This chapter gives us an account of God's providences concerning Jacob,
pursuant to the promise made him in the foregoing chapter.
How he was brought in safety to his journey's end, and directed to
his relations there, who bid him welcome, ver. 1 - 14.
How he was comfortably disposed of in marriage, ver. 15 - 30.
How his family was built up in the birth of four sons, ver. 31 - 35.
2: Providence brought him to the very field where his uncle's flock's
were to be watered, and there he met with Rachel that was to be his
wife. The Divine Providence is to be acknowledged in all the little
circumstances which concur to make a journey or other undertaking
comfortable and successful. If, when we are at a loss, we meet with those
seasonably that can direct us; if we meet with a disaster, and those are at
hand that will help us; we must not say it was by chance, but it was by
providence: our ways are ways of pleasantness, if we continually acknowledge
God in them. The stone on the well's mouth was either to secure their
property in it, for water was scarce, to save the well from receiving damage
from the heat of the sun, or to prevent the lambs of the flock from being
drowned in it.
9: She kept her father's sheep - She took the care of them, having
servants under her that were employed about them when he understood that
this was his kinswoman (probably he had heard of her name before) knowing
what his errand was into that country, we may suppose it struck into his
mind immediately, that this must be his wife, as one already smitten with an
honest comely face (though it is likely, sun - burnt, and she in the homely
dress of a shepherdess) he is wonderfully officious, and ready to serve her,
ver.(10), and addresses himself to her with tears of joy, and kisses of love,
ver.(11), she runs with all haste to tell her father, for she will by
no means entertain her kinsman's address without her father's knowledge and
approbation, ver.(12). These mutual respects at their first interview
were good presages of their being a happy couple. Providence made that
which seemed contingent and fortuitous to give a speedy satisfaction to
Jacob's mind as soon as ever he came to the place he was bound for.
Abraham's servant, when he came upon a like errand, met with the like
encouragement. Thus God guides his people with his eye,(Ps 32:8). It is a groundless conceit which some of the
Jewish writers have, that Jacob when he kissed Rachel wept,
because he had been set upon his journey by Eliphaz the eldest son of
Esau, at the command of his father, and robbed him of all his money and
jewels, which his mother had given him when she sent him away: it is plain
it was his passion for Rachel, and the surprise of this happy meeting
that drew these tears from his eyes. Laban, though none of the best
humoured men, bid him welcome, was satisfied in the account he gave of
himself, and of the reason of his coming in such poor circumstances. While
we avoid the extreme on the one hand of being foolishly credulous, we must
take heed of falling into the other extreme of being uncharitably jealous
and suspicious. Laban owned him for his kinsman, ver.(14).
Thou art my bone and my flesh. Note, Those are hard - hearted indeed
that are unkind to their relations, and that hide themselves from their
own flesh, (Isa 58:7).
15: Because thou art my brother - That is, kinsman. Should thou
therefore serve me for nought? - No, what reason for that? If Jacob
be so respectful as to give him his service without demanding any
consideration for it, yet Laban will not be so unjust as to take
advantage either of his necessity, or of his good nature. It appears by
computation that Jacob was now seventy years old when he bound himself
apprentice for a wife; probably Rachel was young and scarce marriageable
when Jacob came first, which made him the more willing to stay for her
till his seven years were expired.
20: They seemed to him but a few days for the love he had to her - An
age of work will be but as a few days to those that love God, and long
for Christ's appearing.
25: Behold it was Leah - Jacob had cheated his own father when he
pretended to be Esau, and now his father - in - law cheated him. Herein,
how unrighteous soever Laban was, the Lord was righteous.
26: It must be so done in our country - We have reason to think there
was no such custom in his country; but if there was, and that he resolved to
observe it, he should have told Jacob so, when he undertook to serve him
for his younger daughter.
27: We will give thee this also - Hereby he drew Jacob into the
sin and snare, and disquiet of multiplying wives. Jacob did not design
it, but to have kept as true to Rachel as his father had done to
Rebekah; he that had lived without a wife to the eighty fourth year of
his age could then have been very well content with one: but Laban to
dispose of his two daughters without portions, and to get seven years
service more out of Jacob, thus imposeth upon him, and draws him into
such a strait, that he had some colourable reason for marrying them both.
31: When the Lord saw that Leah was hated - That is, loved less than
Rachel, in which sense it is required that we hate father and
mother, in comparison with Christ, (Lu 14:26), then the Lord
granted her a child, which was a rebuke to Jacob for making so great a
difference between those he was equally related to; a check to Rachel,
who, perhaps insulted over her sister upon that account; and a comfort to
Leah, that she might not be overwhelmed with the contempt put upon her.
32: She appears very ambitious of her husband's love; she reckoned the
want of it her affliction, not upbraiding him with it as his fault, nor
reproaching him for it; but laying it to heart as her grief, which she had
reason to bear, because she was consenting to the fraud by which she became
his wife. She called her first - born Reuben, see a son, with this
pleasant thought, Now will my husband love me. And her third son
Levi, joined, with this expectation, Now will my husband be joined
unto me. The Lord hath heard, that is, taken notice of it, that
I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son. Her fourth she called
Judah, praise, saying, Now will I praise the Lord. And 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. And all our praises
must center in Christ, both as the matter of them, and as the Mediator of
them. He descended from him whose name was praise, for he is our
praise. Is Christ formed in my heart? Now will I praise the Lord.