Where Two Fools Met
Jacob finds a beautiful woman, but I doubt she held a candle to this one.
1 Then Jacob went on his journey, and came to the land of the children of the east. 2 He looked, and behold, a well in the field, and, behold, three flocks of sheep lying there by it. For out of that well they watered the flocks. The stone on the well’s mouth was large. 3 There all the flocks were gathered. They rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again on the well’s mouth in its place. 4 Jacob said to them, “My relatives, where are you from?”
They said, “We are from Haran.”
5 He said to them, “Do you know Laban, the son of Nahor?”
They said, “We know him.”
6 He said to them, “Is it well with him?”
They said, “It is well. See, Rachel, his daughter, is coming with the sheep.”
7 He said, “Behold, it is still the middle of the day, not time to gather the livestock together. Water the sheep, and go and feed them.”
8 They said, “We can’t, until all the flocks are gathered together, and they roll the stone from the well’s mouth. Then we water the sheep.”
9 While he was yet speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she kept them. 10 When Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban, his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban, his mother’s brother, Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. 11 Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept. 12 Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s brother, and that he was Rebekah’s son. She ran and told her father.
13 When Laban heard the news of Jacob, his sister’s son, he ran to meet Jacob, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. Jacob told Laban all these things. 14 Laban said to him, “Surely you are my bone and my flesh.” He lived with him for a month. 15 Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my brother, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what will your wages be?”
16 Laban had two daughters. The name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and attractive. 18 Jacob loved Rachel. He said, “I will serve you seven years for Rachel, your younger daughter.”
19 Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you, than that I should give her to another man. Stay with me.”
20 Jacob served seven years for Rachel. They seemed to him but a few days, for the love he had for her.
21 Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in to her.”
22 Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. 23 In the evening, he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him. He went in to her. 24 Laban gave Zilpah his servant to his daughter Leah for a servant. 25 In the morning, behold, it was Leah. He said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Didn’t I serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?”
26 Laban said, “It is not done so in our place, to give the younger before the firstborn. 27 Fulfill the week of this one, and we will give you the other also for the service which you will serve with me yet seven other years.”
28 Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week. He gave him Rachel his daughter as wife. 29 Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah, his servant, to be her servant. 30 He went in also to Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.
31 Yahweh saw that Leah was hated, and he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. 32 Leah conceived, and bore a son, and she named him Reuben. For she said, “Because Yahweh has looked at my affliction. For now my husband will love me.” 33 She conceived again, and bore a son, and said, “Because Yahweh has heard that I am hated, he has therefore given me this son also.” She named him Simeon. 34 She conceived again, and bore a son. Said, “Now this time will my husband be joined to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi. 35 She conceived again, and bore a son. She said, “This time will I praise Yahweh.” Therefore she named him Judah. Then she stopped bearing.
Thoughts for the day
Jacob left Isaac and headed for Laban’s house to escape the wrath of Esau and to take a wife. Compared to Isaac, Jacob has to work a lot harder to get a wife. Abraham sent a servant out to deal with Isaac’s need for a lady. Jacob has to go get his own wife for himself. It’s no wonder that Esau got it wrong, and married a Hittite woman. If Isaac would have been the man that Abraham was, Isaac would have selected, a bought and paid for the women for his kids. There would have been no question in the quality of women the boys had if Isaac was doing his job. Like every son, Isaac does things his own way. Rebekah, though drop dead gorgeous, and likable I am sure, gives me the idea that she was a somewhat contentious and a rather meddling. Maybe Isaac felt he could have done better had he selected his own wife, and decided to afford his boys that privilege. The feelings about Rebekah, are my own. The text never says she is contentious straight out, but her work with Jacob to setup Esau, was not exactly indicative of one who has a character that takes the high road. Jacob, being sent out of his home due to their devious behavior might have been a stroke of luck.
Jacob’s luck could not get any better. On his way, he meets God, not everyone gets to meet God, and God tells him he is going to father a great nation. Jacob is happy to hear that, builds a marker for where his nation is going to be, and heads on Laban’s house as he was instructed. No sooner than he reaches the community well, he establishes a repour with the people at the well. He finds he has reached Laban’s home. A beautiful woman (Rachel) showed up shepherding her sheep.
Within a month, Jacob must have fallen for her hard! Jacob had been helping out on the property while he was staying there, and Laban realized that, he probably ought to start paying Jacob. This is where two fools met:” 18 Jacob loved Rachel. He said, “I will serve you seven years for Rachel, your younger daughter.”” Now that is a serious case of love sickness on Jacob’s part; and a serious case of imbecility on Laban’s part. Laban was agreeing to something that he could not deliver on. Jacob should have demanded payment in advance!
Verse 20 “Jacob served seven years for Rachel.” They seemed to him but a few days, for the love he had for her.” Jacob demanded Rachel be handed to him as his wife. Laban has a big feast to mark the occasion. This is the first hint of a wedding ceremony in the Bible, but it may have been nothing more than a ruse to get Jacob drunk. After supper in Verse “23 In the evening, he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him. He went in to her.” Lets think about this! Jacob served Laban for Rachel, Laban delivers Leah, and Jacob manages to have sex with her and not know who he is in bed with! Seems there would have to had been some hard drugs, that do not effect a man’s libido served at dinner. A Man that drunk on that much liqueur, could not have made Leah his wife (It’s a matter of biochemistry). What ever happened here, Jacob proves to be the sucker; and Laban just like his sister Rebeka, is not trustworthy. If I were in Jacob’s shoes, I would have probably called it good right here and taken Leah and left; assuming I had no hope with Rachel anymore, but Jacob stays the course.
Jacob challenges Laban in this decision, Laban gives him the lame excuse that the older daughter has to be married first, so he gets Leah. The excuse is lame as Laban knew that rule when he made the agreement with Jacob. He made a deal he did not intend to keep. Jacob backed Laban in the to a corner, and Laban says fine, you can have Rachel also for seven more years of your time. This time, the deal was sweetened and Laban said Jacob could finance this purchase of Rachel. After a 1 week down payment Jacob gets Rachel for his wife, but agrees to continue working until Rachel is paid off. Jacob, agreed, and sealed his fate!
Sadly in verse 30, Jacob begins to pay for his decision to have two wives. Leah is deeply saddened by the fact that she is not loved, but is married to a man who loves her sister, and is married to her as well. Verse 31, God gives Leah a child named Reuben, later a child named Simon and later one called Levi. Leah made sure everyone knew that God gave her these babies because she was despised. She hoped giving Jacob children would cause him to love her. (I have met ladies that try this to get their boyfriends to love them enough to marry them, or to make sure they don’t break their engagement. It did not work for Leah, it will not work today. You can buy humans, you can’t buy love)
It appears Jacob, has been getting lucky every night, two women that won’t leave the guy alone; as a teen boy that is the dream. So Jacob has passed at least 2.5 years’ time making babies with Leah, and trying to make babies with Rachel. Jacob is getting more than he bargained for. He may not be feeling as lucky as it appears. The end of this chapter leaves us with one wife who feels rejected and having babies while taunting the wife who has none, but is loved by Jacob. Evert rose has it’s thorn and this bed of roses, is no small exception.