|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
29:15-30 During the month that Jacob spent as a guest, he was not idle. Wherever we are, it is good to employ ourselves in some useful business. Laban was desirous that Jacob should continue with him. Inferior relations must not be imposed upon; it is our duty to reward them. Jacob made known to Laban the affection he had for his daughter Rachel. And having no wordly goods with which to endow her, he promises seven years' service Love makes long and hard services short and easy; hence we read of the labour of love, Heb 6:10. If we know how to value the happiness of heaven, the sufferings of this present time will be as nothing to us. An age of work will be but as a few days to those that love God, and long for Christ's appearing. Jacob, who had imposed upon his father, is imposed upon by Laban, his father-in-law, by a like deception. Herein, how unrighteous soever Laban was, the Lord was righteous: see Jud 1:7. Even the righteous, if they take a false step, are sometimes thus recompensed in the earth. And many who are not, like Jacob, in their marriage, disappointed in person, soon find themselves, as much to their grief, disappointed in the character. The choice of that relation ought to be made with good advice and thought on both sides. There is reason to believe that Laban's excuse was not true. His way of settling the matter made bad worse. Jacob was drawn into the disquiet of multiplying wives. He could not refuse Rachel, for he had espoused her; still less could he refuse Leah. As yet there was no express command against marrying more than one wife. It was in the patriarchs a sin of ignorance; but it will not justify the like practice now, when God's will is plainly made known by the Divine law, Le 18:18, and more fully since, by our Saviour, that one man and woman only must be joined together, 1Co 7:2.
Verse 25. - And it came to pass, that in the morning, Behold, it was Leah. If Jacob's deception, even with the veiled bride, may still be difficult to understand, it is easy to perceive in Leah's substitution for Rachel a clear instance of Divine retribution for the imposition he had practiced on his father. So the Lord oftentimes rewards evil-doers according to their wickedness (cf. 2 Samuel 12:10-12). And he said to Laban (who, Calvin conjectures, had given Jacob a splendid entertainment the night before to make him say nothing about the fraud), What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me? It says much for Jacob that he did not seek to repudiate the marriage. Perhaps he saw the hand of God in what had happened, and probably considered that though he had chosen Rachel, God had selected Leah as his wife. If so, it must be set to Jacob's credit that at the call of God, thus providentially addressed to him, he was prepared to sacrifice his best affections to the claims of religion and duty. It is not Jacob, but Laban, who proposes that he should also marry Rachel.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And it came to pass, that, in the morning, behold, it was Leah,.... The morning light discovered her, and her veil being off, her tender eyes showed who she was: it is much her voice had not betrayed her; but perhaps there might be a likeness of voice in her and her sister; or she might keep silence, and so not be discovered in that way; but to excuse her from sin is not easy, even the sin of adultery and incest. Manythings may be said indeed in her favour, as obedience to her father, and, being the eldest daughter, might be desirous of having an husband first, and especially of having the promised seed, which God promised to Abraham, and was to be in the line of Jacob: and it may be, as Schmidt observes, that Laban had persuaded her to believe, that the matrimonial contract he had made with Jacob was on her account, and that she was truly his spouse; and the same he might say to Rachel, which made her easy, or otherwise it is difficult to account for it that she should acquiesce in it; for it can hardly be thought to be done without her knowledge, when it was for the solemnity of her marriage that the men of the city were called together, and a feast made for them; for that she should deliver up to her sister the things or signs that Jacob had given her to carry on the fraud, as the Jewish writers (r) say, is beyond belief:
and he said to Laban; when he arose in the morning, and at first meeting with him:
what is this that thou hast done unto me? what a wicked thing is it? as it was, to put another woman to bed to him that was not his wife, and in the room of his lawful wife; or why hast thou done this to me? what reason was there for it? what have I done, that could induce thee to do me such an injury? for Jacob knew what he had done, of that he does not inquire, but of the reason of it, and expostulates with him about the crime, as it was a sin against God, and an injury to him:
did I not serve thee, for Rachel? even seven years, according to agreement? was not this the covenant I made with thee, that she should be my wife at the end of them?
wherefore then hast thou beguiled me? by giving Leah instead of her: though Laban is not to be justified in this action, yet here appears in Providence a righteous retaliation of Jacob; he beguiled his own father, pretending he was his brother Esau; and now his father-in-law beguiles him, giving him blear eyed Leah instead of beautiful Rachel.
(r) Targum Jon. & Jarchi in loc.
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