Genesis 29:28
And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.
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(28) He gave him Rachel . . . to wife also.—After the monogamy of Abraham, and the stricter monogamy of Isaac, how came Jacob to marry two wives? Abravanel says that as Esau ought to have married Leah, and Jacob Rachel, he acted only as his brother’s substitute in taking the elder, and was still free to marry the younger sister, who was his by custom, He thinks also that Jacob, recalling the promise of a. seed numerous as the dust (Genesis 28:14), and seeing how near the family had been to total extinction in the days of his father and grandfather, desired to place it on a more secure basis. More probably, even after Leah had been forced upon him, Jacob regarded Rachel as his own, and as polygamy was not actually forbidden, considered that he was only acting justly by her and himself in marrying her. He had seen Esau blamed, not for marrying two wives, but for taking Hittites; and his love for Rachel would make him need but little argument. The only other alternative, namely, to have divorced Leah, would have been worse, and happily divorce was not a practice as yet introduced.

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.Jacob is betrayed into marrying Leah, and on consenting to serve other seven years obtains Rachel also. He claims his expected reward when due. "Made a feast." The feast in the house of the bride's father seems to have lasted seven days, at the close of which the marriage was completed. But the custom seems to have varied according to the circumstances of the bridegroom. Jacob had no house of his own to which to conduct the bride. In the evening: when it was dark. The bride was also closely veiled, so that it was easy for Laban to practise this piece of deceit. "A handmaid." It was customary to give the bride a handmaid, who became her confidential servant 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.

28. gave him Rachel also—It is evident that the marriage of both sisters took place nearly about the same time, and that such a connection was then allowed, though afterwards prohibited (Le 18:18). It was not so strange that Laban should give, as that Jacob should take, not only two wives, but two sisters to wife, which seems to be against the law of nature, and was expressly forbidden by God afterward, Leviticus 18:18; though it be also true that God might dispense with his own institution, or permit such things in the patriarchs upon special reasons, which are not to be drawn into example.

And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week,.... The week of the days of the feast of Leah, as the Targum of Jonathan adds; he agreed to it; during which time he cohabited with Leah as his wife, and which confirmed the marriage: how justifiable this was, must be left. The marrying of two sisters was forbidden by the law of Moses, Leviticus 18:18; and polygamy was not allowed of in later times, and yet both were dispensed with in times preceding; and there seems to be an overruling Providence in this affair, which oftentimes brings good out of evil, since the Messiah was to spring from Leah, and not Rachel; See Gill on Genesis 29:35; and having more wives than one, and concubines also, seems to be permitted for this reason, that Jacob might have a numerous progeny, as it was promised he should: and indeed Jacob was under some necessity of marrying both sisters, since the one was ignorantly defiled by him, and the other was his wife by espousal and contract; and though he had served seven years for her, he could not have her without consenting to marry the other, and fulfilling her week, and serving seven years more; to such hard terms was he obliged by an unkind uncle, in a strange country, and destitute:

and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also; not after seven years' service, as Josephus (u) thinks, but after the seven days of feasting for Leah; though on condition of the above service, as appears from various circumstances related before the seven years' service could be completed; as his going in to Rachel, Genesis 29:30; her envying the fruitfulness of her sister, Genesis 30:1; giving Bilhah her handmaid unto him, Genesis 30:3; and the whole series of the context, and life of Jacob.

(u) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 19. sect. 7.

And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.
Verse 28. - And Jacob aid so, and fulfilled her week. Literally, the week of this one, either of Leah or of Rachel, as above. Rosenmüller, assigning the first week (ver. 27) to Leah, refers this to Rachel; but the expression can scarcely have two different meanings within the compass of two verses. And he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also. The polygamy of Jacob, though contrary to the law of nature (Genesis 2:21-25), admits of some palliation, since Rachel was the choice of his affections The marriage of sisters was afterwards declared incestuous (Leviticus 18:18). Genesis 29:28"Fulfil her week;" i.e., let Leah's marriage-week pass over. The wedding feast generally lasted a week (cf. Judges 14:12; Job 11:19). After this week had passed, he received Rachel also: two wives in eight days. To each of these Laban gave one maid-servant to wait upon her; less, therefore, than Bethuel gave to his daughter (Genesis 24:61). - This bigamy of Jacob must not be judged directly by the Mosaic law, which prohibits marriage with two sisters at the same time (Leviticus 18:18), or set down as incest (Calvin, etc.), since there was no positive law on the point in existence then. At the same time, it is not to be justified on the ground, that the blessing of God made it the means of the fulfilment of His promise, viz., the multiplication of the seed of Abraham into a great nation. Just as it had arisen from Laban's deception and Jacob's love, which regarded outward beauty alone, and therefore from sinful infirmities, so did it become in its results a true school of affliction to Jacob, in which God showed to him, by many a humiliation, that such conduct as his was quite unfitted to accomplish the divine counsels, and thus condemned the ungodliness of such a marriage, and prepared the way for the subsequent prohibition in the law.
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