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Bible Commentaries

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Genesis 29

GENESIS CHAPTER 29

Jacob comes to the well of Haran, Genesis 29:1-3; inquires of the shepherds concerning Laban, Genesis 29:4-8.

They show him Rachel, Laban's daughter, coming with the sheep, Genesis 29:9.

Jacob goeth near to her; waters the flock, Genesis 29:10; tells her who he was, Genesis 29:12.

She tells it her father, who brings him to his house, hears what had happened to him, Genesis 29:12-14.

They bargain that Jacob should serve seven years for Rachel, Genesis 29:15-19.

He performs his service, and desires her to be given him, Genesis 29:20-21.

Laban makes a feast, and invites all the men of the place, Genesis 29:22; and puts Leah, his eldest daughter, in the room of Rachel, Genesis 29:23-26.

Jacob obtains Rachel, promising other seven years' service, Genesis 29:27-30.

Rachel is beloved and barren; Leah hated, and bears Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Genesis 29:31-35.

Verse 1

Heb. Jacob lift up his feet; which may note either the gesture of his body, that he went on foot; or the temper of his mind, that he went not sadly and unwillingly, drawing his legs after him, as we use to say, but readily and cheerfully, being encouraged by God's word.

The land of the people of the east; which lay eastward from Canaan, as Mesopotamia did.

Verse 2

They, i.e. the people belonging to that place, watered; or, the flocks were watered; it is an impersonal speech.

A great stone was upon the well’s mouth, to preserve the water, which was scarce in those parts, and to keep it pure.

Verse 4

He calls them

my brethren, partly in token of respect and affection, and partly because they were of the same nature and employment with himself.

Verse 6

According to the manner of those times, Exodus 2:16; Song of Solomon 1:7,Song of Solomon 1:8, when humility, innocency, simplicity, and industry were in fashion, both among men and women of great quality. There are some that quarrel with the Scripture, and question the truth of such relations, because they judge of the state of ancient times and things by the present age, whereby they discover great folly and deep ignorance of the state of former ages.

Verse 7

Neither is it time that the cattle should be taken from their pasture, and brought to be watered.

Verse 8

Either because of the greatness of the stone, which they could not remove till more help came; or rather because of the custom, order, and agreement made amongst themselves about it.

We cannot, to wit, rightly; or we may not, as that word is used, Genesis 34:14; Genesis 43:32; Genesis 44:26.

Verse 9

Having probably other shepherds under her, who did the meaner offices, whom she was to oversee.

Verse 10

Either with the assistance of others, or by himself, he being then strong and lusty, and putting forth all his might before Rachel.

Verse 11

Jacob kissed Rachel, as the custom of friends then was, both at their first meeting, as Genesis 29:13; Genesis 33:4; Exodus 4:27; Exodus 18:7, and at their departure, as Ruth 1:14; 1 Samuel 20:41; 1 Kings 19:20.

Wept tears of joy, like those Genesis 33:4, at the gracious providence of God to him, which had brought him safe to his desired place, and so happily and strangely conducted him to that person and family which was so desirable and dear to him.

Verse 12

Her father’s brother; his near kinsman; as that word is frequently used, as Genesis 13:8; Genesis 24:27.

Verse 13

The tidings of Jacob; the report of his father’s family, of the cause of his coming in so mean circumstances, of the occurrences in his journey, and of his providential meeting with Rachel at the well.

Verse 14

Thou art my bone and my flesh; of the same bone and flesh with myself, by our common grandfather Terah, and therefore art justly dear to me, and with me thou shalt be in safety. See the same or like expression, Genesis 2:23; Judges 9:2; 2 Samuel 19:12,2 Samuel 19:13.

Verse 17

Leah was tender-eyed; her eyes were soft and moist, and therefore unsightly.

Verse 18

It being then the custom for men to buy their wives. See Genesis 34:12; Exodus 22:17; 1 Samuel 18:25; 2 Samuel 3:14; Hosea 3:2

Verse 19

An ambiguous and crafty answer, wherein he doth not directly grant his desire, but only insinuates it in such terms as might hide his design, which the event showed.

Verse 20

He speaks not of the time, which in such cases seems long, Proverbs 13:12, but of the service of that time, which seemed but little, and far below the worth of Rachel.

Verse 21

[1753]

Give me my wife; so she was by promise and contract; persons betrothed or espoused being oft called wives in Scripture, as Matthew 1:18,Matthew 1:20; Luke 2:5.

My days are fulfilled, the seven years of service agreed upon, Genesis 29:18.

Verse 22

His kindred and neighbours, according to the custom. See Judges 14:10,Judges 14:11; John 2:1,John 2:2, &c. He gathered a great number together, both that the marriage might be more solemn and public, and that Jacob might be overawed by their presence and authority, and not dare to disannul the marriage, and reject Leah afterwards, which otherwise he might have done.

Verse 23

The occasion of the deceit was the custom of those times, which was to bring the bride to her husband in the dark, and with a veil upon her face: see Genesis 24:65. And Leah being instructed by her father, and confederate with him in the deceit, was, doubtless, careful not to discover herself by speech, or any other way, to him.

Verse 25

Though Laban could not solidly answer the question, yet Jacob could do it, and had just cause to reflect upon his own former action of beguiling his father; for which God had now punished him in the same kind.

Verse 26

This seems to be a false pretence; but if it had been true, custom is to give place to justice, by which he was obliged to perform his contract with him.

Verse 27

Fulfil her week, the seven days usually devoted to the feast and solemnity of marriage, as Judges 14:12,Judges 14:15,Judges 14:17. And this he desired, that a week’s cohabitation with Leah might either knit his affections to her, or at least confirm the contract and marriage with her.

Verse 28

It was not so strange that Laban should give, as that Jacob should take, not only two wives, but two sisters to wife, which seems to be against the law of nature, and was expressly forbidden by God afterward, Leviticus 18:18; though it be also true that God might dispense with his own institution, or permit such things in the patriarchs upon special reasons, which are not to be drawn into example.

Verse 31

Leah was hated comparatively to Rachel, less loved, slighted. So that word is oft used, as Deuteronomy 21:15; Matthew 6:24; Matthew 10:37, compared with Luke 14:26; John 12:25. Thus variously doth God distribute his favours, that all may be contented and none despised.

Verse 32

The Lord hath looked upon my affliction with an eye of pity and kindness, as that general phrase is oft understood.

Verse 33

The Lord hath heard, i.e. perceived or understood; hearing being oft put for understanding.

Verse 34

This time will my husband be joined unto me in more sincere and fervent affection.

Verse 35

Now will I praise the Lord more solemnly and continually; for otherwise she did praise and acknowledge God for the former mercies. cir. 1749

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Genesis 29". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mpc/genesis-29.html. 1685.