*Condensed version of what the text says-
-Jacob arrives in Haran, sees a well and finds three flocks of sheep lying beside it. He inquires of the shepherds who were there if they knew Laban and about his well being. They knew him and introduced Jacob to his daughter Rachel, who was a shepherdess. Jacob takes the large stone off of the well (presumptuously I suspect) and watered the flock of Laban, his mother’s brother. He kisses Rachel (a formal greeting in this culture, not a romantic kiss), lifts up his voice and weeps for the joy of meeting his people in this far off land.
-Jacob fills in Rachel as to who he is and why he was there as a relative of her father. Rachel runs to tell her father (just as Rebekah had done years earlier, Genesis 24:29). Laban rejoices at meeting Jacob and hearing the news of his sister and their well being. It was a celebration and reunion and Jacob was welcomed into Laban’s house and he stayed a month with them.
-At this point Laban tells Jacob he is family and wants to know what he would like to be compensated for working with his uncle. Laban had two daughters, Leah the older and Rachel the younger. Leah’s had weak eyes (not very good looking) but Rachel was beautiful of form and face, just like Sarah and Rebekah were (Genesis 12:11; 26:7). Therefore, Jacob wanted to marry Rachel and requested that he work seven years for her hand in marriage. Laban agrees to it and the work begins for his uncle.
-The years seemed to Jacob but a few days because of his love for Rachel, and they were finally completed. The night of the marriage Laban tricks Jacob (funny, what goes around comes around, right? Genesis 27:1-36) and gives him Leah rather than Rachel as a marriage partner. The next morning Jacob realizes the deception and questions his uncle about it. Laban makes the excuse that is not cultural for the younger to marry first; therefore, he gave him his oldest daughter. Laban tells him to complete the ceremonial week of marriage to Leah and then he will give him Rachel as a wife as well for another seven years of work. So after the week Jacob weds Rachel as well and loves her more than Leah. A maid is given to each of the daughters, Zilpah to Leah and Bilhah to Rachel. This is significant because they would bear sons of the twelve tribes of Israel (Jacob).
-Jacob serves seven more years under Laban.
-Now the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, and He opened her womb to have children. She conceives and bears four boys: Reuben “The LORD has seen my affliction,” Simeon “Because the LORD has heard that I am unloved,” Levi “Now this time my husband will become attached to me,” and Judah “This time I will praise the LORD.” Then Leah, for the time being, stopped bearing children.
-Jacob bases his love for Rachel on physical attributes, which is not always the LORD’s design. God takes the weak and unappealing things of this world to teach us His ways (1 Corinthians 1:27, 2 Corinthians 12:10). Jesus appeared as weakness with no worldly appeal, but He was strong in the end. Humility is what the LORD truly desires from us. God blessed Leah, who was unloved, by sending the Messiah through her line. Judah was the forefather of Jesus, earthly speaking. He is just and will bless us as He looks upon and knows our every affliction and pain.
-The verse in Numbers 32:23 rings out in my mind when I think of the deception of Laban toward Jacob. Jacob was a deceiver in the beginning of his life and gets a dose of his own medicine in this instance with tricky and lies. The shoe can be on the other foot in our lives too, can it not? Be careful how you treat others.
Verse to Memorize: Genesis 29:18