Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.
went on his journey
Heb. lifted up his feet. came.
Heb. children. east. The district of Mesopotamia, and the whole country beyond the Euphrates, are called Kedem, or the East, in the Sacred Writings.
And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone was upon the well's mouth.
a great stone
In Arabia, and other places in the East, they cover up their wells of water, lest the sand, which is put in motion by the winds, should fill and quite stop them up. So great was their care not to leave the well open any length of time, that they waited till the flocks were all gathered together before they began to draw water; and when they had finished, the well was immediately closed again.
And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well's mouth in his place.
Instead of haadarim, "the flocks," the Samaritan reads haroin, "the shepherds," as does also the Arabic in Walton's Polyglott. This verse describes what was usually done by some mutual compact among the shepherds, and shows the purpose for which the flocks lay by the well; for the stone was not removed till all the flocks had been collected. Scott.
And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we.
And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him.
And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.
Is he well? Heb
there peace to him?
And he said, Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together: water ye the sheep, and go and feed them.
it is yet high day
Heb. yet the day is great.
And they said, We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and till they roll the stone from the well's mouth; then we water the sheep.
And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep: for she kept them.
for she kept them
In those primitive times, a pastoral life was not only considered useful but honourable: nor was it beneath the dignity of the daughters of the most opulent chiefs to carry water from the well, or tend the sheep. Jacob, Moses, and David were shepherds.
And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother.
And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.
And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's brother, and that he was Rebekah's son: and she ran and told her father.
And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister's son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things.
Heb. hearing. he ran.
And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month.
the space of a month
Heb. a month of days.
And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be?
And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.
Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.
And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.
I will serve
In ancient times, it was a custom among many nations to give dowries for their wives; but Jacob, being poor, offered for Rachel seven year's service.
And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me.
And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.
A. M. 2251. B.C. 1753. served
for the love
And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her.
And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast.
And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her.
And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid.
And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?
in the morning
And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.
Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.
And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.
fulfilled her week
The public marriage feast made on this occasion, seems to have formed the regular method of recognising the marriage, and lasted seven days: it would therefore have been improper to have broken off the solemnities to which all the men of the place had been invited (ver. 22) and probably Laban wished to keep the fraud from the public eye. It is perfectly plain that Jacob did not serve seven years more before he got Rachel to wife.
And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid.
And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.
And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.
And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.
A. M. 2252. B.C. 1752. his name
that is, See a son. looked.
And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon.
A. M. 2253. B.C. 1751. Because
that is, Hearing.
And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi.
A. M. 2254. B.C. 1750. was
that is, joined.
And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.
A. M. 2255. B.C. 1749. called
that is, Praise. left bearing. Heb. stood from bearing.
49:8 That is, for a time; for she had several children afterwards. (See ch. 30:17, etc.).