He will never see his mom again
Jacob goes on a 3-month journey about 500 miles long, stretching from Beersheba to Haran.
Jacob the houseboy was alone in the wilderness and began to grow up. Without a caravan or men to protect him, Jacob was vulnerable in a scary way, but the journey became life-giving and life-changing.
He left his mom, met with God, and during his travels gained courage and strength, as evidenced by his first interactions with the shepherds of Haran, a people group not to mess with.
Without a doubt, his mother (Rebekah) told him about how she met his father. The story is a great one, and the kind of thing told over and over again at the dinner table. Jacob knew about the wells, the watering of habits of shepherds with sheep, and no doubt about her physical feat in watering the camels of Abraham’s servant.
Now Jacob was in the land of his mother’s kin, seeing and feeling all Rebekah spoke about.
Jacob inquired about Uncle Laban with the local shepherds, and as God worked it out, Laban’s daughter, Rachel, appeared as a shepherdess, seeking to water her father’s sheep.
Momma Rebekah used a feat of strength to serve Abraham’s servant, and now Jacob returns the favor. The text mentions a large stone covering the well, and Jacob, house boy turned adventurer, removed the hefty stone and watered Laban’s sheep, just as his Momma once did.
I’m confident he was proud of himself.
Laban ran to meet Jacob and was a bit too enthusiastic. The last time someone arrived from Beersheba, he came with riches, and it seems Laban was looking for them.
Jacob loved Rachel, Uncle Laban’s younger daughter. The young man was allowed to name his dowry price for Rachel, so Jacob chose for himself 7 years of servitude.
The text says, “and they seemed but a few days to him, because of the love he had for her.”
Jacob counted the days, and when it was time he demanded Laban allow him to “enter into her,” an obvious way of saying it’s time for Rachel and me to have sex, and be married.
Leah was Laban’s oldest daughter, and the text says, “her eyes were weak,” but it might be best to understand the reference to mean sweet or tender, as in she had nice eyes, but was not much to look at, the opposite of her sister Rachel, who was gorgeous and a knockout.
Jacob favored the gorgeous one, but on their wedding night, Laban put Leah before Jacob without him knowing about it, and the two had sex.
Somehow Jacob did not recognize Leah at first, either because she was veiled during the wedding night or for some other unknown reason, but in the morning Leah is recognized and Jacob accused Laban of deceit, using the same word his father Isaac used in saying to Esau, “Your brother has come in deceit and taken your blessing.”
CLEARING THINGS UP
In the West, the wedding is first, a party takes place, then all the guests leave, and then the couple has sex.
The order in the text is fascinating, ceremony and sex are before a week-long party. Jacob and Leah’s wedding was brief and informal, but the party lasted for a week. Laban asked Jacob to get through the party week, then Rachel was his. So Jacob takes Leah and Rachel within one week of each other, then pays off his debt to Uncle Laban over the next 7 years.
Laban’s comments about why he did what he did are debatable, it’s entirely likely he made it up on the spot, calling Leah his firstborn was a way of trying to put some theology behind his argument, and it’s a bad one. There is no historical record saying Laban’s people insisted on marrying off the oldest before the youngest, Uncle Laban is just being Uncle Laban.
Jacob was out schemed and checkmated by his father-in-law, so he played along and began to learn how to trust God.
12 TRIBES BEGIN
God had mercy on Leah, who was not liked by Jacob, but that didn’t keep him from having sex with her and Leah kept on having kids. Four sons are born to Jacob and Leah—Rueben, Simeon, Judah, and Levi.
The boys will become an unruly bunch, avenging their sister’s rape with slaughter, and eventually sought to kill young Joseph. More kids are on the way and lots more drama.