Bereshis 29

1 9 Then Ya’akov went on his journey, and came into the eretz of the bnei kedem.
2 And he looked, and hinei a be’er in the sadeh, and, hinei, there were shloshah edrei tzon lying by it; for out of that be’er they watered the edarim: and a great even (stone) was upon the mouth of the be’er.
3 And to there were all the edarim gathered: and they rolled the even (stone) from the mouth of the be’er, and watered the tzon, and put the even (stone) again upon the mouth of the be’er in its place.
4 And Ya’akov said unto them, My brethren, where are you from? And they said, Of Charan are we.
5 And he said unto them, Know ye Lavan ben Nachor? And they said, We know him.
6 And he said unto them, Is the shalom with him? And they said, Shalom; and, hinei, Rachel his bat cometh with the tzon.
7 And he said, Look, the sun is still high, neither is it time that the flock should be gathered together; water ye the tzon, and go and feed them.
8 And they said, We cannot, until all the edarim be gathered together, and till they roll the even (stone) from the mouth of the be’er; then we water the tzon.
9 And while he yet spoke with them, Rachel came with the tzon of her av; for she was a ro’ah (shepherdess).
10 And it came to pass, when Ya’akov saw Rachel bat Lavan achi immo, and the tzon of Lavan achi immo, that Ya’akov went near, and rolled the even (stone) from the mouth of the be’er, and watered the tzon of Lavan achi immo.
11 And Ya’akov kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.
12 And Ya’akov told Rachel that he was the relative of her av, and that he was ben Rivkah; and she ran and told her av.
13 And it came to pass, when Lavan heard the news of Ya’akov ben achoto, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his bais. And he told Lavan all these things.
14 And Lavan said to him, Surely thou art my etzem (bone) and my basar. And he abode with him the space of a chodesh (month).
15 And Lavan said unto Ya’akov, Because thou art my relative, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall thy maskoret (wages) be?
16 And Lavan had two banot: the shem of the elder was Leah, and the shem of the younger was Rachel.
17 Leah had weak eyes; but Rachel was yafeh and lovely in form.
18 And Ya’akov loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee sheva shanim for Rachel thy bat haketannah (younger daughter).
19 And Lavan said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another ish; abide with me.
20 And Ya’akov served sheva shanim for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few yamim, because of the ahavah he had for her.
21 And Ya’akov said unto Lavan, Give me my isha, for my yamim are completed, that I may go in unto her.
22 And Lavan gathered together all the anshei hamakom, and made a mishteh (feast).
23 And it came to pass in the erev, that he took Leah his bat, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her.
24 And Lavan gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah shifchato (his maid) for a shifchah.
25 And it came to pass, that in the boker, hinei, it was Leah! And he said to Lavan, What is this thou hast done unto me? Did not I serve with thee for Rachel? So why then hast thou deceived me?
26 And Lavan said, It must not be so done in our land, to give the younger before the bechirah.
27 Finish her shvu’a (week), and we will give thee this also for the avodah (service, work) which thou shalt do for me yet sheva shanim acherot.
28 And Ya’akov did so, and fulfilled her shvu’a; and he gave him Rachel his bat to be his isha also.
29 And Lavan gave to his bat Rachel Bilhah his shifchah to be her shifchah.
30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served him yet sheva shanim acherot.
31 And when Hashem saw that Leah was hated, He opened her womb but Rachel was barren.
32 And Leah conceived, and bore a ben, and she called shmo Reuven: for she said, Surely Hashem hath looked upon my misery; now therefore my ish will love me.
33 And she conceived again, and bore ben; and said, Because Hashem hath heard I was hated, He hath therefore given me this also; and she called shmo Shimon.
34 And she conceived again, and bore ben; and said, Now this time will my ish yillaveh (become attached) unto me, because I have born him shloshah banim: therefore was shmo called Levi.
35 And she conceived again, and bore ben; and she said, Now will odeh (I praise) Hashem; therefore she called shmo Yehudah; and stopped giving birth.

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Bereshis 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.

Bereshis 29 Commentaries