We will begin this lesson with Genesis 29:1 “Then Jacob went on his
journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.”
Genesis 29:2 “And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and,
lo, there [were] three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that
well they watered the flocks: and a great stone [was] upon the well’s
Genesis 29:3 “And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they
rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the sheep, and put
the stone again upon the well’s mouth in his place.”
In this dry barren land, the gathering place was at the well of
water. The well was a valuable commodity. The sheep would die without
the water. They were careful to put the stone back to keep filth from
filtering into the well.
Genesis 29:4 “And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence [be]
ye? And they said, Of Haran [are] we.”
Genesis 29:5 “And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of
Nahor? And they said, We know [him].”
Jacob had found the right place and his mother’s people, as well.
God had truly been with him.
Genesis 29:6 “And he said unto them, [Is] he well? And they said,
[He is] well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.”
This was Jacob’s first glimpse of Rachel. Rachel herded the family’s
Genesis 29:7 “And he said, Lo, [it is] yet high day, neither [is
it] time that the cattle should be gathered together: water ye the
sheep, and go [and] feed [them].”
Genesis 29:8 “And they said, We cannot, until all the flocks be
gathered together, and [till] they roll the stone from the well’s
mouth; then we water the sheep.”
It seems at a certain time of day, they rolled back the stone
and everyone watered their stock at that time. This seemed to be about
noontime when she came, and watering time, was usually much later in
Genesis 29:9 “And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with
her father’s sheep: for she kept them.”
Genesis 29:10 “And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the
daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his
mother’s brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the
well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother.”
Genesis 29:11 “And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice,
Jacob, suddenly, became the gentleman of the hour, and rolled back
the stone, and watered the sheep for Rachel. He even kissed her. He was
so happy, that he wept.
Genesis 29:12 “And Jacob told Rachel that he [was] her father’s
brother, and that he [was] Rebekah’s son: and she ran and told her
This statement did not mean that Jacob was Laban’s brother, it
meant, near kinsman. He was actually Laban’s nephew. This was the only
account of any contact between Rebekah and her family, since she left
since she left to marry Isaac. The excitement had to be great.
Genesis 29:13 “And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings
of Jacob his sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him,
and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all
There was a great deal of catching up to do. Laban was excited to
hear from his sister. He was anxious to meet her son. He showed great
emotion by running to meet him, hugging him, kissing him, and taking
him home with him.
Genesis 29:14 “And Laban said to him, Surely thou [art] my bone
and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month.”
Genesis 29:15 “And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou [art] my
brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what
[shall] thy wages [be]?”
From this Scripture, above, it seems Jacob had been working and
helping Laban, his uncle. Laban realized he cannot work forever
without wages, and asked Jacob what he would work for.
Genesis 29:16 “And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder
[was] Leah, and the name of the younger [was] Rachel.”
“Leah” means weary. “Rachel” mean ewe, a female sheep.
Genesis 29:17 “Leah [was] tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful
and well favoured.”
Genesis 29:18 “And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve
thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.”
Jacob had found what he wanted. This beautiful girl had won his
heart. We know, of course, “seven” means spiritually complete.
Genesis 29:19 “And Laban said, [It is] better that I give her to
thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me.”
Laban struck a deal with Jacob. Laban did not want Jacob to
leave. He said he prefered for her to marry Jacob over any other man.
It was, also, the custom for the father to choose the groom for his daughter.
It also is a custom of the groom to pay the father.
Genesis 29:20 “And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they
seemed unto him [but] a few days, for the love he had to her.”
Genesis 29:21 “And Jacob said unto Laban, Give [me] my wife, for
my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her.”
Jacob’s love for Rachel is great. He fulfilled his agreement with
Laban. Now, he wanted his wife. Seven years is a long time to wait
for someone you love.
Genesis 29:22 “And Laban gathered together all the men of the
place, and made a feast.”
Genesis 29:23 “And it came to pass in the evening, that he took
Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her.”
Jacob, the trickster, had been tricked himself. Whatever we reap
we sow. This was not Rachel, but Leah who was brought to him. He was
unaware of the change of girls. Jacob slept with Leah.
Genesis 29:24 “And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his
maid [for] an handmaid.”
The servant girl, Zilpah, was given to Leah for a wedding
Genesis 29:25 “And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold,
it [was] Leah: and he said to Laban, What [is] this thou hast done
unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast
thou beguiled me?”
You see, Leah was wearing a veil, and it was dark in the tent.
Much drinking at these weddings left them not fully aware of their
behavior. It was easy to have been given the wrong girl. Jacob felt
as if he had been wronged.
Genesis 29:26 “And Laban said, It must not be so done in our
country, to give the younger before the firstborn.”
In that country the younger could not marry, until the older
had married. This was the custom of the land.
Genesis 29:27 “Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also
for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.”
Genesis 29:28 “And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he
gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.”
This, too, was the custom of the land. Seven days the groom would
take the bride away and return after seven days. (Many thinks this is
symbolic of the seven years the Christians will be with Christ in
heaven, before he comes back to set up His reign on the earth for 1000
years). Now, Jacob had two wives. He had to work seven more years, but he
now had his beloved Rachel with him.
Genesis 29:29 “And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his
handmaid to be her maid.”
These women were from a family of some affluence, and both girls
had a maid for a wedding gift.
Genesis 29:30 “And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also
Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.”
Rachel was his choice from the beginning. Leah was his wife, but
not by choice. It was circumstances beyond his control that made her
his wife. He was a husband to her in every way, as we will see in the
Genesis 29:31 “And when the LORD saw that Leah [was] hated, he
opened her womb: but Rachel [was] barren.”
Genesis 29:32 “And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called
his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my
affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.”
It seems Leah, as well as Rachel, loved Jacob. When Leah had this
child, she thought the child would pull Jacob closer to her than
Rachel. God had pitied her and blessed her with a child. As we have
said already, it was a curse not to have a child in those days.
“Reuben” means, behold a son.
Genesis 29:33 “And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said,
Because the LORD hath heard that I [was] hated, he hath therefore
given me this [son] also: and she called his name Simeon.”
Genesis 29:34 “And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said,
Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born
him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi.”
Leah believed if she had children for Jacob, that he would love
her more than Rachel. Jacob fulfilled all the husbandly duties, or
else she would not have had children. He didn’t hate her; he just
loved Rachel more. “Simeon” means hearing. “Levi” means joining.
Genesis 29:35 “And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she
said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah;
and left bearing.”
These sons were four of the twelve who would be fathers of the
twelve tribes of Israel. “Judah” means God be praised. The Hebrew of
Judah is Yehudah. We will see these sons turn against the children of
Rachel in a later lesson. Remember, these are the beginning of tribes
by these names.
The next lesson begins with chapter 30 of Genesis.