Genesis 29

1 Therefore Jacob passed forth, and came into the east land;
2 and he saw a well in the field, and three flocks of sheep resting beside it, for why (the) sheep were watered thereof, and the mouth thereof was closed with a great stone.
3 And the custom was that when all the sheep were gathered together, they should turn away the stone, and when the flocks were watered, they should put it (back) again on the mouth of the well.
4 And Jacob said to the shepherds, Brethren, of whence be ye? Which answered, Of Haran (And they answered, We come from Haran).
5 And he asked them and said, Whether ye know Laban, the son of Nahor? (And) They said, We know him.
6 Jacob said, Is he whole? (Jacob asked, Is he well?) (And) They said, He is in (a) good state; and lo! Rachel, his daughter, cometh with his flock.
7 And Jacob said, Yet much of the day is to come, and it is not (the) time that the flocks be led again to the folds; soothly give ye drink to the sheep, and so lead ye them again to meat (and then take ye them back to the pasture).
8 Which answered, We may not till all the sheep be gathered together, and till we remove the stone from the mouth of the well, to water the flocks (then we shall water the flocks).
9 Yet (while) they spake, and lo! Rachel came with the sheep of her father.
10 And when Jacob saw her, and knew (her to be) the daughter of (Laban,) his mother's brother, and the sheep (to be) of Laban his uncle, he removed the stone with which the well was closed; and when the flock was watered,
11 he kissed her, and he wept with voice raised (and with his voice raised up, he wept for joy).
12 And Jacob showed to her that he was the brother of her father, and the son of Rebecca; and she hasted, and told to her father. (And Jacob told her that he was her father's kinsman, and Rebecca's son; and she hastened home, and told her father.)
13 And when he had heard, that Jacob, the son of his sister, came, he ran to meet him, and he embraced Jacob, and kissed him, and led him into his house. Forsooth when the causes of the journey were heard,
14 Laban answered, Thou art my bone and my flesh. And after that the days of a month were filled,
15 Laban said to Jacob, Whether for thou art my brother, thou shalt serve me freely? say thou what meed thou shalt take. (Laban said to Jacob, Though thou art my kinsman, shalt thou serve me for nothing? Nay! say what reward thou shalt take.)
16 Forsooth Laban had two daughters, the name of the elder was Leah, soothly the younger was called Rachel;
17 but Leah was bleary-eyed, and Rachel was of fair face, and lovely in sight. (and Leah was blurry-eyed, but Rachel had a beautiful face, and was lovely to look at.)
18 And Jacob loved Rachel, and (so he) said, I shall serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.
19 Laban answered, It is better that I give her to thee than to another man; dwell thou with me.
20 Therefore Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and the days seemed few to him for the greatness of (his) love.
21 And (at last) he said to Laban, Give thou my wife to me, for the time is fulfilled that I enter [in] to her.
22 And (so) when many companies of friends were called to the feast, he made [the] weddings,
23 and in the eventide Laban brought in to him Leah his daughter, (but in the evening, Laban brought in his daughter Leah to Jacob, but Jacob was too drunk to know,)
24 and gave an handmaid (and Laban gave his slave-girl), Zilpah by name, to his daughter.
25 And when Jacob had entered [in] to her (as) by custom, when the morrowtide was made, he saw Leah, and he said to his wife's father, What is it that thou wouldest do? whether I served not thee for Rachel? why hast thou deceived me? (And after Jacob had slept with his wife, as by custom, when the morning was made, he saw that it was Leah, and he said to his wife's father, What hast thou done to me? did I not serve thee for Rachel? why hast thou deceived me?)
26 Laban answered, It is not custom in our place that we give first the younger daughter to weddings; (And Laban answered, It is not the custom in our place that we give the younger daughter first in a wedding;)
27 fulfill thou the week of days of this wedding, and I shall give to thee also this Rachel, for the work in which thou shalt serve me by other seven years. (so fulfill thou a week of days, or seven days, for this wedding, and then I shall also give thee Rachel, for the work in which thou shalt serve me for another seven years.)
28 Jacob assented to the covenant, and when the week was passed, he wedded Rachel,
29 to whom her father had given Bilhah (for) an handmaid. (to whom her father had given his slave-girl Bilhah.)
30 And at the last Jacob used the weddings desired, and set the love of the latter wife before the first; and Jacob served Laban seven other years. (And so at last Jacob had the desired wedding, and put the love of the latter wife ahead of the first wife; and Jacob served Laban for another seven years.)
31 Forsooth the Lord saw that Jacob despised Leah, that is, (that he) loved her less than Rachel, and (so) he opened Leah's womb, while her sister dwelled barren.
32 And Leah childed a son conceived (And Leah conceived, and bare a son), and she called his name Reuben, and said, The Lord hath seen my meekness; now mine husband shall love me.
33 And again she conceived, and childed a son, and said, For the Lord saw that I was despised, he gave also this son to me (he also gave me this son); and she called his name Simeon.
34 And she conceived the third time, and childed another son, and she said also (and then she said), Now mine husband shall be coupled to me, for I have childed three sons to him; and therefore she called his name Levi.
35 The fourth time she conceived, and childed a son, and said, Now I shall acknowledge to the Lord; and therefore she called his name Judah; and ceased to child. (And the fourth time she conceived, and bare a son, she said, Now I shall praise the Lord; and so she called his name Judah; and ceased to bear any more children.)

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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


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