Introduction: Last week, we left our story with Jacob fleeing his
home to avoid being murdered by his brother Esau over 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

  1. Jacob Arrives

    1. Genesis 29 records that Jacob finds Rachel, the daughter
      of his uncle Laban. Let’s pick up the story by reading
      Genesis 29:11-13. 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 them and their warm
      greeting is a huge relief.)

    2. Read Genesis 29:14-15. Based on Laban’s statement, what
      kind of businessman 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

  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.)

    7. What would have happened if Jacob had not chosen Rachel
      based on her looks and her body?

  3. Married Life with Rival Wives

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

    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.)

    4. 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.)

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

  4. 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

    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?

  1. The Trip Home

    1. God comes to Jacob and tells him it is time to return
      home. Jacob summons Rachel and Leah and discusses leaving
      their father and their home. Read Genesis 31:14-16. On
      what basis do Jacob’s wives confirm his decision?
      (Financial considerations!)

    2. Read Genesis 31:17-21. What time does Jacob chose to
      leave? (When his father-in-law is too busy to notice
      because he is off shearing sheep.)

      1. Why did he choose that time? (He would not have to
        deal with Laban when he left.)

      2. What do we learn about the spiritual side of Rachel?
        (This shows that she was not wholly devoted to God.)

  2. Meeting Esau

    1. If you were Jacob, what would go through your mind when
      thinking of meeting your brother Esau?

    2. Read Genesis 32:3-6. How would you react to this message
      if you were Jacob? (Read Genesis 32:7-8. Jacob is fearful
      and he takes steps to preserve part of his possessions.)

    3. Read Genesis 32:9-12. Compare the Jacob who left his home
      with the Jacob who returns many years later? (He now turns
      to God, not himself, when he is in trouble.)

    4. Read Genesis 33:1-4. What is the result of trusting God?

    5. Friend, Jacob’s deceit and lack of trust in God causes him
      heartache in his home and in his work. Years later, he
      learns his lesson. How about you? Will you trust God now
      or will you have to learn the hard way to trust Him?

  3. Next week: From Prison Cell to Palace.