Sunday, February 17, 2008

Jacob's wives - Genesis 29

Jacob's wives

Gen 29:1 Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.
Gen 29:2 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.

Why was the number of three flocks mentioned? A great stone covered the well. I think of the great stone that covered the tomb of Jesus and on the third day he arose. Jesus is the well of living water.

Gen 29:3 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.

John 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
John 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

Gen 29:4 And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we.
Gen 29:5 And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him.
Gen 29:6 And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.

Another meeting at the well. Rebekah met Isaac's servant at the well. Now Jacob meets Rachel at the well.

Gen 29:7 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.
Gen 29:8 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.

John 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

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

When Isaac's servant came to the well, Rebekah watered all the camels. Jacob rolled the stone away and watered Rachel's sheep. Jacob was a servant and waterer, as was his mother Rebekah.

We are to be waterers of the word of God.

1 Cor 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

Mark 9:41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.

Gen 29:11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.

2 Cor 13:12 Greet one another with an holy kiss.

Jacob was overjoyed to be with family. It was love at first sight with Rachel, Laban's younger sister.

Gen 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.

He was the nephew, but as a brother. Lot was the nephew of Abraham, but he also was called brother.

Gen 14:12 And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.

Gen 14:14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.

Using these examples, was Mary a virgin or did she have children by Joseph?

The Catholic church uses these examples to say the brethren were actually nephews. Yet, in context it seems to be actual brothers and sisters.

Mat 13:54 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?
Mat 13:55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
Mat 13:56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?

They would not be referring to someone elses children, but one of the family of Mary and Joseph.

We are brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Mat 12:48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?
Mat 12:49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
Mat 12:50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

Knowing this, we have family most everywhere that we travel.

Gen 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.
Gen 29:14 And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month.

A month of working for room and board.

Gen 29:15 And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be?
Gen 29:16 And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.

Gen 29:17 Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.

Leah was tender eyed; or bleary eyed.  I picture the eyes of a fawn, a gentle innocent look. Some translators say Leah means a wild cow, or wild gazelle, left alone and unloved.  I remember a girl in grammar school who had no beauty, but big eyes. The kids were cruel to her, calling her cow eyes.

Rachel was beautiful, well built in shape and looks. Rachel, means a ewe lamb. 

 Gen 29:18 And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.

Now looks aren't everything, but sometimes men put more value in outward beauty, than inward virtue. Jacob is willing to work seven years for the hand of Rachel, as a dowry. He would only receive room and board.

Gen 29:19 And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me.

Laban agrees, or seemed to agree.

Gen 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.

Seven years of labor, went by swiftly, because he had his eye on his first love. Jesus is to be our first love and our life should be lived in anticipation of our wedding day. We are the bride of Christ.

Gen 29:21 And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her.

Jacob was at least 47 years old, because his brother Esau had married two Hittite women when he was 40. Jewish commentators put his age as 84!

Gen 29:22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast.

A wedding feast. A peculiar girdle, called the attrie, was always worn by a bride; and over all the wedding finery a veil, the veil of betrothal, heavily embroidered, covered her so completely that she was practically invisible. This veil might not be lifted by her husband until after she had entered his house or tent as his wife; it was a symbol of the wife's subjection to her husband.

The most important figure in the celebration, the girl bride, never took part in the first day of the marriage feast. In a separate room, surrounded by her maidens, shrouded by her betrothal veil, she did not appear until it was time to conduct her to the tent of the bridegroom.

Gen 29:23 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.

Laban switched daughters with Jacob. It was after a feast and perhaps much wine. The light was very dim and like Isaac's eyes, Jacob could not see that the promised bride was switched, the older for the younger. Just as Jacob the younger had switched places with the first born deceiving his near blind father. It is pay back time.

Rom 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

Gen 29:24 And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid.
Gen 29:25 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?

Laban was like Rebekah and Jacob, a deceiver. The deceiver had been deceived. Waking up and seeing his bride, he sees Leah, not Rachel.Thou hast beguiled me.

Gen 29:26 And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.
Gen 29:27 Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.
Gen 29:28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.

Seven days the feast would last. All preparations must be made in advance as no work, except the absolutely necessary, could be done during the week of the festival. The whole community, dressed in wedding garments, So, at the end of the wedding feast Jacob was again married, this time to the girl he loved. Two sisters married to the same man within a few days! He still must work another seven years, but he had Rachel and Leah as wives. Rachel after the 7 days with Leah. Jacob had two wives.

Gen 29:29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid.

Both daughters were given personal slaves to do there bidding. The daughters would no longer be laborers, having handmaids to do their choirs.

Gen 29:30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.

Jacob had to work for Laban as he enjoyed his two wives. He favored Rachel, his first love. I can imagine the tears in his tender eyed other wife, Leah. God would favor Leah.

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

God is the God of the neglected, the meek, the abused and the unloved. He favored Leah with children, which would take away her reproach in the eyes of the women.

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