Some Notes:

The English language has no gender-neutral pronouns. So when the words man, he, him, etc are used, they mean "Generic human being" unless the context specifically says otherwise. Only women get words devoted just to them.

Thou, Thee, and Thine are singular pronouns. You and Your are plural in the 16th Century English the King James Bible was translated into. This actually makes the message clearer than our habit of using "you" as both a singular and a plural.

In many scriptures I have changed the King James (English) spelling to American spelling (labour=labor, for example. I understand those in England still spell it with a u). Also, in some scriptures I have changed the "-eth" to a simple "s." Spelling standards weren't set in English until the mid 1800's, well after the translating of the KJV. So I see no problem with making these simple changes that don't affect the meaning of the scripture but make it easier for our modern mouths and ears to deal with.

Genesis 29- Jacob Falls in Love



1 Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.

2 And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone was upon the well’s mouth.

3 And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well’s mouth in his place.

The stone was to keep the water clean and to keep animals or people from falling in.

4 And Jacob said unto them, “My brethren, where do you come from?” And they said, “Of Haran are we.”

Haran was the name of the town Terah, Abraham’s father, moved his family to when God told them to leave Ur.

5 And he said unto them, “Know ye Laban the son of Nahor?” And they said, “We know him.”

6 And he said unto them, “Is he well?” And they said, “He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter comes with the sheep.”

7 And he said, “Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together: water ye the sheep, and go and feed them.”

He wonders why they are gathered together instead of giving the sheep more time to eat.

8 And they said, “We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and till they roll the stone from the well’s mouth; then we water the sheep.”

It appears the rock was too heavy to just move by anyone any ole’ time. They had to wait until there were enough of them gathered together to move it. This presented problems in this arid region.

9 And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep: for she kept them.

Rachel was Jacob’s cousin, their parents being siblings.

10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother.

Romantics will say that Rachel’s beauty so motivated Jacob that it gave him super-human power so he could move the rock by himself. It does appear that that is what happened.

11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.

He was overwhelmed at meeting family.

12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s brother, and that he was Rebekah’s son: and she ran and told her father.

13 And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things.

In these days without phones, email, airplanes, trains or cars, once a relative left as Rebekah did, you would likely never see her again and might not ever hear from her either, though it is possible occasional messages were sent with travelers heading that direction. This would have been a very unreliable method of communication, though.

14 And Laban said to him, “Surely thou are my bone and my flesh.” And he stayed with him the space of a month.

15 And Laban said unto Jacob, “Because thou are my brother, should thou therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall thy wages be?”

Evidently, Jacob was not just sitting around visiting for this month, but working on the family farm.

16 And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.

17 Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favored.

Tender-eyed means “delicate or soft eyed.” This has been translated as either “beautiful eyed” or “weak eyed.” Since the word can mean “weak” or “soft” it really could be either. It may also mean she was tender hearted.

Whatever the condition of Leah’s eyes, Rachel was beautiful and (according to some translations) shapely.

18 And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, “I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.”

19 And Laban said, “It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me.”

Since there was no problem at the time with cousins marrying each other, Laban figured that Jacob would make a great hubby for his daughter; he was a hard worker and of similar religious persuasion.

20 And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.

21 And Jacob said unto Laban, “Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her.”

22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast.

23 And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her.

It was customary to veil the bride for the celebration. That plus the darkness made it so Jacob couldn’t tell he was getting the wrong woman.

I wonder what kind of discussion went on in the house before the wedding. Surly Leah knew Jacob wanted her sister. I wonder if she was a willing accomplice or if her father forced her into it.

24 And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid.

25 And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, “What is this thou hast done unto me? Did not I serve with thee for Rachel? Why then hast thou tricked me?”

When Jacob woke up, he had been blind-sided. He had the wrong woman.

26 And Laban said, “It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.

27 “Fulfill her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shall serve with me yet seven other years.”

28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.

“Week” means “seven” so this may have meant “seven years” instead of seven days, though the timing of the birth of the children leads me to believe is was seven days.

He agreed to work seven more years, but spent a week just married to Leah.

29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid.

“Bilhah” means “blushing.”

Jewish tradition says Bilhah and Zilpah were Laban’s daughters from a concubine (slave-class wife) and so Rachel and Leah’s half-sisters.

30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.

31 And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, He opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.

God controls the womb.

32 And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, “Surely the LORD has looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.”

Reuben means “See, A Son.”

33 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, “Because the LORD has heard that I was hated, he has therefore given me this son also:” and she called his name Simeon.

Simeon means “Heard.”

34 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, “Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons:” therefore was his name called Levi.

Levi means “Attached.”

35 And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, “Now will I praise the LORD:” therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.

Judah means “Praise.” Four boys.

She appears to finally be looking to God instead of her husband for approval.