Genesis 29 & 30 – A Tale of Two Sisters

Jacob finally arrived in the land of the eastern people and met few shepherds who were waiting to water their sheep near a well. This could have very well been the same well where Eliezer, Abraham’s servant met Rebekah almost a century ago. While Jacob was inquiring about the whereabouts of his uncle Laban with them at that very moment, Rachel the daughter of Laban came waltzing in to water her flock.

Almost a serendipitous scene straight out of a rom-com and Jacob quickly grabbed Rachel and started to kiss her after watering his uncle Laban’s sheep. He then proceeded to explain to Rachel why he had kissed her and that he was actually his cousin. Rachel ran home and told her father.

Laban accepted his sister’s son Jacob with open arms and welcomed him into his house. Jacob got accustomed to his new life and started working for his uncle, taking care of his flocks. Soon he mustered up the courage to ask for Rachel’s hand in marriage and struck a deal with his uncle that he would work wage free for seven years in lieu of Rachel’s hand in marriage.

But Laban had other plans, plans that involved his elder daughter, Leah. He fooled Jacob by switching his daughters during night time and having Jacob consummate his marriage to Leah. In the morning when Jacob realized what had happened, he was furious at his uncle but because of his love for Rachel, he decided to stay seven more years, paying off the debt of marrying Laban’s daughters.

A very unusual competition brews up in Jacob’s household where his wives fought for his love. Jacob loved Rachel but Leah was the one producing him an offspring. Leah kept naming her sons thinking that she would finally win her husband’s love but it was to no avail. The societal fears compelled Rachel to take the ‘Sarah route’ and pawn off her maid servant to Jacob to continue her lineage. And Leah would soon follow suit with her own maid servant.

This back and forth between the two sisters would give birth to the twelve tribes of Israel. But let’s be clear, the mandrakes did not give Rachel a baby and Jacob’s innovative breeding tactics did not give him stronger animals but God was with them and blessed this family.

Questions Discussed in this Podcast

Gen 29:35 – Why did Leah stop having children after she praised the Lord?

Gen 30:9 – Why is Leah also giving her servant, she already bore 4 sons?

Gen 30:14 – Why did Rachel want the mandrakes?

Gen 30:18 – Why does Leah feel that God has rewarded her with another son for giving her servant to her husband?

Gen 30:20 – Why is Leah still expecting to receive some honour from Jacob?

Gen 30:24 – Isn’t Rachel happy that she has a son? Why does she need another son?

Gen 30:25 – Why did Jacob want to leave after Rachel gave birth? Why does Jacob need permission from Laban to leave for his own country?

Gen 30:27 – Why does Laban want Jacob to stay? What does Laban mean by divination?

Gen 30:42 – Why is Jacob using a weird method of accumulating flocks? Why is he deceiving?

Summary Question : Why did Jacob want to cheat his father in law when God was already blessing him?


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