Summary of passage: Jacob travels to Paddan Aram and immediately meets Laban’s shepherds watering their sheep. He helps them water the sheep by pushing the stone from the well. Rachel who is a shepherdess and Laban’s daughter arrives. Jacob kisses her and tells her he is Rebekah’s son (so they are cousins). She ran home to tell her father Laban who welcomes Jacob as his own.
Jacob agrees to work for Laban for seven years in return for Rachel’s hand in marriage. It seems as only a few days to him his love was so great for her. But on the marriage night, Laban tricks Jacob into sleeping with Leah. Jacob realized in the morning what had happened. Laban told him the custom was he had to take the older daughter first and then the younger daughter. And if he still wanted Rachel, he’d have to work another 7 years.
Jacob agreed and gained Rachel as a wife whom he loved more than Leah.
3) You can see God’s fingerprints everywhere. The servant found Rebekah easily as the well. She came up to the servant and happened to be from Laban’s family. Jacob happened upon Laban’s servants and lo and behold Rachel shows up and Jacob falls in love with her. God is in control here. Neither incident happened by accident.
4) Personal Question. My answer: No. It doesn’t seem so. It seems to me as if they obeyed Laban out of daughterly duty. I would imagine Rachel loved Jacob as much as he loved her so she was probably upset about it. Not sure about Leah. She might have been willing if she had no other suitors or if she herself loved Jacob as well.
5a) Jacob pretended to be Esau by dressing up as him and Leah pretended to be Rachel in a similar manner. Jacob exchanged the younger for the older. Laban exchanged the older for the younger.
b) Personal Question. My answer: Cheating, lying, and deception are no way to live your life. That what he did to Esau, although God’s will, was the wrong way to go about gaining God’s favor. Cheating and lies have a heavy cost and take a huge toll on relationships. That honesty is the best policy and is God’s way.
c) Personal Question. My answer: Haven’t learned anything new about deception. I just try to be honest and up front with people. Never take the short route for a minimal game. The price is too high. Be honorable. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. You don’t want to be cheated so don’t cheat others.
d) Psalm 15: “He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart…who keeps his oath..will never be shaken.”
Proverbs 12:22: “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.”
Proverbs 19:1: “Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a fool whose lips are perverse.”
Proverbs 6:16-20: “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: a lying tongue…a heart that devises wicked schemes…a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.”
2 Corinthians 8:21: “For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.”
Others: 1 Peter 3:10-12, Philippians 4:8-9, John 8:32, Hebrews 13:18, Proverbs 11:3, Colossians 3:9
God honors those who are truthful. Deception is from the devil and only causes heartache. It’s just not worth it. I’m encouraged by how much honesty is talked about in the Bible. That tells me just how important it is to God that you are upright, righteous, and full of integrity. You follow Him and not the world.
Conclusions: I enjoyed looking up honesty in the Bible. I would hope living a life full of integrity is ingrained in all of us, but alas I know that not to be true. If you struggle, with honesty, please pray. God will change your heart.
Keep the Golden Rule in mind that Jesus spoke and was recorded in Matthew 7:12: “So in EVERYTHING, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
It’s hard for our culture to imagine Rachel and Leah going along with Laban’s plot but it was expected and demanded in ancient times. We must honor our father and mother but not if it goes against God’s word. Luckily, we have that right today to stand up and say, “No, I can’t do that because it’s a sin.” But in ancient times, you had to submit. No matter how sinful your father’s plan was.
I had to wonder (assuming Leah may have protested the arrangement), why would Leah want to marry Jacob, someone who didn’t love her? Either she didn’t think anyone else would marry her or she loved him herself. Either way she sinned as well either complicityly or complyingly.