(Gen 29:1 NASB) Then Jacob went on his journey, and came to the land of the sons of the east.
Gen 29:1: The term “went on his journey” could also be translated “lifted his feet.” This is the only place in Scripture it is used. It could refer to how easily his journey was after his encounter with Elohim in his dream.
(Gen 29:2 NASB) And he looked, and saw a well in the field, and behold, three flocks of sheep were lying there beside it, for from that well they watered the flocks. Now the stone on the mouth of the well was large.
(Gen 29:3 NASB) When all the flocks were gathered there, they would then roll the stone from the mouth of the well, and water the sheep, and put the stone back in its place on the mouth of the well.
Gen 29:3: The stone restricted the use of the well for an exclusive group. Outsiders were required to pay for water. At the same time, this protected the well from dust, filth and prevented someone from accidentally falling in.
(Gen 29:4 NASB) And Jacob said to them, “My brothers, where are you from?” And they said, “We are from Haran.”
(Gen 29:5 NASB) And he said to them, “Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?” And they said, “We know him.”
(Gen 29:6 NASB) And he said to them, “Is it well with him?” And they said, “It is well, and behold, Rachel his daughter is coming with the sheep.”
Gen 29:6: Laban was actually the grandson of Nahor. Bethuel was his father. However, this is common usage in Hebrew tradition. This also explains the supposed “gaps” in genealogies when doing comparisons. Grandfathers and great-grandfathers were often referred to as “fathers” in Scripture. Yeshua is often referred to as “son of David” although many generations separated them.
One “skeptic” has argued that this explanation does not explain the gaps in genealogies because the argument with Yeshua being the “son of David” is an obvious reference to a long lineage connection to David and it was well known that He was not David’s son directly. This skeptic attempted to say that grandfathers and great-grandfathers would be referred to as such. The “skeptic” did not realize three things:
- This example of Laban being referred to as a “son of Nahor” (and many other examples such as this in Scripture) and;
- There is no word in the Hebrew for “grandfather” or “great-grandfather.” The Hebrew word used is “ab” which is the word for “father.”
- Scripture was written according to the Hebrew culture. We need to remove our modern Greek glasses and look at Scripture as a Hebrew document.
(Gen 29:7 NASB) And he said, “Behold, it is still high day; it is not time for the livestock to be gathered. Water the sheep, and go, pasture them.”
(Gen 29:8 NASB) But they said, “We cannot, until all the flocks are gathered, and they roll the stone from the mouth of the well; then we water the sheep.”
(Gen 29:9 NASB) While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess.
Gen 29:9: It would appear that Jacob is telling the shepherds to water their sheep and leave. He probably wants to chat with the babe shepherdess that was walking his way.
(Gen 29:10 NASB) And it came about, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went up, and rolled the stone from the mouth of the well, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother.
(Gen 29:11 NASB) Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted his voice and wept.
(Gen 29:12 NASB) And Jacob told Rachel that he was a relative of her father and that he was Rebekah’s son, and she ran and told her father.
Gen 29:12: Jacob didn’t waste any time. He was smitten. This was undoubtedly a friendly kiss and not an intimate one. He was greeting her as a relative.
It is good to keep in mind that Laban is going to kiss him in greeting him also.
It was not unusual for a girl to be a shepherd. Especially if the father had no sons as is the case with Laban. It is also no coincidence that “Rachel” means “ewe lamb.”
(Gen 29:13 NASB) So it came about, when Laban heard the news of Jacob his sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him and kissed him, and brought him to his house. Then he related to Laban all these things.
Gen 29:13: Laban already knew of Jacob’s family and their wealth when he met the servant of Abraham.
It is doubtful that Jacob told Laban “everything.” He probably told him of leaving to find a wife and about his dream.
(Gen 29:14 NASB) And Laban said to him, “Surely you are my bone and my flesh.” And he stayed with him a month.
(Gen 29:15 NASB) Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my relative, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?”
Gen 29:15: Laban acknowledged that Jacob was family and welcomed him as such. But after he was there a while, he wanted to pay Jacob for his work he was doing for him.
(Gen 29:16 NASB) Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.
(Gen 29:17 NASB) And Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful of form and face.
(Gen 29:18 NASB) Now Jacob loved Rachel, so he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.”
Gen 29:18: It is uncertain what the name “Leah” means. It is thought to mean “cow” or “strong woman.” (thanks mom and dad…) It says her eyes were “weak” or “lacking in luster.”
Rachel, on the other hand, was very beautiful and was really stacked (that’s what it says..).
Jacob did not have much with him. He could not go back and get it yet either. He would not inherit his birthright until the death of his father. But he knew the needs of Laban. Laban needs help around the farm. He offers his labor for seven years for Rachel.
(Gen 29:19 NASB) And Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to another man; stay with me.”
(Gen 29:20 NASB) So Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her.
Gen 29:20: He was deeply in love with Rachel. The seven years of labor seemed like only a few days.
(Gen 29:21 NASB) Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my time is completed, that I may go in to her.”
Gen 29:21: Jacob was ready to get married. The Scripture says it like it is.
(Gen 29:22 NASB) And Laban gathered all the men of the place, and made a feast.
(Gen 29:23 NASB) Now it came about in the evening that he took his daughter Leah, and brought her to him; and Jacob went in to her.
Gen 29:23: Laban made a big feast. Since Laban got away with swapping girls, it is likely that the wine was flowing freely for this celebration.
The name Jacob means “deceiver.” The deceiver was deceived. This harkens back to Torah once again (Num. 32:23). Jacobs tricky ways have found him out.
(Gen 29:24 NASB) Laban also gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah as a maid.
(Gen 29:25 NASB) So it came about in the morning that, behold, it was Leah! And he said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served with you? Why then have you deceived me?”
(Gen 29:26 NASB) But Laban said, “It is not the practice in our place, to marry off the younger before the first-born.
Gen 29:26: Laban tried to make his deception look like tradition that everyone should know about. His deception worked well for his own benefit.
(Gen 29:27 NASB) “Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also for the service which you shall serve with me for another seven years.”
(Gen 29:28 NASB) And Jacob did so and completed her week, and he gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife.
(Gen 29:29 NASB) Laban also gave his maid Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her maid.
Gen 29:29: It was customary to give a maid to a daughter as a wedding gift.
(Gen 29:30 NASB) So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and indeed he loved Rachel more than Leah, and he served with Laban for another seven years.
Gen 29:30: There are many problems that came from this polygamous relationship. Polygamy is not against Torah, but it is not specifically called for in any particular case.
(Gen 29:31 NASB) Now the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, and He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.
(Gen 29:32 NASB) And Leah conceived and bore a son and named him Reuben, for she said, “Because the LORD has seen my affliction; surely now my husband will love me.”
(Gen 29:33 NASB) Then she conceived again and bore a son and said, “Because the LORD has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.” So she named him Simeon.
Gen 29:33: “Reuben” means “Look, a son.” “Simeon” means “hearing.” Simeon came because Elohim heard Leah’s prayer.
(Gen 29:34 NASB) And she conceived again and bore a son and said, “Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore he was named Levi.
Gen 29:34: “Levi” means “attachment.” Leah was confident that bearing three sons would assure his attachment to her.
(Gen 29:35 NASB) And she conceived again and bore a son and said, “This time I will praise the LORD.” Therefore she named him Judah. Then she stopped bearing.
Gen 29:35: Judah means “praise.” This is the royal line and the one that Yeshua comes from.
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas