Jacob's Wives and Family  
Genesis Twenty Nine


          God promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob a large family with many descendants. He said, “I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 28:13-14) God helped Jacob to quickly find the people he was looking for. When he arrived near Haran he met Rachel the daughter of Laban, Rebekah’s brother. He was excited to meet her. He seemed to have loved her immediately. He moved a large stone from the well by himself and assisted her in watering the sheep. Abraham’s servant had found Rebekah by a well in that same general area. Very soon after that Isaac was married to Rebekah. Likely Jacob had heard the story and was hoping for the same result. Abraham’s servant had brought valuable gifts, but all Jacob brought was his staff and a willingness to work.  Jacob stayed with Laban for a month. Then he agreed to work for him for 7 years for the privilege of marrying Rachel. After 7 years the wedding was arranged. Sadly, Laban was not an honest man. He knew about God but he was not truly serving God. Laban cheated Jacob and gave him Leah instead of Rachel for his wife. Jacob’s excuse was that this was done because of the custom of the younger not marrying before the older had married. In a week Jacob was given Rachel for seven more years of work. Jacob is now married to sisters. Later, God’s law did not allow a man to marry sisters. (Leviticus 18:18) God watched over Jacob and his family as a great nation was being built. Jacob never really loved Leah like he did Rachel. But, “when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, He opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.” In Genesis 29 we read of God giving Leah four sons, Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah. Later she bore him 3 more sons and a daughter.


          Jacob went in search of Laban’s house -- Genesis 29:1-8: Genesis 29 opens with the thought, “Jacob went on his journey.” Life may be difficult and you may not know all the answers but just continue on your journey toward heaven. Never, ever turn back to the world. As you travel along your earthly journey do not fail to look around and see all the blessings that God sends. When Jacob looked he saw “a well where shepherds took their sheep for water.” Three shepherds were waiting to water their sheep, but there was an obstacle. The well was covered with a large rock. When you face an obstacle in life don’t just sit there. When facing an obstacle get up and do something. Jacob was excited when he found out that these shepherds were from Haran. He was even happier when he learned that Laban was well and his daughter Rachel was coming with the sheep. Jacob 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.” The shepherds made an excuse saying, “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.” (Genesis 29:8) People need to stop making excuses; they need to take responsibility and get up and do what needs to be done in life. God’s blessings are many and God has now blessed Jacob as He did Abraham’s servant years before.


          Jacob met Rachel and watered her sheep -- Genesis 29:9-14: As Jacob continued to talk to the men, his cousin Rachel came up with her father’s sheep. No doubt Jacob thought immediately that this might be his wife. Rachel was beautiful and her humble spirit touched the heart of Jacob. Jacob worked to build a relationship with Rachel from the beginning. First, he served her. “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.” (Genesis 29:10) Second he identified himself to her. He kissed Rachel and cried because he was so happy. He told her that he was the son of Rebekah. Rachel was very excited and so she ran and told her father, Laban about him. As soon as “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.” (Genesis 29:13) Likely Laban was thinking about all the gifts that had been brought by Abraham’s servant when his sister went to be the wife of Isaac. Laban claimed Jacob as his kinsman. He said, “Surely thou art my bone and my flesh.”


          Jacob married to both Leah and Rachel -- Genesis 29:15-30: After Jacob had been there for a month Laban said that even though he was his relative he should not have to work for him for nothing. He asked Jacob, “What do you want me to give you?” Laban had two daughters, Leah and Rachel. Leah was the older of the two daughters. The Bible describes her as being tender eyed. Rachel was beautiful and well favored. Jacob loved Rachel and was willing to become a bond servant for seven years, in order to have her for his wife. Laban said, “It’s better for me to let you marry Rachel than for someone else to have her. So stay and work for me.” However, we must remember that Laban was not an honest man. Jacob worked seven years for Laban in order to have Rachel. The time flew by in his mind. It seemed like only a few days, because he loved Rachel so much. When the seven years passed Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her.” Laban gave a large wedding feast and invited all their neighbors. Remember, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7) Jacob had been a deceiver and now he becomes the deceived. On the night of the wedding Laban brought Leah to Jacob, who married her and spent the night with her. Laban also gave Zilpah to Leah as her handmaid or servant woman. Laban’s excuse was “In our country the older daughter must get married first.” Laban told Jacob to spend the week with Leah and then he would give him Rachel, but he also said Jacob would have to work another seven years. Both Laban and Jacob kept their word about this agreement. Laban let Jacob marry Rachel, and he gave her Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid. Jacob loved Rachel more than he did Leah, but to Jacob’s credit he did work another seven years for Laban.


          Leah bore children for Jacob -- Genesis 29:31-35: The Lord has ways of blessing people who are mistreated. “The Lord knew that Jacob loved Rachel more than he did Leah, and so he gave children to Leah, but not to Rachel.” The King James Version says, “And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.” (Genesis 29:31) This means that Jacob felt and showed less affection for Leah than for her sister. Reuben was Jacob’s first born child. Leah said, “Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.” Their second son was named Simeon. Leah said God gave her this second son because He had heard that Jacob loved Rachael more than he loved her. Leah conceived a third time and bore a son named Levi. Leah said, “Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons.” From Levi came the priestly tribe in Israel. Leah had another son and named him Judah. She said, “I will praise the Lord!” Jesus was born from the tribe of Judah. “And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” (Revelation 5:5-6)


          Jacob and Laban remind us of one of God’s most provable laws. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7) Thank God, we can be forgiven of all of our ungodly acts. To become a part of God's spiritual family, the church you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus as the Christ (Mark 16:16), repent of all sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10) and be baptized for remission of sins. (Acts 2:38) After baptism remain faithful to God. (Revelation 2:10) Remember to treat people like you want to be treated. “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” (Luke 6:31)