Genesis 29

Jacob Meets Rachel

A little introduction to this short chapter will suffice. It begins with Jacob going on journey to the east, this I presume must be the journey he began in the last verses of the last chapter. And as in a few previous chapter where a damsel is met at a well, Jacob meets Rachel at one such well and what unfolds fits well within the purview of romantic levels, at least that is how I see it. At this particular well encounter, Jacob is already advanced in age while Rachel is only 14 years old. As part of the history lesson, Rachel means ewe – a female sheep. Unless the Hebrews were being metaphorical, why sheep?

29 verse 1 to verse 3 is a recital of how Jacob gets to be at the well, the flock have been watered and the lid to the well replaced.

Jacob said to them, “My brothers, where are you from?” And they said, “We are from Haran.” He said to them, “Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?” And they said, “We know him.” And he said to them, “Is it well with him?” And they said, “It is well, and here is Rachel his daughter coming with the sheep

Jake meets Rachel by William Dyce

[This is quite convenient for Jacob, it’s Rachel who comes not any member of the family just as in the case of Isaac and Rebekah at another well].” 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 [what business has a stranger, Jacob,  ordering the young men on when to water or pasture their flock?].” 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.”

While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess. 10 When Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, Jacob went up and rolled the stone from the mouth of the well and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. 11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted his voice and wept [Seriously, she should be running home to report this stranger who has having not so good ideas! How many of you sisters just get kissed because an idle lass has helped you with some menial job? This is the time they should have amended their laws to include pedophilia, sexual harassment and child abuse in the penal code]. 12 Jacob told Rachel that he was a relative of hers father and that he was Rebekah’s son, and she ran and told her father [I hope she reports the kiss as well!].

13 So when Laban heard the news of Jacob his sister’s son nephew, he ran to meet him[ I don’t know about you, but my uncles don’t run to meet me, not once not ever. On the country, many times am expected to run to meet them], and embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his house. Then he related to Laban all these things. 14 Laban said to him, “Surely you are my bone and my flesh[ Hold your breath a little, did he doubt at any moment they are related?].” And he stayed with him a month.

15 Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my relative, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?” 16 Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel [In the Jewish Encyclopedia, we learn the two were twins and ‘elder’ and ‘younger’ are used metaphorically to refer to the divine gifts bestowed on each of them]. 17 And Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful of form and face. 18 Now Jacob loved Rachel, so he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” 19 Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than to give her to another man; stay with me.” 20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her[ Let us leave the romance out of this story, someone tell me what lesson if any we are to lean from this? Anything, don’t worry I will wait! Did the gods approve of inbreeding or did the Moses ghost writers miss something?].

Laban’s Treachery

Verse 21 To verse 30 is the story of Laban’s deception where instead of handing over Rachel to be married, he served old Jake with Leah and with no apologies to boot. After one week, Jake marries Rachel and works for another 7 years making her bride price  14 years. I would have given up a long time ago, but that is me! To the two daughters he gives each a slave girl.Of note here is that the slave-girls have been named. And as I have always told you, in this times when a slave or a woman is named, something untoward is in the woods. And I may just well mention it here, just Abe before had a child with his slave [Hagar], Jake will outdo the old patriarch by having children with the two slave girls given to his wives, that is a story for another day, as for now lets look at we have here;

31 Now the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, and He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren[ Is this a case of god interfering in human affairs!]. 32 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 [Even in our times, so many women still have babies for the same trivial reason, I can only call it a delusion!].” 33 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. 34 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. 35 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[ I have to spoil the fun, Leah takes a hiatus for in the next chapter she will bear 2 more sons and a daughter, well I know you are also asking why just sons? As I see it, it is a boys only club for Jake].