Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Genesis 29 & 30 "Jacob meets Rachel"

In this chapter, Jacob has journeyed from Canaan back to the area of Syria where Abraham left from, after his father died. It is the house of his brother Haran. Laban is now the head of the family. He is the brother of Jacob's mother. By our figuring, Rachel would be his cousin. I hope I said all that right.

Genesis 29:9 "And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep: for she kept them."

This verse is preceded by a conversation between Jacob and some men (for he called them brethren) with their flocks gathered around a well. He asked if they knew Laban. It was them who pointed out Rachel as she came with her father's flock.

Jacob questioned them about why they were gathered around the well when it was already time to be out letting the sheep feed. They said we must wait for all the flocks then the stone is rolled away for them to water. I suppose someone made a rule about that. When Rachel arrived Jacob rolled the stone away and watered the sheep she was caring for.

Genesis 29 v11 "And Jacob kissed Rachel and lifted up his voice and wept."

I believe it was love at first sight. Also, I think Jacob was overwhelmed by the guidance of the Lord because he had come to the right family and a maiden of his house had come out just as when the servant meet Rebekkah, his mother. He had, no doubt, heard that story many times and of how the servant had prayed for a sign and received it.

v18 "And Jacob loved Rachel; and said I will serve thee (Laban) seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter."

Laban agreed to the deal and Jacob tended the flocks of Laban for seven years. It was not an easy task to do, for he was out in the weather as indicated in Chapter 31 verses 38-42. I will type one verse here because we will cover it later. v40"Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes." This burst from Jacob came after he had tried to leave Laban peacefully but Laban pursued him.

Back to our chapter. We see here that Laban is a bit of a rascal even with his cousin. Laban, instead of Rachel, gives Jacob Leah to wife. Leah is the older sister of Rachel. Jacob was unaware of the exchange until the next morning after they had slept together. Laban speaks.
v26 "And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn." NOW, he tells him, after working seven years for Rachel, Jacob finds out there is a rule 'in our country' about that.

Jacob must have been a man of patience, for he worked seven more years for Rachel as required for Laban. The craftiness of Laban does not end there, however, for he has seen how God blessed him while Jacob was around. So, he cooks up an excuse for Jacob to work another seven years before he will let Jacob leave with what he has acquired for his wages. Well, after 14 years Jacob has lost his patience with Laban and shows his own craftiness.

I have jumped to the next chapter but that is okay. It is part of the same story. Jacob presented a plan to Laban that his wages would be all the speckled, ringstreaked and spotted goats and brown sheep, leaving the perfect colored ones for Laban. Jacob was smart enough to seperate his flocks by 3 days from Laban's. He obviously suspected deceit on the part of Laban.
v43 of chapter 30 "And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants and menservants and camels and asses(donkeys)."

During this time Jacob's family has increased to a large number. Both Leah and Rachel have born children, although it was late for Rachel. I will let you read that part of the story. I simply do not understand the part about two wives and the handmaidens. I do think that sometimes people take one part of the Bible where special circumstances exist and use it to the extreme. I believe Rachel was the intended wife of Jacob but he was deceived by Laban. Rather than cast Leah aside, Jacob loved them both. I believe if you add them up, you will get 12 sons and 1 daughter Dinah. We should note that Joseph is the son of Rachel and will play a large role in future studies.

Proverbs 30:3 "I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy."

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