Jacob meets Rachel. Jacob marries Leah and Rachel. Jacob’s many children.
Jacob went on his journey. Jacob had been fleeing from Esau. But now he is looking for a bride.
This will fulfill the LORD God’s promise, given in the previous chapter, that Jacob will have many offspring:
Genesis 28:3. May God Almighty bless you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, that you may be a company of peoples,
VERSE 2. He looked, and saw a well in the field, and saw three flocks of sheep lying there by it. For out of that well they watered the flocks. The stone on the well’s mouth was large.
saw a well in the field. Jacob’s meeting of Rachel at a well parallels his father’s meeting of Rebekah at a well:
Genesis 24:13. Behold, I am standing by the spring of water. The daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water.
The fact that the meeting took place at a well is significant. That is because in the biblical worldview, a well is often associated with the LORD God’s blessing.
VERSE 3. There all the flocks were gathered. They rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone back on the well’s mouth in its place.
VERSE 4. Jacob said to them, “My relatives, where are you from?” They said, “We are from Haran.”
VERSE 5. He said to them, “Do you know Laban, the son of Nahor?” They said, “We know him.”
VERSE 6. He said to them, “Is it well with him?” They said, “It is well. See, Rachel, his daughter, is coming with the sheep.”
VERSE 7. He said, “Behold, it is still the middle of the day, not time to gather the livestock together. Water the sheep, and go and feed them.”
VERSE 8. They said, “We can’t, until all the flocks are gathered together, and they roll the stone from the well’s mouth. Then we will water the sheep.”
VERSE 9. While he was yet speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she kept them.
VERSE 10. When Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban, his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban, his mother’s brother, Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother.
Jacob kissed Rachel. In those days, the kissing of relatives was a proper greeting.
VERSE 12. Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s relative, and that he was Rebekah’s son. She ran and told her father.
VERSE 13. When Laban heard the news of Jacob, his sister’s son, he ran to meet Jacob, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. Jacob told Laban all these things.
and kissed him. In those days, the kissing of relatives was a proper greeting.
VERSE 14. Laban said to him, “Surely you are my bone and my flesh.” Jacob stayed with him for a month.
my bone and my flesh. In calling Jacob his own flesh and blood, Laban might have been adopting Jacob, his nephew, as a son.
The Bible is not teaching us that women are property. it is not telling us to treat women as property. It is not prescribing that we behave in misogynistic ways.
Rather, the Bible merely recorded this incident for us to read. It is describing something that happened.
The Bible often describes. It rarely prescribes.
VERSE 15. Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my relative, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what will your wages be?”
VERSE 16. Laban had two daughters. The name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.
VERSE 17. Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and attractive.
VERSE 18. Jacob loved Rachel. He said, “I will serve you seven years for Rachel, your younger daughter.”
I will serve you seven years for Rachel. Jacob sees Rachel as property. She can be bought in exchange for seven years of labor.
VERSE 19. Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you, than that I should give her to another man. Stay with me.”
VERSE 20. Jacob served seven years for Rachel. They seemed to him but a few days, for the love he had for her.
VERSE 21. Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in to her.”
Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in to her. Jacob had agreed to work for seven years for Laban. His payment would be to have Rachel as his wife.
When the seven years were up, Jacob asked for the event to happen that would make them married.
He didn’t ask for a religious ceremony. He didn’t ask for a secular ceremony.
Jacob asked to go in to Rachel. He asked for genital intercourse.
We believe that in the biblical worldview, genital intercourse is the event that triggers “marriage.”
VERSE 22. Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast.
He went in to her. By means of genital intercourse, Rachel and Jacob are wedded.
Their intention to become wedded was clear. But the one and only thing they did in order to enter into the married state was genital intercourse.
VERSE 24. Laban gave Zilpah his servant to his daughter Leah for a servant.
VERSE 25. In the morning, behold, it was Leah! He said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Didn’t I serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?”
VERSE 26. Laban said, “It is not done so in our place, to give the younger before the firstborn.
VERSE 27. Fulfill the week of this one, and we will give you the other also for the service which you will serve with me for seven more years.”
VERSE 28. Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week. He gave him Rachel his daughter as wife.
VERSE 29. Laban gave Bilhah, his servant, to his daughter Rachel to be her servant.
VERSE 30. He went in also to Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him seven more years.
VERSE 31. The LORD saw that Leah was hated, and he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.
VERSE 32. Leah conceived, and bore a son, and she named him Reuben. For she said, “Because the LORD has looked at my affliction; for now my husband will love me.”
VERSE 33. She conceived again, and bore a son, and said, “Because the LORD has heard that I am hated, he has therefore given me this son also.” She named him Simeon.
VERSE 34. She conceived again, and bore a son. She said, “Now this time my husband will be joined to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi.
VERSE 35. She conceived again, and bore a son. She said, “This time I will praise the LORD.” Therefore she named him Judah. Then she stopped bearing.
CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.