Genesis 29: Jacob Loves Rachel

Why was a huge stone used to block the flow of water? Why not let the water flow constantly?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 29:1–3 Jacob continued his journey and entered the land to the east. He saw a spring in the field, with three flocks of sheep nearby, waiting for water because a huge stone was blocking the flow.
After all the flocks had gathered, shepherds would remove the stone to water the sheep and then roll the stone back over the mouth of the well.
King James
Genesis 29:1–3 Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east. 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 mouth. 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 what ways were social connections different back in Jacob’s day, compared to modern times?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 29:4–6 “My brothers,” Jacob said, “where are you from?”
They said, “From Haran.”
“Do you know Laban, son of Nahor?”
“Yes,” they said. “We know him.”
“Is he doing well?”
“Very well,” they said. “Look, here comes his daughter Rachel with his sheep.”
King James
Genesis 29:4–6 And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye?
And they said, Of Haran are we.
And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor?
And they said, We know him.
And he said unto them, Is he well?
And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.

Compared to others in Haran, where would you place Laban in wealth and social status? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 29:5–6 “Do you know Laban, son of Nahor?”
“Yes,” they said. “We know him.”
“Is he doing well?”
“Very well,” they said. “Look, here comes his daughter Rachel with his sheep.”
King James
Genesis 29:5–6 And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor?
And they said, We know him.
And he said unto them, Is he well?
And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.

How did the practice develop where all the flocks had to arrive before any could receive water?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 29:7–8 “It’s still early in the day,” Jacob said, “with all the flocks not yet gathered. Why don’t you water your sheep now and take them to pasture?”
“We can’t,” they said. “When all the flocks have gathered, the shepherds combine their strength to roll back the stone. Then we can water the sheep.”
King James
Genesis 29:7–8 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.
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.

If the shepherds combined their strength to roll back the stone, how could Jacob roll back the stone to water Rachel’s flock?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 29:9–10 While Jacob was talking, Rachel was coming with her father’s sheep, for she was their shepherd.
When Jacob saw his cousin Rachel with his uncle Laban’s sheep, he went to the well, rolled back the stone, and watered the sheep.
King James
Genesis 29:9–10 And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep: for she kept them. 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.

What did the shepherds think when their tradition was violated? What did they do?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 29:10 When Jacob saw his cousin Rachel with his uncle Laban’s sheep, he went to the well, rolled back the stone, and watered the sheep.
King James
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.

What did Rachel think when she was kissed? How did she respond?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 29:11–12 Weeping for joy, he kissed Rachel. “I am your cousin, a relative of your father,” he said, “son of your aunt Rebekah.”
So Rachel ran to tell her father.
King James
Genesis 29:11–12 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept. And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s brother, and that he was Rebekah’s son: and she ran and told her father.

While Rachel ran to tell her father, what was Jacob doing?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 29:12 “I am your cousin, a relative of your father,” he said, “son of your aunt Rebekah.”
So Rachel ran to tell her father.
King James
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 father.

How much of his story did Jacob tell Laban? Did he tell Laban about taking Esau’s birthright and blessing? What reason did he give for coming to Haran?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 29:13 When Laban got the news about his sister’s son Jacob, he ran to meet him, kissed him, and brought him to his house, where he was told everything that had happened.
King James
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 these things.

In his first month in Haran, what work did Jacob do for Laban? How might Rachel have been involved?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 29:14–15 “You really are family,” Laban said, “my own flesh and blood.”
After Jacob had stayed for a month, Laban said, “You’re family, but you shouldn’t work for me for nothing. Tell me what your wages should be.”
King James
Genesis 29:14–15 And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month. And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be?

Why did Jacob offer to work seven years? Why not more or fewer years?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 29:16–19 Laban had two daughters: Rachel and her older sister, Leah. Leah had tender eyes, but Rachel was beautiful in every way.
Jacob loved Rachel. “I’ll work for you seven years,” he said, “if you’ll let me marry Rachel.”
“Agreed,” Laban said. “It is better that I give her to you than anyone else. Stay and work for me.”
King James
Genesis 29:16–19 And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.
And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.
And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me.

What caused the seven years to pass quickly? Shouldn’t the waiting have made it seem like the last day would never come? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 29:20 Jacob’s love for Rachel was so great, the next seven years seemed like only a few days.
King James
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.

To what extent was Rachel involved in the Laban’s deception that led Jacob to sleep with Leah?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 29:21–25 “Give me Rachel,” Jacob said to Laban, “so we may become one in marriage.”
Laban invited everyone in the area to the wedding feast. That evening, he brought his daughter Leah, and Jacob slept with her.
Laban gave his servant Zilpah to serve Leah.
The next morning, Jacob realized that he had slept with Leah, not Rachel. “What is this?” Jacob said to Laban. “Didn’t I work all these years for Rachel? Why have you tricked me?”
King James
Genesis 29:21–25 And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her. And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. 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. And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid. 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?

How could Jacob sleep with someone other than Rachel and not know it until the next morning? How did Leah feel about what happened? How did Rachel feel?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 29:21–25 “Give me Rachel,” Jacob said to Laban, “so we may become one in marriage.”
Laban invited everyone in the area to the wedding feast. That evening, he brought his daughter Leah, and Jacob slept with her.
Laban gave his servant Zilpah to serve Leah.
The next morning, Jacob realized that he had slept with Leah, not Rachel. “What is this?” Jacob said to Laban. “Didn’t I work all these years for Rachel? Why have you tricked me?”
King James
Genesis 29:21–25 And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her. And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. 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. And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid. 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?

Why did Laban want his oldest daughter married first? Was his argument valid? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 29:26 “In our country,” Laban said, “the older daughter must be married first.
King James
Genesis 29:26 And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.

Why did Laban think Jacob would work another seven years and not just take his wives and leave? Didn’t one deception deserve another? Or is there a difference between deception and not keeping one’s word? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 29:27–30 When her honeymoon week is over, you can have Rachel too—as long as you agree to work for me another seven years.”
After Leah’s week was completed, Laban gave his daughter Rachel to be Jacob’s second wife. Laban gave his servant Bilhah to serve Rachel.
So Jacob slept with Rachel too, and he loved her more than Leah. For another seven years, he worked for Laban.
King James
Genesis 29:27–30 Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years. And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also. And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid. And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.

How did Leah having children affect Jacob’s love for her?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 29:31–35 Knowing that Jacob loved Rachel more, the Lord opened Leah’s womb, but Rachel was barren.
Leah became pregnant and gave birth to her son Reuben. “The Lord has seen my misery,” she said. “Now my husband will love me.”
Again Leah became pregnant and gave birth to her son Simeon. “The Lord knew I wasn’t loved,” she said, “so he has given me another son.”
For the third time, Leah became pregnant and gave birth to her son Levi. “Now my husband will hold me close,” she said, “because I have given him three sons.”
Leah became pregnant a fourth time and gave birth to her son Judah. “Now I can praise the Lord,” she said.
She had no children after that.
King James
Genesis 29:31–35 And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. 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. 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. 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. 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.

In all the years that Leah was getting pregnant and giving birth to sons, Rachel was barren. How did that affect Jacob’s love for Rachel?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 29:31–35 Knowing that Jacob loved Rachel more, the Lord opened Leah’s womb, but Rachel was barren.
Leah became pregnant and gave birth to her son Reuben. “The Lord has seen my misery,” she said. “Now my husband will love me.”
Again Leah became pregnant and gave birth to her son Simeon. “The Lord knew I wasn’t loved,” she said, “so he has given me another son.”
For the third time, Leah became pregnant and gave birth to her son Levi. “Now my husband will hold me close,” she said, “because I have given him three sons.”
Leah became pregnant a fourth time and gave birth to her son Judah. “Now I can praise the Lord,” she said.
She had no children after that.
King James
Genesis 29:31–35 And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. 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. 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. 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. 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.