Light two candles.
When Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s
brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, 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.
— Genesis 29:10-11
A PURE BRIDE FOR A PURE NATION
As Jacob was getting ready to flee from his brother Esau, he received some last-minute instructions from his father about where to go. The Bible says in Genesis 28:1-2, “So Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and charged him, and said to him, ‘You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father; and from there take to yourself a wife from the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother.’” Isaac is basically insisting that Jacob take a wife of pure
blood from a specific family instead of marrying an unclean Canaanite. Isaac also blesses Jacob with the
covenant that was promised to Abraham and himself. Jacob will now be the one through whom the nations of the Earth will be blessed. Genesis 28:4 says, “May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham.” Wow!
First Jacob receives the birthright, then the blessing, and now the covenant promises of Abraham, even though he supplanted his brother and deceived his father. Talk about the undeserved kindness of God!
THE SHOW OFF
Have you ever seen a guy show off to impress a girl? It can be a little embarrassing, can’t it? One day, I (Martin) was walking with my son on the treadmills at the gym. A man waltzed in with headphones
on, singing out loud, and chose a treadmill by some pretty young ladies. He was definitely trying to be cool; he raised his voice and kept bringing attention to his muscles. Suddenly, he lost his balance, dumped his water bottle, fell hard, and flew off the end of the treadmill! Well, things go a little better for Jacob when he decides to show off than they did for the guy at the gym. When Jacob arrives at his destination, he comes to a large watering hole. The Bible is pretty specific about the details concerning the well: “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 29:2-3). Notice the key words “they would then roll the stone from the mouth of the well” (emphasis mine). Apparently, under normal circumstances, it took more than one person to move the stone. Genesis 29:10-11 says, “When Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, 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” (emphasis mine). What an introduction! Jacob, in a show of strength, moved the stone by himself, watered the sheep, and then kissed Rachel before he said anything to her!
Do you think he may have been coming on a little too strong? Guys have been known to show off for the woman they love. Jacob was no exception. Jacob was also obeying his father’s command to seek out a pure wife. Rachel was part of the extended family. This was incredibly important for the Israelites of the future. Israel would later be warned time and time again not to marry Canaanites. Deuteronomy 7:1-4 explains that intermarrying with Canaanites would “turn [the Israelites] from following [God] to serve other gods” which would kindle “the anger of the LORD against [the Israelites]” and prompt God to
“quickly destroy” them. Even though Moses and many others would marry foreign wives, as time went on in the Old Testament, the list of banned nations grew from the seven Canaanite nations to encompass all the foreign wives that the Judeans had married during the Babylonian exile. In fact, the Judeans were forced to divorce those wives (Ezra 10:11)!
A TASTE OF HIS OWN MEDICINE
Jacob wanted to marry Rachel so badly that he agreed to work for her father, Laban, for seven years. After Jacob completed the seven years of work, Laban deceitfully gave Jacob Rachel’s sister, Leah, instead. Jacob, the supplanter, was supplanted! Laban eventually gave Rachel away to Jacob, but this second marriage cost Jacob seven more years of labor. The love story ends with a twist. In fact,
even though both women were Jacob’s wives, Genesis 29:31 reveals that Jacob did not love Leah. Laban may have tricked Jacob into marrying the wrong daughter, but he couldn’t make Jacob love her.
Leah may have been unloved by Jacob, but not by God. In fact, God would use Leah to be the mother of six of the tribes of the nation of Israel. Leah’s sons were: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun.
- When Jacob left home, what instructions did
Isaac give his son about picking out a wife?
- Why do you think Isaac didn’t want Jacob to
marry outside of their tribe?
- What do we know about the well that Jacob
came upon with the shepherds?
- How was Jacob kind of a show-off for Rachel?
- How was the supplanter supplanted?
- Why do you think Leah was unloved by Jacob?
Was she unloved by God?
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
“Lord, we thank you for your love for us, that while we were yet
sinners, Christ died for us. We pray that you would help us
experience your love on a deeper, more personal level. Thank yo