [Genesis 24:28, 29]
  • 6. [See ver. 12 above]
  • 7. Genesis 2:23; Genesis 37:27; Judges 9:2; 2 Samuel 5:1; 2 Samuel 19:12, 13; 1 Chronicles 11:1
  • 8. Genesis 30:26; Genesis 31:41; [Hosea 12:12]
  • 9. [See ver. 18 above]
  • 10. Judges 14:10; [John 2:1, 2]
  • 11. See Genesis 30:9-12
  • 12. [Judges 14:12]
  • 13. See Genesis 30:3-7
  • 14. ver. 20; Genesis 31:41
  • 15. Deuteronomy 21:15
  • 16. [Genesis 30:22]
  • 17. Genesis 31:42; Exodus 3:7; Exodus 4:31; Deuteronomy 26:7
  • 18. [Numbers 18:2, 4]
  • 19. Matthew 1:2; [Genesis 49:8]

Footnotes 6

  • [a]. Or soft
  • [b]. Or had given; also verse 29
  • [c]. Reuben means See, a son
  • [d]. Simeon sounds like the Hebrew for heard
  • [e]. Levi sounds like the Hebrew for attached
  • [f]. Judah sounds like the Hebrew for praise

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