What a great story! I love Laban, I really do. He is pretty shifty and was able to get both of his daughters married off to a man that he knew would become something. What is there not to like in someone whom God has blessed and promised progeny that boggles the mind and land further than can be seen? He knew that when Jacob came into town this guy was not leaving. So let’s see what happens in this story.
Jacob is on his journey and stops at the local bar…, I mean, well. There he finds Rachel, his first cousin. Rachel runs back home and tells her dad of her cousin who is in town, and gave her sheep water, and then kissed her, then wept aloud after he kissed her. It may have freaked her and creeped her out a bit, but Laban jumps up to greet Jacob and a happy reunion occurs. Jacob is at his destination point, it was where he wanted to end up. So he stays with his uncle for a month before his uncle says: Here you are and I am enjoying all of this free labor, but what can I pay for your time with me? I can’t let you serve me for nothing, or just for room and board. Jacob already has had an idea and so he responds, what if I work for you seven more years and then I get to marry your daughter, your youngest daughter, Rachel? The plan is set in motion.
When the wedding night comes Laban pulls the classic bait and switch. He puts his oldest daughter, Leah, in the wedding bed instead of Rachel. So, Jacob ends up marrying Leah instead of Rachel. That was a problem for Jacob and so he asks Laban who gives him some cultural excuses but says let your week of honeymoon pass then you can marry Rachel and then you can serve me for another seven years. What’s Jacob going to say? Jacob agrees.
Then the children start to come. You should start counting as you read about these children because pretty soon Jacob is going to change his name to Israel and do you remember how many tribes of Israel there are? That’s right, there are twelve, which means that Jacob between his wives should have twelve male children. So start counting. Rachel remains barren up to now and Leah enjoys the presence of her husband and wishes her husband would notice her more. It is obvious that Jacob loves Rachel more than Leah. There seems to be a constant theme in this family of playing favorites either with kids or with wives.