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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Genesis 29

 

 


Verses 1-35


Jacob in Mesopotamia with Laban

The divine care and blessing promised to Jacob at Bethel (Genesis 28:15) are illustrated in the narrative of the sojourn of the patriarch at Haran, which apparently lasted for twenty years (Genesis 31:41), after which he returned to the land of promise, blessed with a numerous family, and rich in goods. But equally marked is the severe discipline to which he was subjected in order that the darker features in his character might be purified, and that he might learn to put his reliance, not in unworthy scheming, but in simple faith in the love and blessing of the God of Abraham and Isaac.

1. The land of the people of the east] a general term for the lands eastward of Palestine, here e.g. Mesopotamia: cp. Job 13.

3. A well often belonged to two or three families. The opening was covered with a heavy stone which could only be moved by the united efforts of the shepherds of their several flocks. By this device it was impossible for one, more than another, to obtain an undue share of the precious water.

4. Haran] see on Genesis 11:31.

5. The son of Nahor] rather, 'grandson.' Laban was the son of Bethuel (Genesis 28:5).

11. Wept] with joy at finding himself among friends again.

15. What shall thy wages be?] Laban was a covetous man and, as will be seen, took every advantage of Jacob to retain his services.

17. Leah was tendereyed] rather, 'weakeyed,' perhaps from ophthalmia, so common in the East. Leah means 'gazelle,' Rachel, 'ewe.'

18. Jacob had no rich gif ts to offer for Rachel, such as Abraham sent for Rebekah (Genesis 24:53). He therefore offered his services. Kitto says that 'personal servitude to the father is still in some places in the East, including to this day Palestine, the price paid by young men who have no other means of providing the payment which a father has always been entitled to expect for his daughter, as compensation for the loss of her domestic services.'

22. A feast] the wedding feast.

23-25. Jacob the deceiver is now the deceived. The bride would be closely veiled (see Genesis 24:65), and, it being night, Leah successfully connived at her father's deception.

24. The female slave was a usual part of the bride's dowry.

26. The custom which Laban pleaded was not uncommon. Among the Hindoos it is a law not to give the younger daughter in marriage until the elder is married.

27. Fulfil her week] i.e. celebrate Leah's bridal festivities for the usual seven days: cp. Judges 14:12.

28. At the end of the seven days Jacob received Rachel as his wife: but he had to serve Laban for her other seven years. Though the blame in the matter rests with Laban rather than Jacob, who must have regarded Rachel as his true wife, we shall see, as in the case of Abraham, the unhappiness and jealousy which too often attended such double unions.

31. Hated] The word means no more than that Jacob preferred Rachel: see Genesis 29:30.

32-35. Reuben] 'behold, a son.' But the writer derives the name from Raah beonyi, 'looked on my affliction': see on Genesis 4:1. Simeon] 'hearing.' Levi 'joined.' Judah] 'praise.'

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Genesis 29:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/genesis-29.html. 1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, August 5th, 2020
the Week of Proper 13 / Ordinary 18
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