Genesis 29:20
Parallel Verses
New International Version
So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.

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

Darby Bible Translation
And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they were in his eyes as single days, because he loved her.

World English Bible
Jacob served seven years for Rachel. They seemed to him but a few days, for the love he had for her.

Young's Literal Translation
and Jacob serveth for Rachel seven years; and they are in his eyes as some days, because of his loving her.

Genesis 29:20 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

And Jacob served seven years for Rachel - In ancient times it appears to have been a custom among all nations that men should give dowries for their wives; and in many countries this custom still prevails. When Shechem asked Dinah for wife, he said, Ask me never so much - dowry and gift, and I will give according as ye shall say unto me. When Eliezer went to get Rebekah for Isaac, he took a profusion of riches with him, in silver, gold, jewels, and raiment, with other costly things, which, when the contract was made, he gave to Rebekah, her mother, and her brothers. David, in order to be Saul's son-in-law, must, instead of a dowry, kill Goliath; and when this was done, he was not permitted to espouse Michal till he had killed one hundred Philistines. The Prophet Hosea bought his wife for fifteen pieces of silver, and a homer and a half of barley. The same custom prevailed among the ancient Greeks, Indians, and Germans. The Romans also had a sort of marriage entitled per coemptionem, "by purchase." The Tartars and Turks still buy their wives; but among the latter they are bought as a sort of slaves.

Herodotus mentions a very singular custom among the Babylonians, which may serve to throw light on Laban's conduct towards Jacob. "In every district they annually assemble all the marriageable virgins on a certain day; and when the men are come together and stand round the place, the crier rising up sells one after another, always bringing forward the most beautiful first; and having sold her for a great sum of gold, he puts up her who is esteemed second in beauty. On this occasion the richest of the Babylonians used to contend for the fairest wife, and to outbid one another. But the vulgar are content to take the ugly and lame with money; for when all the beautiful virgins are sold, the crier orders the most deformed to stand up; and after he has openly demanded who will marry her with a small sum, she is at length given to the man that is contented to marry her with the least. And in this manner the money arising from the sale of the handsome served for a portion to those whose look was disagreeable, or who had any bodily imperfection. A father was not permitted to indulge his own fancy in the choice of a husband for his daughter; neither might the purchaser carry off the woman which he had bought without giving sufficient security that he would live with her as his own wife. Those also who received a sum of money with such as could bring no price in this market, were obliged also to give sufficient security that they would live with them, and if they did not they were obliged to refund the money." Thus Laban made use of the beauty of Rachel to dispose of his daughter Leah, in the spirit of the Babylonian custom, though not in the letter.

And they seemed unto him but a few days - If Jacob had been obliged to wait seven years before he married Rachel, could it possibly be said that they could appear to him as a few days? Though the letter of the text seems to say the contrary, yet there are eminent men who strongly contend that he received Rachel soon after the month was finished, (see Genesis 29:14), and then served seven years for her, which might really appear but a few days to him, because of his increasing love to her; but others think this quite incompatible with all the circumstances marked down in the text, and on the supposition that Jacob was not now seventy-seven years of age, as most chronologers make him, but only fifty-seven, (see on Genesis 31 (note))., there will be time sufficient to allow for all the transactions which are recorded in his history, during his stay with Laban. As to the incredibility of a passionate lover, as some have termed him, waiting patiently for seven years before he could possess the object of his wishes, and those seven years appearing to him as only a few days, it may be satisfactorily accounted for, they think, two ways:

1. He had the continual company of his elect spouse, and this certainly would take away all tedium in the case.

2. Love affairs were not carried to such a pitch of insanity among the patriarchs as they have been in modern times; they were much more sober and sedate, and scarcely ever married before they were forty years of age, and then more for convenience, and the desire of having an offspring, than for any other purpose.

At the very lowest computation Jacob was now fifty-seven, and consequently must have passed those days in which passion runs away with reason. Still, however, the obvious construction of the text shows that he got Rachel the week after he had married Leah.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


2251. B.C.

1753. served.

Genesis 30:26 Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served you, and let me go: for you know my service which I have done you.

Hosea 12:12 And Jacob fled into the country of Syria, and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep.

for the love.

Genesis 24:67 And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her...

Songs 8:6,7 Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave...

1 Corinthians 13:7 Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

2 Corinthians 5:14 For the love of Christ constrains us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:

Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us...

The Blessing of Jacob Upon Judah. (Gen. Xlix. 8-10. )
Ver. 8. "Judah, thou, thy brethren shall praise thee; thy hand shall be on the neck of thine enemies; before thee shall bow down the sons of thy father. Ver. 9. A lion's whelp is Judah; from the prey, my son, thou goest up; he stoopeth down, he coucheth as a lion, and as a full-grown lion, who shall rouse him up? Ver. 10. The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come, and unto Him the people shall adhere." Thus does dying Jacob, in announcing
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

Epistle v. To Theoctista, Sister of the Emperor.
To Theoctista, Sister of the Emperor. Gregory to Theoctista, &c. With how great devotion my mind prostrates itself before your Venerableness I cannot fully express in words; nor yet do I labour to give utterance to it, since, even though I were silent, you read in your heart your own sense of my devotion. I wonder, however, that you withdrew your countenance, till of late bestowed on me, from this my recent engagement in the pastoral office; wherein, under colour of episcopacy, I have been brought
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

Cross References
Genesis 29:19
Laban said, "It's better that I give her to you than to some other man. Stay here with me."

Genesis 30:26
Give me my wives and children, for whom I have served you, and I will be on my way. You know how much work I've done for you."

Genesis 31:15
Does he not regard us as foreigners? Not only has he sold us, but he has used up what was paid for us.

1 Samuel 18:23
They repeated these words to David. But David said, "Do you think it is a small matter to become the king's son-in-law? I'm only a poor man and little known."

Hosea 12:12
Jacob fled to the country of Aram; Israel served to get a wife, and to pay for her he tended sheep.

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