Eighth Sunday after Pentecost (July 30th)

Pastor's Summary on Genesis 29:15-28

After meeting God in a vision at Bethel, Jacob has journeyed on to Haran to find a wife of his own clan. He has come to a well (v. 2) covered by a stone so large that it takes several shepherds to move it. Perhaps to ensure equitable distribution of the water, the shepherds wait until all are there before rolling the stone away (v. 8). Rachel has arrived with her father Laban's sheep. As in other ancient stories, the hero (Jacob) has shown her his strength: by moving the stone unaided. Jacob has been taken with Rachel; Laban has "brought him to his house"(v. 13).

After staying with the family for a month, Laban asks Jacob what wages he expects (v. 15). V. 17 probably contrasts Leah and Rachel: the word translated as "lovely" can mean dull-eyed. Laban takes Jacob into his serive ("stay with me", v. 19). "Seven years" (v. 20) indicates a long time, but for Jacob, besotted with Rachel, it passes rapidly. As Jacob has deceived Isaac, so Laban now fools Jacob. (That a bride was veiled makes this possible.) This time Jacob is "deceived" (v. 25). Isaac was duped into honoring "the younger before the firstborn" (v. 26). Laban does give Rachel to Jacob, but apparently without another "week"" (v. 27) of marriage festivities-and after further years of service. Laban is as wily as Jacob! We are prepared for the birth of the fathers of the Israelite tribes: Jacob "loved Rachel more than Leah" (v. 30) but Rachel was barren for a time (v. 31). Leah, "Zilpah" (v. 24) and "Bilhah" (v. 29) are the mothers of nine of them.

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