Genesis 29 Commentary
Why did Jacob weep aloud? Was it meant to draw sympathy? We know Jacob, so we are entitled to question this act. See how in verse 10 Jacob begins to work for favors. Talk of a prince and heir to the blessing! Again contrast this situation with Isaac’s elevated position. My master’s wife Sarah has borne him a son in her old age, and he has given him everything he owns.
Genesis 24:36 NIV
Isaac inherited wealth and honor.
and asked the servant, “Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?” “He is my master,” the servant answered. So she took her veil and covered herself.
Genesis 24:65 NIV
Abraham’s most senior servant addresses Isaac as master because that’s what he was. But here we have Jacob in a very bad position. So when we see him crying and watering Laban’s sheep we know it has nothing to do with generosity. Jacob’s mind is that he has to work for everything. The word blessing is not spelt like that. But we all know why.
Laban wasn’t as bad as we think. Jacob named his own wages. When asked what he thought his salary would be, Jacob said, “Rachel per seven years” – the way one would say, “$500 per month”. The only thing Laban did was to sell Leah at the same amount as Rachel, without even considering inflation! Jacob would work for 14 years for the two women. What a mess! Jacob is deceived by Laban. Can we say the LORD wants Jacob to experience the pain of deceit in the hope the he will get back to righteousness? Regardless, Jacob gets to test his own medicine.
Comparison between Isaac and his son Jacob is interesting. Isaac showed up at the in-laws with a delegation led by the chief servant. Isaac’s delegation is served by Rebekah at the well. Rebekah is given jewelry in return and much more gold when she agreed to marry Isaac. Jacob on the other hand shows up with a delegation of himself. He begins to serve at the well and had nothing to give out. He names his own bride price and it comes in terms of hard labor for seven years (a price he imposed on himself) having had nothing else of value to offer.
This passage speaks to us on the need to understand that the LORD’S blessings are not for sale and that you actually don’t have to work for them. The LORD blessed man with man doing anything. It pleased the LORD to have it that way.
Four sons are born by Leah, the unloved.