Each week we webcast Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, morning public worship at 11a, and p.m. singing and sermon at 2:30p (sermon at 3:30)

Saturday, July 4, 2020

2020.07.04 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 29:13–30

Questions from the Scripture text: What had Laban heard (Genesis 29:13)? What did he do? Who else told him everything? What did Laban say to this in Genesis 29:14 (cf. Genesis 2:23)? How long had he stayed with him in Genesis 29:15? What does Laban ask for in verse 15? What did Laban have in Genesis 29:16? Who had the soft eyes (Genesis 29:17a)? Who had the pretty form and face (verse 17b)? Which one did Jacob love (Genesis 29:18a)? What does he propose (verse 18b)? What does Laban say, exactly, in Genesis 29:19? What did Jacob do for how long and why (Genesis 29:20)? What did Jacob ask for in Genesis 29:21? What does Laban do in Genesis 29:22? But whom did Laban give him in Genesis 29:23? And whom did Laban give to her (Genesis 29:24)? When did Jacob discover the switch (Genesis 29:25)? What does he do about it? What did Laban explain in Genesis 29:26? What does he propose in Genesis 29:27? What does Jacob do about it (Genesis 29:28)? With what result? Whom did Laban give to Rachel (Genesis 29:29)? What was the result in Jacob’s marriage(s) (Genesis 29:30)? What was the result in his employment?
This passage begins a pretty humiliating section for the Israelites who first received this passage by the pen of Moses. It’s hard to claim the moral high ground, when your family began in deceit, polygamy, and strife.

We can see that Laban is already thinking to marry off Leah in Genesis 29:14. The words that he uses take us straight back to Genesis 2:23. It might even be that he’s anticipating the marriage request in response to the “wages” inquiry in Genesis 29:15. Slimy as he is, Genesis 29:19 sounds rather non-committal in retrospect, and the excuse in Genesis 29:26 is pathetic. He’s about seven years late in delivering that information at that point.

For his part, Jacob probably isn’t being as wise as he might have been. Form and appearance change with time, and often with babies. The Holy Spirit seems to imply a Genesis 6:2 mindset for Jacob by the comparison that He gives us in Genesis 29:17. And Jacob probably makes the wrong choice. The “soft eyes” statement is probably not some sort of physical weakness (as some translations interpolate), but rather an observation of Leah’s character (as the names of her first few sons may bear out).

Now, without being too hard on Leah—when one’s father puts you in a position of having to disobey him to honor the Lord, it is a tougher call in the moment than for you or me reading from our literally easy chairs. However, she does end up complicit in the deception.

And Jacob could have either taken his ending up with her as an indication of God’s providential overruling of wrong intentions (like when Isaac realized that he had blessed the other son), or he could have made a legitimate case for annulment.

Then, there’s Rachel, who ought not to have agreed to become a second wife. Even if it was not written on her heart (and perhaps explicitly taught) that polygamy is wrong, surely she could have anticipated that one of them (and probably her) would be loved better than the other, which would end up making both of them miserable.

So, through the misbehaving of all four of them, we come to the end of this passage ready for the arms race to being, which competition will end in the births of the twelve tribes of Israel. A rather inglorious start for the people of the glorious God! An inglorious beginning that underlined both to them and to us that the greatness and goodness of His people is all by His grace!
In what situations in your past can you see how you (and perhaps everyone) were very much in the wrong, but the Lord mercifully brought much good out of it anyway?
Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH503 “From Depths of Woe”

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