Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, so that I may have relations with her.”Genesis 29:21–24 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Laban gathered together all the men of the place and prepared a feast. But in the evening he took Leah his daughter and brought her to Jacob, and Jacob had relations with her. Laban gave Zilpah his maid to his daughter Leah for a maidservant.
Jacob the conniver gets a taste of his own medicine. Maybe not his, but Rebekah’s (his mother.) Here is Laban using Leah to pull the same switcheroo on Jacob that Rebekah did to his father.
Sometimes I wish I knew Hebrew. There is so much in this portion of Genesis that is a play on words and a play on types and ideas. That is themes are repeatedly intertwined with the text. There will be more to encounter.
In the morning Jacob discovered it was Leah, and he said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve you for Rachel? Why then have you tricked me?”Genesis 29:25 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
This is an object lesson for Jacob. He can now experience the same feelings that his brother is experiencing. Those feelings led Esau to rage and plot the murder of Jacob. Perhaps this allowed Jacob to have compassion for his older brother. Instead of seeming to want to take what is his brother’s place or to catch his heel. (Jacob literally translates to heel catcher.)
Nevertheless, Laban tricked Jacob by withholding a crucial detail.
Then Laban said, “It is not the custom in our country to marry off the younger before the firstborn.Genesis 29:26 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Did you catch another theme being repeated here?
In the midst of one hard life lesson for Jacob, there is yet another. The prophecy given to Rebekah was that the older shall serve the younger. Esau would serve Jacob. Jacob had already turned the tables on his brother by purchasing the birthright and then taking the blessing of the firstborn. First Jacob tried to work the prophecy spoken about the two boys. And then his mother tried. (There is a lesson there for another time.)
Taking a reverse play on that. Jacob has to take the firstborn first. In this region, it is unseemly to give the younger one before the firstborn. (Perhaps not in God’s mind.) Nevertheless, it is another important lesson for Jacob to prepare himself to return to his brother. His mother only expected Jacob to be gone for days.
Do you think the length of time Jacob would serve speaks to anyone’s character?
Or is it the amount of time Esau needed to cool down?
Either way, the time allowed Jacob to come to the mindset where he would humbly honor his older brother.
There was a lot to consider there.
Laban makes another offer for Jacob. One that would please Jacob.
Fulfill the period of seven days for this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.”Genesis 29:27 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Sometimes I like to check the Septuagint. I understand the controversy some have over that. The Septuagint words it a bit differently providing some insight.
Finish, therefore, the week for this one, and I will give you also this one for the work, which you will work with me yet another seven years.”Genesis 29:27 — The Lexham English Septuagint (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012)
What seems to be defined as a wedding feast that lasts seven days. The underlying Hebrew doesn’t connote days, but seven (or better understood as a week.) Amongst scholars, there are some differences of what is being said. But this seven is most likely referring to a seven-day wedding feast that followed the consummation. (Consummation is not the completion of a marriage.)
I too, think this is speaking of the seven-day completion feast for Leah. If only for the juxtaposition of the additional seven-year contract for Rachel.
After the contract comes the chuppah. That is a Hebrew word that means canopy or chamber. It signifies the groom taking the bride to a private place to consummate the marriage. When that is complete, the wedding is not finished until the seven-day celebration is fulfilled. My speculation is that this is the first mention of the seven days connected with the completion of a wedding. That celebration occurs at the bridegroom’s house.
Contract, chuppah, and celebration are the three parts of those weddings. I find these little crumbs from the Master’s Table amazing. The three-fold part of that wedding seems to typify the three Persons of the Godhead, in order. That’s one deeper thing to consider.
Does this have prophetic implications?
I think so. Where there is something that seems a bit strange in the Scriptures, it means to pay attention.