Gen 29: Jacob now begins to be victim of many troubles --
caused by lies and deceits of others -- as a reward for his own former
practices: ie, Leah for Rachel, Laban changing wages, death of Shechemites --
due to lies of Simeon and Levi, supposed death of Joseph. "The years of my
pilgrimage are 130. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal
the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers" (Gen 47:9).
NAHOR'S GRANDSON: AV has "son of Nahor", incorrectly.
WE CAN'T... UNTIL ALL THE FLOCKS ARE GATHERED: Typ:
"Israel has experienced hardness of heart until the full number of the Gentiles
has come in" (Rom 11:25).
AND THE STONE HAS BEEN ROLLED AWAY: Typ: the great
stone rolled away from the mouth of the sepulchre, and then...
THEN WE WILL WATER THE SHEEP: Typ: ...then the "sheep"
will receive the water of life!
Jacob, in haste again, rolled away a stone which two or three
men usually moved (Eder 124).
RELATIVE: "Brother" in AV, but correctly
HE HURRIED TO MEET HIM: Laban's eagerness is explained
by the fact that he remembered the wealth of Jacob's grandfather Abraham (Gen
"In order to show Jacob just exactly what his character was
like, God took him and placed him under the servitude of the one man who was
most like himself: Laban! In Laban, Jacob found everything that he hated in
himself -- and the express character of his own person. God used Laban as the
mirror for Jacob's soul, and showed Jacob what was within him. Jacob had to
learn what it was like to live under the bondage of sin and deceit, for in
yielding his members servants to unrighteousness, and to iniquity unto iniquity,
Jacob made himself a servant of unrighteousness, a servant of sin. [Rom 6]
"The only wage which Jacob was earning from Laban was death --
it took him years to learn that in order to live (and partake of the promises
made to his fathers), he would have to leave Laban, and turn from his previous
way of life. The Jacob of those bad old days became an absolute proverb to the
children of Israel, and once a year at the festival of the firstfruits they had
to come before their God and refer to themselves, NOT as sons of Abraham, but as
sons of Jacob -- 'a Syrian, ready to perish' [or 'a wandering Aramean': Deu
26:5]. By being tried in the fiery furnace of Syria, Jacob lived with Laban
until he 'hated' him. That moment at which Jacob hated Laban was the moment at
which he no longer identified with him, for it was the moment when Jacob himself
"The main problem with Jacob's life is that we condemn all his
tricks and deceptions, even while we defend them in our own lives. Perhaps we
need to be put into bondage to a Laban" (JB).
Laban, after one month (v 14), realizes that Jacob has no
wealth, and so he moves to put him on a wage-earner's status.
LEAH HAD WEAK EYES: "Leah was tender eyed" (AV).
Gentle, amiable, patient. She is the more righteous wife. Notice that finally
Jacob asks to be buried at Machpelah, with Leah (Gen 49:31), while Rachel was
buried "in the way" (Gen 35:19). From Leah comes Judah (the kings) and Levi (the
priests). Leah's naming of sons shows her reverence for God (GVG, Ber
"If I had a little sister,
Rachel with sparkling eyes,
wooed for seven years and loved by him,
I'd swathe myself in her mantle,
enwrap myself in her night...
One single night! Rachel,
to taste his tender touch till day unmasks.
One single night, till dawn.
You will be loved another seven years and more.
Red are my eyes and filled with tears, Rachel.
His glances never follow me.
But I shall bear his sons,
Oh, yes, Rachel!
and bear the harrowing memory of one night.
One night when I was you, Rachel,
and Leah sat inside her tent and wept"
(Eva Avi-Yonah) (BR 2:1:59).
By outward appearance, this is only due to the deception
practiced by Laban. But God's providence is the real force, to provide Jacob
with the godly wife Leah. Cp also similar deceptions by Jacob himself upon
Isaac. "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on,
however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have
been trained by it" (Heb 12:11).
IN THE MORNING, THERE WAS LEAH!: "Many men are
afterward surprised by the women they married!"
Rachel = natural Israel, first loved, but only espoused to her
"husband" after her less-favored sister.
IT IS NOT OUR CUSTOM TO GIVE THE YOUNGER... BEFORE THE
OLDER: A reference to Jacob's claim to birthright: 'It may be all very well
in your country for the younger to supplant the older, but HERE we do things
differently!' (Xd 103:502).
God's lesson for Jacob was: 'Leah is your wife, Jacob, and as
such deserves at least as much love, attention, and respect as you are giving to
Rachel.' Cp Deu 21:15-17. Also, although Jacob's attitude toward Leah sounds
severe in v 31 because of the word "hated", v 30 clarifies this by stating that
Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah. So apparently "hate" sometimes in Scripture
does not have the terribly harsh meaning of today, but instead, in cases like
this, means "to love less". Cp Luk 14:26.
THIS TIME I WILL PRAISE THE LORD: Leah seems to give up
hoping to please Jacob; now she turns her heart toward God. Poss she had finally
learned to be content in whatever state she finds herself. Perh now it is high
time to thank God for what He has given her; thus the naming of the fourth son
Judah ("praise"). If this were her attitude, it doesn't last long, though, for
soon she is giving her own handmaid to Jacob in response to Rachel's giving of
hers, and even going so far as to hire him to lie with her (Gen