Dramatic Birth of a Kingdom | Genesis 29
09/13/19 04:16 PM Genesis
What we are going to read today is arguably one of those most dramatic love stories ever told, next to the Song of Solomon. It is the story of Rachel & Jacob. Chapters like this, if we had more good people in Hollywood, could be made into a Blockbuster Movie. The story has all of the elements in it to captivate our attention causing us to want more.
But it is more than just a love story, it is the history of the man whom God chose to establish His kingdom on earth – i.e. the kingdom of Israel. In the beginning of this chapter Jacob is just one man traveling a long distance to look for a wife from among his own kindred. But through the kinavery of his uncle Laban and God’s overseeing providence, Jacob ends up with two wives and two concubines that will produce for him children, that would become God’s chosen nation.
And like all other historical accounts in the Bible, there are always hidden truths veiled within these simple to read stories. Perhaps you will discover some as we begin reading.
JACOB MEETS RACHELGenesis 29:1 Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.
People of the east- Towards the area known as Turkey today. Probably took Jacob about 15 days.
Genesis 29:2 And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone was upon the well's mouth.
Three flocks of sheep- Why the detail? Oftentimes there is a spiritual lesson in cases like this. Jesus said out of his belly comes waters of life (John 7:38) and there was a great stone that covered his tomb (Matt. 27:60).
Genesis 29:3 And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well's mouth in his place.
I assume they kept this large stone covering the opening of the well to keep the waters pure and clean. I don’t know what other purpose it would serve.
Rolled the stone etc.- The great stone was removed from Jesus’ tomb after he resurrected and the sheep of Jesus were later filled with the Holy Spirit.
Genesis 29:4 And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we.
Haran- Where Turkey is today.
Genesis 29:5 And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him.
Laban- Rebekah’s brother and Abraham’s nephew.
Genesis 29:6 And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.
Genesis 29:7 And he 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.
Genesis 29:8 And they said, 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.
Evidently, this task usually took several men. Maybe the stone was also put there to guard the well?
Genesis 29:9 And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep: for she kept them.
Notice women did work back in these times. Rachel was a shepherd girl. Most of the prominent people in the Bible were hard workers or warriors. God doesn’t choose lazy, soft people.
Genesis 29:10 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.
Man, I tell you what. Rachel must have really been something that Jacob had to show off like this.
Genesis 29:11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.
Wow, don’t try this today. The girl might think you are kind of strange. No doubt after living all his life among the Canaanites, meeting his own kindred must have been such an exciting thing.
Genesis 29:12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's brother, and that he was Rebekah's son: and she ran and told her father.
Laban was Jacob’s uncle.
Genesis 29:13 And it came to pass, when 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 29:14 And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month.
Bone and my flesh- Today we say you’re my flesh and blood. Family ties are important. There is just something special about family.
Genesis 29:15 And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be?
This was a decent thing for Laban to do. He wasn’t all that bad of a guy. He valued family and at least wanted to start out doing right by Jacob.
Genesis 29:16 And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.
Genesis 29:17 Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.
Tender eyed evidently meant that she wasn’t very good looking while Rachel was very beautiful.
Genesis 29:18 And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.
Why not 2 years or 6 years? Well, when it comes to working the land or working as a servant time is often divided up into increments of 7 years. For example, Israelites who offered themselves up as slaves to other Israelite families were to be released after 7 years. It was a seven year commitment. Farmers were to work their fields for six years and let it rest on the seventh.
Genesis 29:19 And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me.
Genesis 29:20 And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.
Time flies when you are enjoying yourself or you have a goal you are trying to reach. As we can see with Jacob here seven years seemed like a few days to him!
It’s always important to work for a purpose. Those who have no goals when working end up not having their heart into the work. They are just looking at the clock waiting to be done. Let us not be like that. We should always assign a purpose to our work.
However you may say, “I’m not serving to get a beautiful wife, I already have one. I’m just working to pay the bills.” But you can still make it purposeful by setting goals. Instead of working seven years for a wife you could say in 7 years I’m going to be completely debt free besides a mortgage payment. Then you could break those 7 years down into 1-Year segments. Say at the end of 1 year I’m going to pay off $1,000 of credit card debt, or I’m going to get my car loan paid off. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to have specific goals for your work. Without goals, work becomes nothing but endless cycles of the same thing with no end in sight.
There is something powerful about setting goals. It’s motivating. And when you are motivated you work harder. When you work harder you produce more. When you produce more, you get paid more. When you get paid more, you reach your goals. And when you reach your goals you learn to enjoy your work. You’re going somewhere and not just spinning your wheels.
Genesis 29:21 And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her.
Sounds pretty straightforward. He has waited a long time for this.
Genesis 29:22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast.
Genesis 29:23 And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her.
Genesis 29:24 And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid.
Genesis 29:25 And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?
I wonder if drinking had something to do with Jacob not recognizing that this wasn’t Rachel.
Genesis 29:26 And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.
Probably made this up. He just wanted to keep Jacob serving him.
Genesis 29:27 Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.
Genesis 29:28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.
Genesis 29:29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid.
Genesis 29:30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.
Genesis 29:31 And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.
God is in control of opening or shutting wombs.
Genesis 29:32 And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.
Genesis 29:33 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon.
Genesis 29:34 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi.
Genesis 29:35 And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.
Notes about Leah probably being the better wife. God is in control.