|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 26. - And Laban said, It must not be so done - the future expresses the thought that the custom has grown into a strong moral obligation (Kalisch) - in our country (Hebrew, place), to give the younger before the first-born. The same custom exists among the Indians (Rosenmüller; cf. Roberts, 'Oriental Illustrations,' p. 34), Egyptians (Lane), and other Oriental countries (Delitzsch).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Laban said, it must not be so done in, our country,.... Or "in our place" (s); in this our city it is not usual and customary to do so; he does not deny what he had done in beguiling him, nor the agreement he had made with him, but pleads the custom of the place as contrary to it:
to give the younger, that is, in marriage:
before the firstborn; but it does not appear there was any such custom, and it was a mere evasion; or otherwise, why did not he inform him of this when he asked for Rachel? and why did he enter into a contract with him, contrary to such a known custom? and besides; how could he have the nerve to call the men of the city, and make a feast for the marriage of his younger daughter, if this was the case?
(s) "in loco nostro", Pagninus, Montanus, &c.
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