Genesis 29

Jacob Arrives in Paddan Aram

1 Then Jacob continued on his journey and came to the land of the eastern peoples.
2 There he saw a well in the open country, with three flocks of sheep lying near it because the flocks were watered from that well. The stone over the mouth of the well was large.
3 When all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone away from the well’s mouth and water the sheep. Then they would return the stone to its place over the mouth of the well.
4 Jacob asked the shepherds, “My brothers, where are you from?” “We’re from Harran,” they replied.
5 He said to them, “Do you know Laban, Nahor’s grandson?” “Yes, we know him,” they answered.
6 Then Jacob asked them, “Is he well?” “Yes, he is,” they said, “and here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep.”
7 “Look,” he said, “the sun is still high; it is not time for the flocks to be gathered. Water the sheep and take them back to pasture.”
8 “We can’t,” they replied, “until all the flocks are gathered and the stone has been rolled away from the mouth of the well. Then we will water the sheep.”
9 While he was still talking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherd.
10 When Jacob saw Rachel daughter of his uncle Laban, and Laban’s sheep, he went over and rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well and watered his uncle’s sheep.
11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel and began to weep aloud.
12 He had told Rachel that he was a relative of her father and a son of Rebekah. So she ran and told her father.
13 As soon as Laban heard the news about Jacob, his sister’s son, he hurried to meet him. He embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his home, and there Jacob told him all these things.
Then Laban said to him, “You are my own flesh and blood.”

Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel

14 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[a] 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.

Jacob’s Children

31 When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless.
32 Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben,[b] for she said, “It is because the LORD has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.”
33 She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Because the LORD heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.” So she named him Simeon.[c]
34 Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” So he was named Levi.[d]
35 She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the LORD.” So she named him Judah.[e] 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.

Cross References 61

  • 1. S Genesis 25:6; Judges 6:3,33
  • 2. S Genesis 24:11
  • 3. ver 3,8,10
  • 4. S ver 2
  • 5. ver 8
  • 6. Genesis 42:7; Judges 19:17
  • 7. S Genesis 11:31; Genesis 28:10
  • 8. S Genesis 11:29
  • 9. Genesis 30:22-24; Genesis 35:16; Genesis 46:19,22
  • 10. Exodus 2:16
  • 11. S ver 2
  • 12. S Genesis 24:13
  • 13. Exodus 2:16
  • 14. ver 16
  • 15. S ver 2
  • 16. S Genesis 24:11
  • 17. ver 3; Exodus 2:17
  • 18. ver 13
  • 19. Genesis 33:4; Genesis 42:24; Genesis 43:30; Genesis 45:2,14-15; Genesis 46:29; Genesis 50:1,17; Ruth 1:9
  • 20. ver 15; Genesis 13:8; Genesis 14:14,16
  • 21. S Genesis 24:29
  • 22. Genesis 24:28
  • 23. S Genesis 24:29
  • 24. Genesis 33:4; Genesis 45:14-15,14; Genesis 48:10; Exodus 4:27; Exodus 18:7; Luke 15:20
  • 25. Genesis 2:23; Genesis 37:27; Judges 9:2; 2 Samuel 5:1; 2 Samuel 19:12-13; 2 Samuel 20:1; Nehemiah 5:5; Isaiah 58:7
  • 26. ver 12
  • 27. Genesis 30:28,32; Genesis 31:7,41
  • 28. ver 17,23,28,30; Genesis 30:9; Genesis 35:23; Genesis 47:30; Genesis 49:31; Ruth 4:11
  • 29. ver 9-10
  • 30. S ver 16
  • 31. S Genesis 12:11
  • 32. S Genesis 24:67
  • 33. ver 20,27,30; Genesis 30:26; Hosea 12:12
  • 34. S ver 18; Genesis 31:15
  • 35. Song of Songs 8:7; Hosea 12:12
  • 36. Judges 15:1
  • 37. Judges 14:10; Isaiah 25:6; John 2:1-2
  • 38. S ver 16
  • 39. Genesis 30:9
  • 40. S Genesis 16:1
  • 41. S Genesis 12:18
  • 42. S Genesis 27:36
  • 43. Judges 15:2; 1 Samuel 14:49; 1 Samuel 18:17,20; 2 Samuel 6:23
  • 44. Judges 14:12
  • 45. S ver 18; Genesis 31:41
  • 46. S ver 16; S Genesis 4:19
  • 47. Genesis 30:3; Genesis 35:22; Genesis 49:4; Deuteronomy 22:30; 1 Chronicles 5:1
  • 48. S Genesis 16:1
  • 49. S ver 16
  • 50. S ver 20; Genesis 31:41
  • 51. ver 33; Deuteronomy 21:15-17
  • 52. S Genesis 11:30; Genesis 30:1; S Genesis 16:2; Ruth 4:13; 1 Samuel 1:19; Psalms 127:3
  • 53. Genesis 30:23; Ruth 4:13; 1 Samuel 1:20
  • 54. Genesis 37:21; Genesis 46:8; Genesis 48:5,14; Genesis 49:3; Exodus 6:14; Numbers 1:5,20; Numbers 26:5; Deuteronomy 33:6; Joshua 4:12; 1 Chronicles 5:1,3
  • 55. S Genesis 16:11; Genesis 31:42; Exodus 4:31; Deuteronomy 26:7; Psalms 25:18
  • 56. S ver 31
  • 57. Genesis 34:25; Genesis 46:10; Genesis 48:5; Genesis 49:5; Exodus 6:15; Numbers 1:6,22; Numbers 34:20; 1 Chronicles 4:24; Ezekiel 48:24
  • 58. Genesis 30:20; 1 Samuel 1:2-4
  • 59. Genesis 34:25; Genesis 46:11; Genesis 49:5-7; Exodus 2:1; Exodus 6:16,19; Numbers 1:47; Numbers 3:17-20; Numbers 26:57; Deuteronomy 33:8; 1 Chronicles 6:1,16; 1 Chronicles 23:6-24,13-14
  • 60. Genesis 35:23; Genesis 37:26; Genesis 38:1; Genesis 43:8; 1 Chronicles 4:14,18">41 Chronicles 4:14,18; Genesis 46:12; Genesis 49:8; 1 Chronicles 2:3; 1 Chronicles 4:1; Isaiah 48:1; Matthew 1:2-3
  • 61. Genesis 30:9

Footnotes 5

  • [a]. Or "delicate"
  • [b]. "Reuben" sounds like the Hebrew for "he has seen my misery" ; the name means "see, a son" .
  • [c]. "Simeon" probably means "one who hears."
  • [d]. "Levi" sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew for "attached."
  • [e]. "Judah" sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew for "praise."

Chapter Summary


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

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