January 9th, Genesis 29-31

Now we get to the part where God doesn’t make Jacob’s life easy- the Bible never explicitly says so, but my interpretation is that the difficulties Jacob faces are the price he pays for his dishonesty and for his mistreatment of his brother and father.

First, he’s tricked into marrying the wrong woman (and has to work seven years to marry her in the first place). Then he has to work another seven years to marry the woman he really loves. Then the wife he really loves can’t have children, but the other wife is popping out kids like candy from a Pez dispenser. Then his two wives (who, creepily, are sisters) can’t stand each other.

Fun times for Jacob.

  • 29:14-20 Presumably Jacob is working for Laban in the month when he first stays with him. Laban offers to pay him for his work eventually and Jacob asks for his younger daughter in return.
  • 29:25; Unfortunate for Leah that someone has to be duped into marrying her.
  • 29:31-35; Though Rachel has Jacob’s heart, Leah has his sons, which societally was much more significant.
  • 30:1-6; This is one of many examples in Scripture of barrenness driving people to desperate acts. Not all desperate acts were sinful. Hannah was driven to prayer and dedicating her child to God’s service. Offspring, particularly male, were a woman’s greatest value so you can understand why people would become so desperate.
  • 30:14-15; Mandrakes were a fruit that was, and still are today, used for help in child-bearing. Clearly Rachel was hoping these would do the trick, but they didn’t.
  • 30:22; God “remembering” Rachel means that he heard and answered her prayers. He did not necessarily forget her, but that’s what it felt like to Rachel.
  • 30:33-39; Neither Laban or Jacob were being 100% on the up and up. Both were skewing the situation in their own favor.
  • 31:11; “Here I am!” is a common response when called by God or one of his angels. It is a response of willingness and alertness.
  • 31:24; This seems like an odd instruction.
  • 31:34-35; This is yet another instance in Jacob’s story where lies and deceit seem to be effective. Clearly Jacob’s story is meant to show us how God can use imperfect people for his glory and our good. Rachel’s excuse is pretty ingenious – she uses the one excuse that men are universally afraid of.
  • 31:45-49; The pile of rocks was used as a divider between Jacob’s land and Laban’s.

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