Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel
Then Jacob went on his journey and came to the land of the people of the east. As he looked, he saw a well in the field, and behold, three flocks of sheep lying beside it, for out of that well the flocks were watered. The stone on the well's mouth was large, and when all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone from the mouth of the well and water the sheep, and put the stone back in its place over the mouth of the well.
Jacob said to them, “My brothers, where do you come from?” They said, “We are from Haran.” He said to them, “Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?” They said, “We know him.” He said to them, “Is it well with him?” They said, “It is well; and see, Rachel his daughter is coming with the sheep!” He said, “Behold, it is still high day; it is not time for the livestock to be gathered together. Water the sheep and go, pasture them.” But they said, “We cannot until all the flocks are gathered together and the stone is rolled from the mouth of the well; then we water the sheep.”
While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep, for she was a shepherdess. Now as soon as Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, Jacob came near and rolled the stone from the well's mouth and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother. Then Jacob kissed Rachel and wept aloud. And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's kinsman, and that he was Rebekah's son, and she ran and told her father.
As soon as Laban heard the news about Jacob, his sister's son, he ran to meet him and embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his house. Jacob told Laban all these things, and Laban said to him, “Surely you are my bone and my flesh!” And he stayed with him a month.
Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?” Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah's eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.” So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.
Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.” So Laban gathered together all the people of the place and made a feast. But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he went in to her. (Laban gave his female servant Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her servant.) And in the morning, behold, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?” Laban said, “It is not so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.” Jacob did so, and completed her week. Then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. (Laban gave his female servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her servant.) So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and served Laban for another seven years.
Understanding the text
Jacob, who deceived his own father, now experiences deception at the hand of Laban, his uncle. After greatly desiring to marry Rachel, who was beautiful, and after working seven years to earn her hand in marriage, Jacob is tricked by Laban into marrying Rachel’s sister, Leah. There is a certain irony in this twist of events. Jacob gets a taste of his own medicine. Leah, who is less desired by Jacob is precious to God. He hears and answers her cries.
However, Jacob is not satisfied. He agrees to work another seven years in order to receive Rachel as his wife. From the outside, this seems absurd. Fourteen years of labor for a wife? Yet it was not too much to require of Jacob, for he loves Rachel. Through Jacob, we see how love radically transforms the way we relate to work. (Genesis 29:20)
- John 3:16
- Leviticus 18:18
- Hebrews 12:1-2
Applying the text
- What does this story teach us about the honesty of the Bible? What details would you have left out to make this story more “respectable”?
- How might this text be misused to promote polygamy? How would you respond to such a claim?
- In what sense does Jacob shed light on the love that Jesus has for His bride, the church?
Call to Worship
I waited patiently for the LORD;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the LORD.
Blessed is the man who makes
the LORD his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after a lie!
You have multiplied, O LORD my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told. (ESV)
Prayer of Confession
All: Hear our words and our groanings, O Lord. Give attention to our cry for mercy.
Leader: You are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with You. The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all evildoers. You destroy those who speak lies; You abhor the bloodthirsty and deceitful.
All: But, O Lord, we are evildoers. We are boastful, deceitful and bloodthirsty.
Leader: By Your mercy alone, by the abundance of Your steadfast love may we enter Your house.
All: Because of Your Son, O Lord, let us find refuge in You. Take away our sins and let us sing for joy. Cover us with Your favor as with a shield. For the sake of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
March Memory Verse
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Resources for Parents
Every Sunday, the children's ministry team creates lessons that cover the scripture and concepts from a recent sermon. The teachers ask simple questions to help the kids learn to understand and apply what God says in the Bible.
We want to equip parents to talk to their kids about what they're learning. The following is the content that the children's classes taught this week. We encourage parents to use this resource at home to help you and your kids grow as you learn from God's word together.
Children's Lesson from Sunday, March 8
1 Peter 4:1-11
The Main Point:
We teach the world about Jesus when we love one another.
Vocabulary Word for PreK and Elementary 1 Classes:
Gospel - The good news that God sent Jesus to live a perfect life, die for the sins of His people, and rise again giving them new and everlasting life.
Q: What was God’s most beloved creation?
Q: What job did God give people to do?
A: Show the world about God.
Q: What is one way we can teach the world about Jesus?
A: By loving one another.
Q: What is the gospel?
A: The good news that God sent Jesus to live a perfect life, die for the sins of His people, and rise again giving them new and everlasting life.
New City Catechism Question #50
What does Christ’s resurrection mean for us?
Christ triumphed over sin and death so that all who trust in him are raised to new life in this world and to everlasting life in the world to come.
(Note: All of our classes work through one question per month from the New City Catechism. You can download the New City Catechism app with all the questions and children's songs for free.)
Beginning this month, our children's classes are singing in their classrooms as part of their time together.