Genesis 28 Commentary

28:10-36:43 JACOB ESTABLISHES THE FAMILY

Jacob’s marriages (28:10-29:30)

Before Jacob left Canaan, God appeared to him in a dream. In spite of Jacob’s shameful behaviour, God repeated to him the covenant promises given earlier to Abraham and Isaac, promising also to bring him back safely to Canaan (10-15; cf. 12:1-3; 26:24). In return for God’s favour to him, Jacob promised to be loyal in his devotion and generous in his offerings. He named the place where he met God, Bethel (16-22).

From Bethel Jacob journeyed on and finally reached Haran. He first met his cousin Rachel at a well, and she took him home to her father Laban (29:1-14). Laban was as deceitful with Jacob as Jacob had been with Isaac. When Jacob had worked for Laban seven years as payment of the bride price for Rachel, Laban gave him the older daughter Leah instead. After the week-long wedding celebrations for Jacob and Leah were over, Laban gave Rachel to Jacob as a second wife, but only on the condition that Jacob worked an additional seven years as payment of the second bride price. According to custom, each wife received a slave-girl as a wedding gift (15-30; cf. 24:59).

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