Genesis 29* Jacob comes to the well of Haran. (1-8) His interview withRachel, Laban entertains him. (9-14) Jacob's covenant forRachel, Laban's deceit. (15-30) Leah's sons. (31-35)1-8 Jacob proceeded cheerfully in his journey, after the sweetcommunion he had with God at Beth-el. Providence brought him tothe field where his uncle's flocks were to be watered. What issaid of the care of the shepherds for their sheep, may remind usof the tender concern which our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherdof the sheep, has for his flock the church; for he is the goodShepherd, that knows his sheep, and is known of them. The stoneat the well's mouth was to secure it; water was scarce, it wasnot there for every one's use: but separate interests should nottake us from helping one another. When all the shepherds cametogether with their flocks, then, like loving neighbours, theywatered their flocks together. The law of kindness in the tonguehas a commanding power, #Pr 31:26|. Jacob was civil to thesestrangers, and he found them civil to him. 9-14 See Rachel's humility and industry. Nobody needs to beashamed of honest, useful labour, nor ought it to hinder anyone's preferment. When Jacob understood that this was hiskinswoman, he was very ready to serve her. Laban, though not thebest humoured, bade him welcome, and was satisfied with theaccount Jacob gave of himself. While we avoid being foolishlyready to believe every thing which is told us, we must take heedof being uncharitably suspicious. 15-30 During the month that Jacob spent as a guest, he was notidle. Wherever we are, it is good to employ ourselves in someuseful business. Laban was desirous that Jacob should continuewith him. Inferior relations must not be imposed upon; it is ourduty to reward them. Jacob made known to Laban the affection hehad for his daughter Rachel. And having no wordly goods withwhich to endow her, he promises seven years' service Love makeslong and hard services short and easy; hence we read of thelabour of love, #Heb 6:10|. If we know how to value thehappiness of heaven, the sufferings of this present time will beas nothing to us. An age of work will be but as a few days tothose that love God, and long for Christ's appearing. Jacob, whohad imposed upon his father, is imposed upon by Laban, hisfather-in-law, by a like deception. Herein, how unrighteoussoever Laban was, the Lord was righteous: see #Jud 1:7|. Eventhe righteous, if they take a false step, are sometimes thusrecompensed in the earth. And many who are not, like Jacob, intheir marriage, disappointed in person, soon find themselves, asmuch to their grief, disappointed in the character. The choiceof that relation ought to be made with good advice and thoughton both sides. There is reason to believe that Laban's excusewas not true. His way of settling the matter made bad worse.Jacob was drawn into the disquiet of multiplying wives. He couldnot refuse Rachel, for he had espoused her; still less could herefuse Leah. As yet there was no express command againstmarrying more than one wife. It was in the patriarchs a sin ofignorance; but it will not justify the like practice now, whenGod's will is plainly made known by the Divine law, #Le 18:18|,and more fully since, by our Saviour, that one man and womanonly must be joined together, #1Co 7:2|. 31-35 The names Leah gave her children, expressed her respectand regard, both to God and to her husband. Reuben, or See ason, with this thought, Now will my husband love me; Levi, orjoined, expecting, Now will my husband be joined unto me. Mutualaffection is both the duty and comfort of the married relation;and yoke-fellows should study to recommend themselves to eachother, #1Co 7:33,34|. She thankfully acknowledges the kindprovidence of God in hearing her. Whatever supports and comfortsus under afflictions, or tends to our deliverance from them, Godmust be owned in it. Her fourth son she called Judah, or praise,saying, Now will I praise the Lord. This was he, of whom, asconcerning the flesh, Christ came. Whatever is the matter of ourrejoicing, ought to be the matter of our thanksgiving. Freshfavours should quicken us to praise God for former favours; Nowwill I praise the Lord more and better than I have done. All ourpraises must centre in Christ, both as the matter of them, andas the Mediator of them. He descended after the flesh from himwhose name was "Praise," and He is our praise. Is Christ formedin my heart? Now will I praise the Lord.
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