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I Led Two Wives (Genesis 29:1-30)

Introduction

Although not from the proverbial horse’s mouth, I heard a story which has the ring of truth to it. A classic car lover was looking for a particular model of Studebaker. In the normal course of his scanning the newspaper, he saw an ad that seemed impossible to believe. Just the car he wanted was advertised, but for a mere $100. Knowing the car should have sold for thousands, he concluded that the car was either in a basket, or there was a misprint. Finally his curiosity got the best of him and he called. A woman answered the phone and assured him that the car was in excellent shape and that there was no mistake about the price.

With the scent of a bargain in the air the car connoisseur hurried over to investigate. To his delight the car proved to be everything the woman reported it to be. It was beautiful. Of course he told her that he would take it—for $100. Twinges of guilt finally became so strong that the man had to confess to the woman, “Ma’am, I have to tell you that this car is worth far more than $100. You should get much more than that for this automobile.” “Oh, I know that,” she replied, “but you see my husband has left me to run off with his secretary. He sent me the title to the car and told me to sell it and send him the money. That’s what I intend to do with the $100.”

It is difficult to hear a story like this without savoring the taste of poetic justice that it contains. I think that most of us get that same feeling when we read Genesis 29. Jacob, the double-dealer, gets a double deal. Jacob, the deceiver, gets outwitted by his uncle Laban. We suppose that Leah was some kind of defective model of womanhood who should have been subject to a factory recall, and we are amused to find that he has to spend the rest of his life stuck with her, although he finally does get to marry the girl he loves.

I would like to challenge much of our interpretation of this chapter, for it does not seem that our conclusions fit the facts, only our desire to watch Jacob get what he deserves. There is that element, of course, but it is not the main theme of the story. Let us approach this episode in the life of Jacob with a view to the gracious dealings of God in the life of this patriarch-to-be.

Love at First Sight
(29:1-12)

Jacob left Bethel with a lightness in his step236 and a new lease on life. Before his encounter with God, he could only refer to his father’s God as “your God” (27:20). Now, Yahweh was Jacob’s God (28:21). He had seen the vision of the ladder from heaven and heard the promise of God of His presence, provision, and protection. He had the assurance of his return to the land and the blessings of Abraham (28:10-17). There was a new sense of direction, a new hope, and a new meaning to life. He was still going on to Haran, but God was with him.

Then Jacob went on his journey, and came to the land of the sons of the east. And he looked, and saw a well in the field, and behold, three flocks of sheep were lying there beside it, for from that well they watered the flocks. Now the stone on the mouth of the well was large. When all the flocks were gathered there, they would then roll the stone from the mouth of the well, and water the sheep, and put the stone back in its place on the mouth of the well (Genesis 29:1-3).

As he approached Haran, Jacob came upon a well which was in a field. It was a different well, I believe, from that one to which the servant of Abraham came (cf. Genesis 24:11). That well was a spring located outside the city to which the women came to draw drinking water (24:11,13). The well to which Jacob came was one in a field well away from the city, and it was more of a cistern from which the cattle drank directly. This well was covered by a large stone, which tended to keep it from being polluted or filled with sand. Perhaps more importantly, it restricted the use of that well to particular times and only to authorized persons. The shepherds, perhaps young lads, sat about the well waiting for the time when they could water their sheep. Jacob engaged these shepherds in conversation:

And Jacob said to them, “My brothers, where are you from?” And they said, “We are from Haran.” And he said to them, “Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?” And they said, “We know him.” And he said to them, “Is it well with him?” And they said, “It is well, and behold, Rachel his daughter is coming with the sheep” (Genesis 29:4-6).

Jacob wanted to learn how far he was from his destination. The shepherds’ response told him he was very near to Haran. His question about Laban’s welfare was not academic. He had a vital interest in the present state of affairs in Laban’s family. To some degree, the success of his journey could be measured by the shepherds’ reply. To Jacob’s relief Laban was doing well, and, more than this, he had a daughter who was to arrive at the well soon. It was best to wait for her to be directed to his home.

In the meantime, Jacob inquired about a matter which struck him as quite unusual:

And he said, “Behold, it is still high day; it is not time for the livestock to be gathered. Water the sheep, and go pasture them.” But they said, “We cannot, until all the flocks are gathered, and they roll the stone from the mouth of the well; then we water the sheep” (Genesis 29:7-8).

The sheep would not be gathered in for the night until much later, as it was still early in the day. It made little sense to Jacob for these shepherds to be sitting about the well waiting until later to water their sheep when they could water them now and take them back to pasture for several hours. The practical thing to do was to water the sheep now and not to wait until later.

The shepherds were not at all impressed by the question or informed as to the care of sheep. Indeed, his question may have seemed foolish to them. Of course Jacob was right. Even these boys knew that sheep grew faster grazing on the grassland rather than standing about the well where the grass had long before been consumed. However, the well was not, it seems, to be used at their convenience.

A well was a valuable resource, much as an oil well would be today. As such, it had to belong to somebody, and that person would prescribe how and when the well was to be used, and probably at what price. The agreement between the well owner and the shepherds seems to be that the well could be used once a day. The shepherds must first be gathered at the well with their flocks. Then the owner or his hired servants (“they,” verse 8) would roll the large stone away and the sheep could be watered, perhaps in the order that the flocks arrived. This would explain why the shepherds and their flocks were there so early. In this way, what was most profitable (this is what Jacob’s question was getting at) was not practical. The owner’s stipulations must be adhered to.

During the course of this conversation Rachel arrived. With this, Jacob had little interest in the shepherd boys, for she was a relative and a lovely young girl:

While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess. And it came about, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went up, and rolled the stone from the mouth of the well, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted his voice and wept. And Jacob told Rachel that he was a relative of her father and that he was Rebekah’s son, and she ran and told her father (Genesis 29:9-12).

Some commentators actually suggest that Jacob suggested to the shepherds that they water their sheep immediately in order to get rid of them before Rachel arrived so that he could meet her alone.237 This hardly seems to be the case. He would not have known her age or beauty and surely would have wanted to meet her under proper circumstances.

I am, however, interested in the sequence of events that occurred when Jacob and Rachel met. I would have expected Jacob to introduce himself first, then to kiss her, and finally to water her sheep. Just the reverse is reported.238 First Jacob watered the sheep of Laban, casting aside any consideration of what he had been told by the shepherds. Then he kissed her—the first instance of “kissing cousins.” Finally, he introduced himself as her relative. If this order of events is correct, Jacob cast all convention aside, and Rachel might have been somewhat swept off her feet by such a romantic gesture. All of this, I must remind you, is reading considerably between the lines.

And so the two have met. It may not have been “love at first sight,” but it could have been. The meeting of these two sets the stage for the next phase of their relationship.

Seven Years Till Wedding Night
(29:13-20)

When Rachel ran home with her report of meeting Jacob, Laban was quick to respond:

So it came about, when Laban heard the news of Jacob his sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him and kissed him, and brought him to his house. Then he related to Laban all these things. And Laban said to him, “Surely you are my bone and my flesh.” And he stayed with him a month (Genesis 29:13-14).

Laban’s greeting suggests no more to me than the fact that he extended the normal hospitality which should have been expected, especially for a near relative.239 Jacob, we are told, “related to Laban all these things” (verse 13). We might wonder what “these things” were. We should reasonably expect that Jacob reported about his family and their health. Primarily, Laban would have wished to know about his sister Rebekah. I think that Jacob also reported the events which led to his journey to Paddan-aram, including the deception of his father. I would imagine that Jacob would also have mentioned that he came to seek a wife. This report was sufficient for Laban to be convinced that Jacob was who he claimed to be and, therefore, a near kin to him. This close proximity of relationship was not without its significance to Laban,240 but later events will suggest this more convincingly.

Jacob’s month-long stay with Laban had at least two results. First, it brought Jacob and Rachel into close contact and helped to kindle a deep affection for each other. Jacob now had a reason to stay with Laban. And as for Laban, this month proved Jacob to be a most valuable worker. While Jacob possessed nothing but the promise of future wealth and blessing, he was a good worker. He would make a fine son-in-law and could stay on to work for Laban in place of the traditional dowry. This month brought both Laban and Jacob to the conclusion that a continuing relationship between them could be of mutual advantage.

At the end of that month, Laban sought to formalize the relationship between himself and Jacob:

Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my relative, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?” (Genesis 29:15).

While Laban is not reported to have any sons at this point in time, he did have an older daughter, who was to play a crucial role in the events that were to follow:

Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the oldest was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. And Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful of form and face (Genesis 29:16-17).

Few women have been so misunderstood as Leah. Even her name does her a great disservice, for it means “wild cow.”241 The statement that she had “weak eyes” (verse 17) seems to many to portray Leah as a homely girl with pop-bottle glasses, who cannot see three feet in front of her. This kind of thinking is completely unjustified.

First, the word rendered “weak” (rak) is never used in a demeaning way, as is here suggested. Never is the term used with reference to any defect.242 For example, in Genesis 18:7 Moses used this word, and there it is translated “tender”: “Abraham also ran to the herd, and took a tender and choice calf, and gave it to the servant; and he hurried to prepare it” (emphasis added).

Moses used the word again in chapter 33 with reference to the young children, who were too frail to be hurried: “But he said to him, ‘My lord knows that the children are frail and that the flocks and herds which are nursing are a care to me. And if they are driven hard one day, all the flocks will die’” (Genesis 33:13; emphasis added).

If we are to take the word rak, which is rendered “weak” in 29:17, in its normal sense, then, we cannot think in terms of defect but in terms of delicacy. In contrast with Rachel, who may have had fire or a sparkle in her eyes, Leah had gentle eyes.

I must warn you in advance that I am inclined to go one step further than any commentator I am aware of. I think that we must also consider the meaning of the term “eyes.” Strange as it may seem, this word used for the physical organs of sight often refers to much more than the physical eye. It also depicts one’s character, just as the expression “kidneys” refers to human emotions and thoughts (cf. Psalm 7:9; 16:7; 26:2; Revelation 2:23). In the Old Testament, then, we find these kinds of references to the eyes:

And you shall consume all the peoples whom the LORD your God will deliver to you; your eye shall not pity them, neither shall you serve their gods, for that would be a snare to you (Deuteronomy 7:16).

Beware, lest there is a base thought in your heart, saying, “The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,” and your eye is hostile toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing; then he may cry to the LORD against you, and it will be a sin in you (Deuteronomy 15:9).

Perhaps the most interesting use of the word “eye” is in two verses, both of which contain the word “eye” and the word “refined” (Hebrew, rak):

The man who is refined and very delicate among you shall be hostile toward {lit. his eye shall be evil toward, margin, NASV} his brother and toward the wife he cherishes and toward the rest of his children who remain (Deuteronomy 28:54).

The refined and delicate woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground for delicateness and refinement, shall be hostile toward {lit. her eye shall be evil toward, margin, NASV} the husband she cherishes and toward her son and daughter (Deuteronomy 28:56).

It is an established fact that the eyes are used in the Old and New Testament as “shewing mental qualities” such as arrogance, humility, mockery, and pity.243 I believe that it is in this sense that the eyes of Leah are spoken of. In connection with the word rak, I would conclude that the disposition of Leah was one of gentleness and tenderness, while Rachel seems to have had a more fiery and aggressive temperament. Regardless of whether or not my conclusions are accepted, the idea of defect in Leah is highly suspect and without precedent in the scriptural use of these terms.

Rachel is characterized only by her physical attractiveness. She was “beautiful of form and face” (verse 17). Moses may be drawing our attention to this fact because it was the major source of attraction for Jacob. There seems to be, then, a significant contrast here between Rachel and Rebekah. Rebekah was selected for Isaac by Abraham’s servant on the basis of divine guidance and because of personal qualities which assured him that she would be a fine wife for Isaac. Rachel, on the other hand, was selected by Jacob for himself, but without any mention of her personal qualities, only a description of her beauty. Rebekah’s beauty was an additional plus, an unexpected fringe benefit; Rachel’s beauty was the essence of her selection. The red warning lights should already be flashing in our minds.

On this questionable basis Jacob chose Rachel, the younger, over Leah, the older, and proposed the terms of the payment of the dowry:

Now Jacob loved Rachel, so he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel” (Genesis 29:18).

Laban’s response was positive but somewhat vague:

… It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to another man; stay with me (Genesis 29:19).

I do not know for certain that Laban had already purposed to deceive Jacob by switching wives, but his response certainly left him room for it. It was positive enough for Jacob to know that his offer had been accepted. It was, I think, a premium price but one that Jacob didn’t mind paying:

So Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her (Genesis 29:20).

Nevertheless, Laban did not specify that the seven years of service would immediately or necessarily bring about a marriage to Rachel. He simply implied it, and in his romantic state of ecstasy Jacob assumed what he wished to believe.

Some suppose that at 77 years of age Jacob could have cared less about waiting seven years to marry. I would be inclined to disagree. The point of verse 20 is that Rachel was well worth the high price which Jacob had agreed to pay for her—a price measured in years of service rather than dollars. Jacob’s statement to Laban in the next verse strongly implies that he was eager and anxious to consummate the marriage for which he had long waited.

Shock at First Light
(29:21-30)

Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my time is completed, that I may go in to her” (Genesis 29:21).

It is difficult to read this verse without concluding that there was a great deal of romantic passion in that 77-year-old man. His physical desire for Rachel is certainly to be expected. Ironically, it is this physical appetite, much like Isaac’s desire for wild game (25:28; 27:3-4), that caused Jacob to act too hastily and bind himself to a life-long commitment.

And Laban gathered all the men of the place, and made a feast. Now it came about in the evening that he took his daughter Leah, and brought her to him; and Jacob went in to her. Laban also gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah as a maid. So it came about in the morning that, behold, it was Leah! And he said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served with you? Why then have you deceived me?” (Genesis 29:22-25)

It is with great discretion that Moses has described this most delicate and intimate matter. Where Hollywood would have inserted pages of elaboration Moses has given us a parenthetical statement about the maid which Laban gave his daughter. We must therefore deal with this subject in a manner which is consistent with the emphasis of the text and with standards of righteousness.

For seven years Jacob had waited for this day. His eagerness is natural and normal. At the feast he may have had sufficient wine to somewhat dull his senses. The guests would be aware of his entrance into the tent (and the matrimonial bed where Leah waited) and also of his exit, thus indicating that the marriage had been consummated by the union of the bride and groom (cf. Judges 14:10-15:2; Psalm 19:5). The same passion which dominated Jacob as he chose his bride now ruled as he entered into that tent. It is hardly a wonder that Jacob should have made the mistake that he did.

Early the next morning Jacob awoke. What a beautiful day! What a wonderful night! What an exciting future! What a shock as the sunlight burst into the tent to reveal that the woman in his arms was Leah, not Rachel! What irony that Jacob should repeat the identical words of Pharaoh to Abraham (12:18) and almost the same expression of Abimelech to Abraham (20:9) and Abimelech to Isaac (26:10): “What is this you have done to me?” While it is not recorded, it is easy to believe that Isaac also asked this of Jacob after his great deception. The shoe is now on the other foot; the deceiver has now been deceived. Those who choose to live by the sword die by it.

Laban was not taken back by Jacob’s rebuke. He had probably planned his response to this question long before this confrontation took place.

But Laban said, “It is not the practice in our place, to marry off the younger before the first-born. Complete the bridal week of this one, and we will give you the other also for the service which you shall serve with me for another seven years.” And Jacob did so and completed her week, and he gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife. Laban also gave his maid Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her maid. So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and indeed he loved Rachel more than Leah, and he served with Laban for another seven years (Genesis 29:26-30).

The end result was that Laban married off both his daughters. Also, he managed to get a premium price for both. Jacob ended up with two wives rather than one, and he worked twice as hard to get what he desired.

Conclusion

Fewer passages contain more lessons for living than this chapter. Let me suggest some of these under several headings.

The Consequences of Sin

Previously we have noted that one of the consequences of the sin of Jacob’s deceiving Isaac was his physical and emotional separation from those he loved. A second consequence is the moral parallel to Newton’s law of motion: every action has an equal and opposite reaction. In our Lord’s words, “… all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:52). Jacob chose to get ahead in life by means of deception. Jacob learned the sad lesson that those who seek to deceive shall be deceived.

The tragedy of this chapter is that all that took place was unnecessary. All we need to do is to contrast the acquisition of Rachel with that of Rebekah. The resources of Abraham made it possible for Isaac to have a wife in a very short period of time (cf. 24:54ff.). One reason for this was the fact that the servant had the dowry from the riches of Abraham, Isaac’s father. One of the consequences of Jacob’s sin was that he had to leave Canaan—to flee empty-handed. Since Jacob sinned, he was separated from the wealth of his father and had only the work of his own hands. The fourteen years of Jacob’s labor would have been unnecessary, I believe, had it not been for his deception of Isaac. Perhaps Isaac sent Jacob away without any of his wealth to teach him the value of hard work. Or perhaps it was to force Jacob to stay away a long time by working for a wife. This we do not know, but it does seem that this 14-year delay was unnecessary and purely the result of sin. What a price to pay!

There is one striking difference between the consequences of sin today and those of Jacob. Our sins, like his, separate us from God now and eternally (e.g. Psalm 66:18; II Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 20:12-15). However, while the work of Jacob’s hands was able to earn him a wife, the works of our hands cannot earn any of God’s blessings or salvation:

For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment … (Isaiah 64:6).

He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).

The good news of the gospel is that we who are sinners and cannot help ourselves can be saved by trusting in the work which Jesus Christ has done on our behalf. It is by trusting in His death as our substitute and in His righteousness that we can experience the blessings of God now and in eternity.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:8-10).

The Grace of God

Some may view the events of this chapter as God’s getting even with Jacob. Others would merely interpret them as a kind of poetic justice. I prefer to understand them as an evidence of the marvelous grace of God at work in the life of Jacob. God did not bring these events to pass to punish Jacob but to instruct him. Punishment has been born by our Savior on the cross, but discipline is the corrective training which furthers us on the path leading to godliness (cf. Hebrews 12).

Jacob learned the value of convention. The agreement which regulated the use of the well (verses 2-3, 7-8) seemed to mean little to Jacob. In the excitement of meeting Rachel he decided to use the well regardless of the rules for its use. He may also have disregarded some conventions in the way that he greeted Rachel (verses 10-12). He certainly chose to disregard the convention of marrying the first-born first. I do not believe that Laban was telling Jacob anything new but reminding him of something that could not, and should not, be taken lightly or disregarded.

In addition to all this, Jacob experienced the grace of God in the delay of 14 plus years. It was this delay which contributed to the preservation of Jacob’s life by keeping him away from the anger of Esau, who had purposed to kill him.

Amazingly, the grace of God was manifested in this event by the gift of Leah as a wife to Jacob. This is probably the last thought to cross our minds, but I believe that it is a defensible position. First, we must acknowledge that, in the providence of God (and in spite of the deceptiveness of Laban), Leah was Jacob’s wife. Furthermore, it was Leah, not Rachel, who became the mother of Judah, who was to be the heir through whom the Messiah would come (cf. 49:8-12). Also it was Levi, a son of Leah, who provided the priestly line in later years. It seems noteworthy that both Leah and her handmaid had at least twice the number of children as compared to Rachel and her maid (cf. 29:31-30:24; 46:15,18,22,25). The firstborn was always to have a double portion; and so it would seem Leah did, so far as children are concerned.

One final factor remains which evidences the superiority of Leah to Rachel. Rachel dies at an early age, yet she was the younger sister. When she died, she was buried on the way to Bethlehem (35:19). Yet when Leah died later, she was buried with Jacob in the cave at Machpelah (49:31). Leah was not a blight to Jacob but a blessing.

Guidance

How different was the process by which Isaac obtained Rebekah as a wife from that means through which Jacob acquired Rachel. Isaac was subject to his father, and it was through the wisdom of his father and his servant, through the financial means of Abraham, and through prayer that she was obtained. Jacob went off on his own with none of his father’s resources. He chose the woman with the greatest beauty and bargained with Laban for her.

To me there is no doubt but what Jacob was guided more by his hormones than any other factor. He did not pray about this matter, so far as we are told. He did not give any consideration to matters of character. He did not seek counsel. In fact, he sought to overturn the customs of the day and the preferences of Laban.

We live in a very romantically-oriented day. We find ourselves cheering for Rachel and booing Leah. God seems to have been on the other side. What is romantic is not always right—often it is wrong. Romanticism caused Jacob to use the well when and how he saw fit, regardless of the rules set by the owner. Romanticism led Jacob to chose Rachel, not Leah. Romanticism so controlled Jacob that under its spell he spent an entire night with the wrong woman. We must beware of those decisions which are determined by romantic impressions or feelings.

Beauty

Few things are as important to women today as beauty. Perhaps nothing is more important to men today than beauty. Rachel was a wonderfully-endowed woman. There is nothing wrong with that. Sarah was beautiful, and so was Rebekah. But outward beauty must always be considered a secondary consideration. Jacob looked at Rachel’s exterior and investigated no further into her character. The writer, King Lemuel, was not in error when he gave this counsel:

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised (Proverbs 31:30).

This same theme is prominent in the New Testament (cf. I Timothy 2:9-10; I Peter 3:1-6).

Men and boys, this is a word for us. We all want to be seen with the beautiful girls. We all have dreamed of dating them. Some have made great sacrifices to marry a showpiece. Let us look first for character, and if we find it, let us look no further. If we find character with charm and beauty, let us consider ourselves fortunate.

It was not outward beauty which made that first night such a beautiful thing between Jacob and Rachel—it was Jacob’s love for her, and (I am convinced) her love for him. It is love, not beauty, which makes for heaven in the bedroom. Let us not forget it.

Ladies, I realize that our society has placed a premium on glamour and beauty. I understand that much of your sense of self-worth is based upon your outward attractiveness and “sex appeal.” However, that is wrong. Our ultimate worth is that estimation which comes from God. God was not impressed with Rachel’s good looks. After all, He gave that to her in the first place. God looked upon the heart and blessed Leah. Her worth, while never fully realized by her husband, was great in the eyes of God. May all of us learn to be content with ourselves as God made us, and may we find our real worth in the realm of the spirit.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance, or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as men sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (I Samuel 16:7).

For who regards you as superior? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? (I Corinthians 4:7)


236 Literally, the text here reads, “Then Jacob lifted up his feet . . .”

237 W. H. Griffith Thomas, Genesis: A Devotional Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964), p. 270; C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1968), Vol. I, p. 285.

238 In the New International Version the translators attempt to correct this seeming lack of etiquette by translating verse 13, “He had told Rachel that he was a relative . . .” Perhaps so, but not necessarily. Surely the text does not demand such a rendering.

239 Leupold strains a bit to suggest that Laban’s expressions of affections were overdone: “Without a doubt, the man was glad to meet a nephew and ‘embraced him’ in all sincerity and ‘kissed him repeatedly’ with true affection. Yet the Piel stem yenashseq does not mean just ‘give a kiss’ as does the kai wayyishshoq (v. 11). Perhaps the overplus of affection displayed carries with it a trace of insincerity, for the truest affection does not make a display of itself.” H. C. Leupold, Genesis (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1942), II, p. 790.

240 At this point Laban was not reported to have any sons. He may very well have hoped to adopt Jacob as a son, making him his heir, and also providing security for himself in his old age. Such arrangements were not unusual in that time. This we shall describe more fully in a later lesson.

241 Leupold, Genesis, II, p. 793.

242 Thus Stigers states: “The comparison is with the less beautiful as the degree of contrast, not with the one who is sickly. The word rak is usually used to connote delicateness in upbringing (Deut. 28:50) and of women (28:56), not of physical defects of a pathological sort.” Harold G. Stigers, A Commentary on Genesis (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976), p. 230.

243 Francis Brown; S. R. Driver; and Charles Briggs, A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1966), p. 744.

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