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the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 29

Bridgeway Bible CommentaryBridgeway Bible Commentary

Verses 1-30


Jacob’s marriages (28:10-29:30)

Before Jacob left Canaan, God appeared to him in a dream. In spite of Jacob’s shameful behaviour, God repeated to him the covenant promises given earlier to Abraham and Isaac, promising also to bring him back safely to Canaan (10-15; cf. 12:1-3; 26:24). In return for God’s favour to him, Jacob promised to be loyal in his devotion and generous in his offerings. He named the place where he met God, Bethel (16-22).
From Bethel Jacob journeyed on and finally reached Haran. He first met his cousin Rachel at a well, and she took him home to her father Laban (29:1-14). Laban was as deceitful with Jacob as Jacob had been with Isaac. When Jacob had worked for Laban seven years as payment of the bride price for Rachel, Laban gave him the older daughter Leah instead. After the week-long wedding celebrations for Jacob and Leah were over, Laban gave Rachel to Jacob as a second wife, but only on the condition that Jacob worked an additional seven years as payment of the second bride price. According to custom, each wife received a slave-girl as a wedding gift (15-30; cf. 24:59).

Verses 31-35

Children born in Haran (29:31-30:24)

Jacob’s coolness to Leah created unhappiness in his household. Leah’s desire for Jacob’s love is seen in the names she gave her first four sons (31-35). Rachel, feeling ashamed that she had not yet produced a child herself, gave her slave-girl to Jacob so that the slave-girl might produce a son whom Rachel could adopt as her own. The result was two sons (30:1-8; cf. 16:1-4). Leah, believing she was not able to have any more children, did the same, and soon Jacob had two more sons (9-13).
When Leah obtained some mandrakes (plants used to make a medicine that people believed helped a woman become pregnant), Rachel bought them from her at the price of giving her a night with Jacob. Rachel’s bitterness increased when she found that the mandrakes did not help her, whereas Leah had another son. Leah soon afterwards had yet another son (her sixth) and then a daughter (14-21). Finally Rachel had a son, Jacob’s eleventh (22-24).

Bibliographical Information
Fleming, Donald C. "Commentary on Genesis 29". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/genesis-29.html. 2005.
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