Introduction: Last week, we left our story with everything going
downhill. Jacob and his mother conspired to have Jacob receive the
birthright through deception. This so angers the older brother,
Esau, that Jacob flees from his home to avoid being murdered by Esau
for defrauding him of the birthright. Jacob’s cover story for his
flight is that he is going to find a wife. Let’s dive into our study
and see what Jacob finds!

  1. Jacob Arrives

    1. Genesis 29 records that Jacob runs to the area in which
      his mother’s family lives and he finds a young beauty
      named Rachel. Rachel is the daughter of his uncle Laban
      (Jacob’s mother’s brother). Let’s pick up the story by
      reading Genesis 29:10-13. Why do you think Jacob weeps
      when he meets Rachel? Does this make him appear to be
      “husband material?”(Jacob has a lot of stress over his
      fraud, the threat to his life, leaving home and hoping to
      be able to find his relatives. He has now found his
      relatives and their warm greeting is a huge relief.)

    2. Read Genesis 29:14-15. Based on Laban’s statement, what
      kind of man would you judge him to be? (He sounds very
      fair and honest. He will not take advantage of a

      1. Look closer. Is it appropriate to treat your nephew
        like an ordinary servant?

    3. Read Genesis 29:16-18. How long did it take for Jacob to
      fall in love with Rachel? (A month!)

      1. Why did Jacob fall for Rachel? (She had a great body
        and a beautiful face.)

        1. Why do you think the Bible mentions this?

        2. Is this an appropriate basis on which to fall in

      2. What do you think of the “deal” which Jacob offered

        1. Read Genesis 31:14-15. What did Rachel and Leah
          think of the “deal?”

        2. Read Genesis 29:19. What did Laban think of the

        3. What is unusual about this marriage? (Jacob
          arranged it, not his parents.)

  2. The Marriages

    1. Read Genesis 29:20-25. What about this reminds you of
      Jacob’s past life? (He fooled his father by substituting
      himself for his sibling. Laban now fools him by
      substituting a sibling.)

      1. Were Leah and Rachel part of this fraud?

    2. Read Genesis 29:26. What do you think of Laban’s legal

      1. What would you have said in response if you were
        Jacob? (I’ve been here seven years and you never
        disclosed your “custom” to me or mentioned that it
        made our contract impossible.)

    3. Read Genesis 29:27-29. What kind of wedding feast is given
      to Rachel? (It seems she got none.)

    4. Consider the impact of Laban’s fraud:

      1. On Rachel;

      2. On Leah; and,

      3. On Jacob.

    5. What is God’s view of all of this? (Read Leviticus 18:18.)

      1. What does this text suggest is the problem?

    6. What kind of a guy is Laban? (He thinks only of himself.)

      1. Can you put together a justification for Laban’s
        actions? (Arranged marriages were probably normal.
        Jacob plans to marry for love, but Laban decides to
        “arrange” a marriage for him. He is going to give
        Jacob what he wants, but he will squeeze a little
        more work out of him (because Leah is worth it). If
        daughters are like possessions, you cannot be too
        concerned about their feelings.)

      2. What does this teach us about the relative merit of
        arranged marriages? (Contrary to expectations,
        parents can be as “bone-headed” as children in
        choosing a mate. The best marriages are those in
        which the parents and the children are praying for
        God’s leading in finding a spouse.)

    7. What would have happened if Jacob had not chosen Rachel
      based on her looks and her body? What would have happened
      if Jacob had just accepted Laban’s decision and he had not
      married Rachel?

  3. Married Life with Rival Wives

    1. Read Genesis 29:30-35. What kind of attitude does Leah
      have about her situation?

      1. What has God done that Jacob should have done? (God
        is trying to make the situation more just. To help
        Leah to be loved.)

    2. Read Genesis 30:1-2. Beautiful body, beautiful face, what
      kind of personality does Rachel possess?
    3. Read Genesis 30:3-6. Do you think God vindicated Rachel?
      (Rachel vindicated Rachel.)

      1. What should she have done? (Review Genesis 28:13-14;
        Genesis 25:21; Genesis 16:1-2. Both Jacob and Rachel
        are forgetting history. God made promises to Jacob
        about his descendants. Jacob should have followed the
        good example of his father and mother rather than the
        poor example of Abraham and Sarah.)

    1. Read Genesis 30:14-18. Mandrakes, which look like little
      yellow apples, were considered to be a fertility drug.
      What does this little story reveal about the relationship
      between the two women?

      1. Had God rewarded Leah? (We need to be careful what we
        attribute to God.)

    2. Read Genesis 30:22-24. Is Rachel satisfied? (She wants
      more sons.)

  1. Work Life

    1. Read Genesis 30:25-28. Is Jacob ready to quit? (His 14
      years of service are at an end.)

      1. Why does Laban want Jacob to stay? Is he concerned
        about losing his daughters and their children?

      2. Does Laban sound generous? (Yes: “Name your wages and
        I will pay them!”)

    2. Read Genesis 30:29-34. Describe the “deal” for Jacob’s
      wages and tell me what you think about it? (Several
      commentaries say that oriental sheep were normally white
      and the goats normally black or brown. Jacob was asking
      for the few rejects.)

    3. Read Genesis 30:35-36. What does “Mr. Honesty” do to
      ensure that Jacob gets the wages promised to him? (Laban
      removes all of the animals that should belong to Jacob and
      he separates them from the rest of the flock tended by
      Jacob so that when they reproduce, they will be owned by

      1. In Genesis 30:27 we learned that Laban believed he
        had been blessed because of the presence of Jacob.
        How do you think he justified this most recent fraud?

    4. Read Genesis 30:37-43. Do you agree with Genesis 30:43?
      Did Jacob become wealthy because of his ingenious plan to
      show the flocks pieces of wood which looked something like
      the offspring they should have? (Pregnant women: be sure
      to look only at handsome men and beautiful women!)

      1. What is wrong with Jacob’s plan? (He has a scheme
        instead of trusting God.)

    5. Let’s skip ahead for a moment. Read Genesis 31:10-12. What
      does this reveal was God’s part in this plan? (God
      revealed to Jacob his “business plan.”)

      1. Is there a lesson in this for us?

    6. Jacob finally leaves Laban to return home. Let’s look at
      the pledge that Laban asks Jacob to make. Read Genesis 31:48-50. What does this teach us about Laban – that he is
      a caring father? (The Bible reveals only that Laban was
      the abuser of his daughters. He caused the “extra” wife
      and that act set in motion all sorts of strife. The Bible
      does not reveal that Jacob abused his wives. Accusing
      someone else of your sins and weaknesses is nothing new.)

    7. Friend, sometimes marriage is not perfect because of
      factors which are out of our control – such as Laban’s
      fraud on Jacob. Sometimes, the problems in a marriage
      reflect mistakes in judgment that we made in the
      beginning. Jacob was deceived just like he deceived his
      father regarding the birthright. Whatever the source of
      the problem in our marriage, we need to become partners
      with God to minimize the problem. Will you make that your

  2. Next week: Moses and Zipporah: Relating with Relations.