Gen. 29:21-30  Jacob Serves 14 Years for Rachel

Gen. 29:21 “And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her. 22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. 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. 24 And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid. 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? 26 And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. 27 Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years. 28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also. 29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid. 30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.”

The scriptures teach us “that whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”  Jacob had deceived his father, Isaac; had lied to him; and had taken a blessing that was intended for his brother, Esau; and had taken advantage of the fact that his father was practically blind.  In the above passage we see what Laban did unto his nephew Jacob.  Laban and Jacob had an agreement that Jacob would work seven years for Laban and then Laban would give to Jacob his daughter Rachel.  The time had come for Laban to fulfill the promise and give Jacob his daughter Rachel to wife.  Instead, Laban gathered the men of the place to gather and had a wedding feast.  No doubt there was much drinking of wine at the wedding feast so that Jacob would not have the sharpest of senses when Laban pulled his shenanigan.  Moreover, it was night when Laban gave to Jacob Leah instead of Rachel.  My guess is that Laban probably thought he would have a hard time marrying off Leah, so he made the switch. 

As Jacob lay with Leah that night, I am sure that he thought he was laying with Rachel.  When the morning came and with it the light of day Jacob discovered that it was Leah and not Rachel.  Jacob was not pleased and he rebuked Laban: “What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?”  Jacob had been lied to, deceived, and taken advantage of during the night when he could not see and had been give the first born and not the second.  See how this almost matches the deception Jacob had practiced upon his father, Isaac?  Moreover, Laban answered Jacob thusly: “It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.”  Jacob had promoted himself before his firstborn brother Esau.  Jacob had reaped what he had previously sowed. 

Laban now shows his true colors and what he had intended all along when he said “Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.”  Thus for a week Jacob was to know Leah only and then at the end of the week, he was given Rachel to wife also.  However, to get Rachel, Jacob was to serve Laban for seven more years.  So by Laban’s deception, he accomplished the marrying off of his older daughter Leah and got twice as much service from his nephew Jacob than what they had originally bargained for.  However, we must remember that God is not mocked, but whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.  Laban purposed to increase his wealth by deceiving Jacob and for a good while this plan seemed to work.  However, as we will see God will take the wealth of Laban and give it to Jacob and his family. 

Of significance in the above account, we see that Laban had given to each of his daughters when they were married a handmaid to serve them.  These two maids will become tools to the two sisters as they battle for the affection of their husband Jacob.

Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah.  There are many biblical arguments against polygamy.  Jacobs love for Rachel more than he loved Leah is a great practical lesson against polygamy.  This set off a reaction of bitterness, strife, and hatred between the two wives of Jacob.   

Gen. 29:31-34  Rachel was barren.

            Gen. 29:31 “And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. 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. 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. 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. 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.”

            It seems to me that it is in the fallen nature of the woman that she will somehow feel herself to be inadequate in her role as wife and mother.  Here we have two sisters both vying for the affection of a common husband.  One sister, Leah, feels herself to be inadequate in the area of feminine appearance.  The other sister, Rachel, feels herself inadequate because of not being able to produce children as her sister does.  There was a constant warfare between the two sisters. 

            Our adequacy does not rest in the natural appearance or abilities.  Rather our adequacy rest in the Lord.  The Lord saw that Jacob favored Rachel and gave Leah something that Rachel did not have.  He gave her children.  However, rather than being satisfied with the beautiful gift that God had given her and rejoicing in the children that God had given her, she used the birth of her children as a tool to convince her husband to love her as he loved Rachel or even more than he loved Rachel. 

            In the above passage we have recorded the birth of Leah’s first four sons.  Each one was given a name based on the feeling Leah had at the time.  Leah felt to be afflicted when the first born came, so she named him “Reuben” which means afflicted.  Likewise, when the second born was born she named him “Simeon” because she said that the Lord had “heard” that she was hated.  The word, “Simeon” means “The Lord heard.”  She named the third “Levi” because that thru his birth she believed that Jacob would be “joined” unto her.  The name “Levi” means “joined.”  With the birth of her fourth born son Leah “praised” the Lord, so she called him name “Judah” which means “praise.” 

            With each of the twelve sons of Jacob and with the two sons of Joseph, names were given to them at birth that we are given the meaning of and this is significant elsewhere in the scriptures.  Highly frequently in the scriptures, the Holy Ghost moves men to write about things that will be later significant in the later cannon of scriptures.  Knowing the meanings of the names of the sons and two grandsons of Jacob are useful to our understanding of the first part of the 7th chapter of Revelation.