And Laban gave to his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid.
Jump to: Barnes • Benson • BI • Calvin • Cambridge • Clarke • Darby • Ellicott • Expositor's • Exp Dct • Gaebelein • GSB • Gill • Gray • Haydock • Hastings • Homiletics • JFB • KD • KJT • Lange • MacLaren • MHC • MHCW • Parker • Poole • Pulpit • Sermon • SCO • TTB • WES • TSK
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah . . . —Bethuel had given Rebekah not only Deborah her nurse, but also damsels (Genesis 24:61); but then she had been obtained by presents of unusual costliness. Still, Laban does not seem to have acted very liberally by his daughters, and they resented his treatment of them (Genesis 31:15).Genesis 29:24. Laban gave unto Leah, Zilpah his maid — Sir John Chardin observes, in his MS. note on this verse, “that none but very poor people marry a daughter in the East, without giving her a female slave for a chamber-maid; there being no hired servants there as in Europe.” He says much the same in another note on Tob 10:10. — Harmer, vol. 2. page 366.
Genesis 29:25-26. Behold it was Leah — Surely Jacob’s sin in pretending to be Esau, and cheating his own father, would now be brought to his remembrance, when his father-in-law thus cheated him; and he would be compelled to acknowledge that, how unrighteous soever Laban was, the Lord was righteous. It must not be done so in our country — It is probable there was no such custom in his country; but if there were, and he resolved to observe it, he should have told Jacob so when he undertook to serve him for his younger daughter.Genesis 24:59, Genesis 24:61. In the morning Jacob discovers that Laban had overreached him. This is the first retribution Jacob experiences for the deceitful practices of his former days. He expostulates with Laban, who pleads the custom of the country.
It is still the custom not to give the younger in marriage before the older, unless the latter be deformed or in some way defective. It is also not unusual to practise the very same trick that Laban now employed, if the suitor is so simple as to be off his guard. Jacob, however, did not expect this at his relative's hands, though he had himself taken part in proceedings equally questionable. "Fulfill the week of this." If this was the second day of the feast celebrating the nuptials of Leah, Laban requests him to Complete the week, and then he will give him Rachel also. If, however, Leah was fraudulently put upon him at the close of the week of feasting, then Laban in these words proposes to give Rachel to Jacob on fulfilling another week of nuptial rejoicing. The latter is in the present instance more likely. In either case the marriage of Rachel is only a week after that of Leah. Rather than lose Rachel altogether, Jacob consents to comply with Laban's terms.
Rachel was the wife of Jacob's affections and intentions. The taking of a second wife in the lifetime of the first was contrary to the law of nature, which designed one man for one woman Genesis 2:21-25. But the marrying of a sister-in-law was not yet incestuous, because no law had yet been made on the subject. Laban gives a handmaid to each of his daughters. To Rebekah his sister had been given more than one Genesis 24:61. Bondslaves had been in existence long before Laban's time Genesis 16:1. "And loved also Rachel more than Leah." This proves that even Leah was not unloved. At the time of his marriage Jacob was eighty-four years of age; which corresponds to half that age according to the present average of human life.Genesis 24:59; but Leah had but one, and this was all the portion Jacob had with her. The Targum of Jonathan is,"and Laban gave her Zilpah his daughter, whom his concubine bore unto him:''hence the Jews say (q), that the daughters of a man by his concubines are called maids. And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 24. - And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah - "the Dropping"? (Gesenius), "Myrrh-juice" (Furst) - his maid (according to Gesenius the word is closely connected with an unused root signifying to spread out, hence a maid-servant) for an handmaid. This was in accordance with Oriental custom (vide Genesis 14:61). That Leah obtained only one damsel need not be ascribed to Laban's parsimonious character, but to his already-formed intention to bestow a second on Rachel. Genesis 41:4; Numbers 11:20, etc.), during which time Laban had discovered that he was a good and useful shepherd, he said to him, "Shouldst thou, because thou art my relative, serve me for nothing? fix me thy wages." Laban's selfishness comes out here under the appearance of justice and kindness. To preclude all claim on the part of his sister's son to gratitude or affection in return for his services, he proposes to pay him like an ordinary servant. Jacob offered to serve him seven years for Rachel, the younger of his two daughters, whom he loved because of her beauty; i.e., just as many years as the week has days, that he might bind himself to a complete and sufficient number of years of service. For the elder daughter, Leah, had weak eyes, and consequently was not so good-looking; since bright eyes, with fire in them, are regarded as the height of beauty in Oriental women. Laban agreed. He would rather give his daughter to him than to a stranger.
(Note: This is the case still with the Bedouins, the Druses, and other Eastern tribes (Burckhardt, Voleny, Layard, and Lane).
Jacob's proposal may be explained, partly on the ground that he was not then in a condition to give the customary dowry, or the usual presents to relations, and partly also from the fact that his situation with regard to Esau compelled him to remain some time with Laban. The assent on the part of Laban cannot be accounted for from the custom of selling daughters to husbands, for it cannot be shown that the purchase of wives was a general custom at that time; but is to be explained solely on the ground of Laban's selfishness and avarice, which came out still more plainly afterwards. To Jacob, however, the seven years seemed but "a few days, because he loved Rachel." This is to be understood, as C. a Lapide observes, "not affective, but appretiative," i.e., in comparison with the reward to be obtained for his service.
LinksGenesis 29:24 Interlinear
Genesis 29:24 Parallel Texts
Genesis 29:24 NIV
Genesis 29:24 NLT
Genesis 29:24 ESV
Genesis 29:24 NASB
Genesis 29:24 KJV
Genesis 29:24 Bible Apps
Genesis 29:24 Parallel
Genesis 29:24 Biblia Paralela
Genesis 29:24 Chinese Bible
Genesis 29:24 French Bible
Genesis 29:24 German Bible