Genesis 29

* Jacob comes to the well of Haran. (1-8) His interview with

Rachel, Laban entertains him. (9-14) Jacob's covenant for

Rachel, Laban's deceit. (15-30) Leah's sons. (31-35)

1-8 Jacob proceeded cheerfully in his journey, after the sweet

communion he had with God at Beth-el. Providence brought him to

the field where his uncle's flocks were to be watered. What is

said of the care of the shepherds for their sheep, may remind us

of the tender concern which our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd

of the sheep, has for his flock the church; for he is the good

Shepherd, that knows his sheep, and is known of them. The stone

at the well's mouth was to secure it; water was scarce, it was

not there for every one's use: but separate interests should not

take us from helping one another. When all the shepherds came

together with their flocks, then, like loving neighbours, they

watered their flocks together. The law of kindness in the tongue

has a commanding power, #Pr 31:26|. Jacob was civil to these

strangers, and he found them civil to him.
9-14 See Rachel's humility and industry. Nobody needs to be

ashamed of honest, useful labour, nor ought it to hinder any

one's preferment. When Jacob understood that this was his

kinswoman, he was very ready to serve her. Laban, though not the

best humoured, bade him welcome, and was satisfied with the

account Jacob gave of himself. While we avoid being foolishly

ready to believe every thing which is told us, we must take heed

of being uncharitably suspicious.
15-30 During the month that Jacob spent as a guest, he was not

idle. Wherever we are, it is good to employ ourselves in some

useful business. Laban was desirous that Jacob should continue

with him. Inferior relations must not be imposed upon; it is our

duty to reward them. Jacob made known to Laban the affection he

had for his daughter Rachel. And having no wordly goods with

which to endow her, he promises seven years' service Love makes

long and hard services short and easy; hence we read of the

labour of love, #Heb 6:10|. If we know how to value the

happiness of heaven, the sufferings of this present time will be

as nothing to us. An age of work will be but as a few days to

those that love God, and long for Christ's appearing. Jacob, who

had imposed upon his father, is imposed upon by Laban, his

father-in-law, by a like deception. Herein, how unrighteous

soever Laban was, the Lord was righteous: see #Jud 1:7|. Even

the righteous, if they take a false step, are sometimes thus

recompensed in the earth. And many who are not, like Jacob, in

their marriage, disappointed in person, soon find themselves, as

much to their grief, disappointed in the character. The choice

of that relation ought to be made with good advice and thought

on both sides. There is reason to believe that Laban's excuse

was not true. His way of settling the matter made bad worse.

Jacob was drawn into the disquiet of multiplying wives. He could

not refuse Rachel, for he had espoused her; still less could he

refuse Leah. As yet there was no express command against

marrying more than one wife. It was in the patriarchs a sin of

ignorance; but it will not justify the like practice now, when

God's will is plainly made known by the Divine law, #Le 18:18|,

and more fully since, by our Saviour, that one man and woman

only must be joined together, #1Co 7:2|.
31-35 The names Leah gave her children, expressed her respect

and regard, both to God and to her husband. Reuben, or See a

son, with this thought, Now will my husband love me; Levi, or

joined, expecting, Now will my husband be joined unto me. Mutual

affection is both the duty and comfort of the married relation;

and yoke-fellows should study to recommend themselves to each

other, #1Co 7:33,34|. She thankfully acknowledges the kind

providence of God in hearing her. Whatever supports and comforts

us under afflictions, or tends to our deliverance from them, God

must be owned in it. Her fourth son she called Judah, or praise,

saying, Now will I praise the Lord. This was he, of whom, as

concerning the flesh, Christ came. Whatever is the matter of our

rejoicing, ought to be the matter of our thanksgiving. Fresh

favours should quicken us to praise God for former favours; Now

will I praise the Lord more and better than I have done. All our

praises must centre in Christ, both as the matter of them, and

as the Mediator of them. He descended after the flesh from him

whose name was "Praise," and He is our praise. Is Christ formed

in my heart? Now will I praise the Lord.
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