Genesis 29:15-28

Genesis 29:15-28
Proper 12A


15 Then LabanI said to Jacob,II “Because you are my kinsman,III

Notes on verse 15a

I “Laban” = Laban. From the same as laban (white); from laban (to be white or make a brick). This is Laban, meaning white.
II “Jacob” = Yaaqob. From the same as aqeb (heel, hind part, hoof, rear guard of an army, one who lies in wait, usurper). This is Isaac’s son and his descendants. The name means heel-catcher or supplanter.
III “kinsman” = ach. This is brother, kindred, another, other, like. It is literally brother, but it can also be someone who is similar, resembling, or related to.

should you therefore serveIV me for nothing?V TellVI me, what shall your wagesVII be?” 

Notes on verse 15b

IV “serve” = abad. This is to work, serve, or compel. It can describe any kind of work or service (including religious devotion).  Also, till or cultivate. Used causatively, it can mean to enslave or keep in bondage.
V “nothing” = chinnam. From chen (grace, favor, kindness, beauty, precious); from chanan (beseech, show favor, be gracious; properly, to bend in kindness to someone with less status). This is out of favor, so it can mean without cost, without payment, nothing, vain, or useless.
VI “tell” = nagad. This is to declare, make conspicuous, stand in front, manifest, predict, explain.
VII “wages” = maskoreth. 4x in OT– 3x in Genesis & 1x in Ruth. From sakar (to hire, reward, earn). This is wages or reward.

16 Now Laban had twoVIII daughters;IX the nameX

Notes on verse 16a

VIII “two” = shenayim. From sheni (double, again, another, second); from shanah (to fold, repeat, double, alter, or disguise). This is two, both, second, couple.
IX “daughters” = bat. From ben (son literal or figurative; also, grandson, subject, nation); from banah (to build or obtain children). This is daughter in a literal or figurative sense.
X “name” = shem. May be from sum (to put, place, set). This is name, fame, renown. A name was thought to indicate something essential about a person – something about their individuality. So, this word can also mean honor, authority, or character.

of the elderXI was Leah,XII and the name of the youngerXIII was Rachel.XIV 

Notes on verse 16b

XI “elder” = gadol. From gadal (to grow up, become great, become wealthy – to advance. The root meaning may be to twist in the sense of the process of growing). This is great, high, bigger, noble, old, marvelous. It can also refer to someone who is powerful or distinguished.
XII “Leah” = Leah. From laah (to be weary or exhausted, parched, faint, or tired; to be impatient or have a hard time; figuratively, being grieved or disgusted). This is Leah, meaning “weary” or “wild cow.” See
XIII “younger” = qatan. From quwt (grieved, cut off, to detest). This is least, small, young, little one. It is literally smaller whether in amount or size. Figuratively it is smaller in the sense of younger or less important.
XIV “Rachel” = Rachel. From the same as rachel (a ewe, sheep). Its root may refer to travelling. This is Rachel, meaning “ewe.”

17 Leah’s eyesXV were weak,XVI but Rachel wasXVII gracefulXVIII and beautiful.XIX 

Notes on verse 17

XV “eyes” = ayin. This is eye in a literal or figurative sense so eye, appearance, favor, or a fountain (the eye of the landscape).
XVI “weak” = rak. 16x in OT. From rakak (to be tender, soft, faint, weak; to soften or mollify). This is tender in a literal or figurative sense. It could be delicate, gentle, inexperienced, refined, soft, or weak.
XVII “was” = hayah. This is to be or become, to happen.
XVIII “graceful” = yapheh + toar. Literally, “beautiful of form.” Yapheh is from yaphah (to be beautiful, decorate; root means being bright, which implies being beautiful). This is beautiful in a literal or figurative sense – appropriate, handsome, godly, pleasant. Toar is 15x in OT. From taar (to incline, extend, mark out). This is an outline and so a form or figure or appearance.
XIX “beautiful” = yapheh + mareh. Literally, “beautiful of appearance.” Yapheh is the same as “graceful” in v17. See note XVIII above. Mareh is from raah (to see, show, stare, think, view; to see in a literal or figurative sense). This is sight, appearance, or vision. It can be a view, seeing itself, that which is seen, something real, or a vision one sees.

18 Jacob lovedXX Rachel, so he said, “I will serve you sevenXXI yearsXXII for your younger daughter Rachel.” 

19 Laban said, “It is betterXXIII that I giveXXIV her to you

Notes on verses 18-19a

XX “loved” = aheb. This is to love, beloved, friend. It is to have affection for sexually or otherwise.
XXI “seven” = sheba. This is seven or by sevenfold. It can also be used to imply a week or an indefinite number. Symbolically, this is the number of fullness, sacredness, perfection.
XXII “years” = shanah. From shana (to change, alter). This is a year, age, old. It can also mean yearly.
XXIII “better” = tob. From tob (to be pleasing, to be good). This is good, beautiful, pleasant, agreeable, bountiful, at ease. This word is used for goodness as a concept, a good thing, a good person. This can refer to prosperity and welfare as well as joy, kindness, sweetness, and graciousness. So, this is ethically good, but also enjoyably good.
XXIV “give” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.

than that I should give her to any otherXXV man;XXVI stayXXVII with me.”

20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemedXXVIII to himXXIX but a fewXXX daysXXXI because of his love for her.

Notes on verses 19b-20

XXV “other” = acher. From achar (to be behind, delay, be late, procrastinate, continue). This is following, next, strange, other.
XXVI “man” = enosh. From anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is human, humankind, another. It is mortal.
XXVII “stay” = yashab. This is to sit and so to remain and so to dwell. It is sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly. Causatively, this can mean settling or marrying. This can also mean continue, endure, or establish.
XXVIII “seemed” = hayah. Same as “was” in v17. See note XVII above.
XXIX {untranslated} = ayin. Same as “eyes” in v17. See note XV above.
XXX “few” = echad. Perhaps from achad (to unify, continue on a path; figuratively, to gather one’s thoughts). This is the number one, first, united. It can also be alone, altogether, a certain, a few.
XXXI “days” = yom. Root may mean being hot. This is the day in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean birth, age, daylight, continually or other references to time.

21 Then Jacob said to Laban, “GiveXXXII me my wifeXXXIII that I may go inXXXIV to her, for my timeXXXV is completed.”XXXVI 

Notes on verse 21

XXXII “give” = yahab. This is give, put, bring, take. It is to give in a literal or figurative sense.
XXXIII “wife” = ishshah. Related to “man” in v19. From ish (man); perhaps from enosh (see note XXVI above). This is woman, wife, or female.
XXXIV “go in” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
XXXV “time” = yom. Literally, “days,” Same as “days” in v20. See note XXXI above.
XXXVI “completed” = male. This is fill, satisfy, replenish, accomplish, fulfill, confirm, or consecrate. It is fill in a literal or figurative sense.

22 So Laban gathered togetherXXXVII allXXXVIII the peopleXXXIX of the placeXL and madeXLI a feast.XLII 

Notes on verse 22

XXXVII “gathered together” = asaph. This is to gather, assemble, or bring. It can also mean to take away, destroy, or remove.
XXXVIII “all” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
XXXIX “people” = enosh. Same as “man” in v19. See note XXVI above.
XL “place” = maqom. From qum (to arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide; rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action; standing in a figurative sense). This is a standing, which is to say a spot or space a place. It can also refer to a locality or a physical/mental condition. HaMaqom is also a Jewish name for God – the place, i.e. the Omnipresent One.
XLI “made” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
XLII “feast” = mishteh. From shathah (to drink literally or figuratively; a drinker). This is drink or the act of drinking. So it is a feast or banquet, as occasions with drinking.

23 ButXLIII in the eveningXLIV he tookXLV his daughter Leah and broughtXLVI her to Jacob, and he went inXLVII to her. 

Notes on verse 23

XLIII {untranslated} = hayah. Same as “was” in v17. See note XVII above.
XLIV “evening” = ereb. This is evening, night, or dusk.
XLV “took” = laqach. This is to take, accept, carry away, receive. It can also have the sense of take a wife or take in marriage.
XLVI “brought” = bo. Same as “go in” in v21. See note XXXIV above.
XLVII “went in” = bo. Same as “go in” in v21. See note XXXIV above.

24 (Laban gaveXLVIII his maidXLIX ZilpahL to his daughter Leah to be her maid.) 

Notes on verse 24

XLVIII “gave” = natan. Same as “give” in v19. See note XXIV above.
XLIX “maid” = shiphchah. Root may mean to spread out – it would be the same root used in mishpachah, which means family or clan. This is maidservant, female slave, or female bondslave.
L “Zilpah” = Zilpah. 7x in OT. Perhaps from zalaph (drip, sprinkle, pour – as fragrance or myrrh does). This is Zilpah, meaning “drop” or “sprinkle.” See

25 When morningLI came,LII LIIIit was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have doneLIV to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceivedLV me?” 

Notes on verse 25

LI “morning” = boqer. From baqar (to seek, plow, break forth, admire, care for). This refers to the break of day. So it is dawn, early, morning, or morrow.
LII “came” = hayah. Same as “was” in v17. See note XVII above.
LIII {untranslated} = hinneh. From hen (lo! Behold! If, though; an expression of surprise). This is to draw attention, show suddenness or surprise, or to emphasize the importance of the coming statement. See! Lo! Behold!
LIV “done” = asah. Same as “made” in v22. See note XLI above.
LV “deceived” = ramah. 13x in OT. This is to hurl, shoot, carry, or throw. Figuratively, it is to beguile, delude or betray. It can also refer to an archer.

26 Laban said, “ThisLVI is not done in our countryLVII—givingLVIII

Notes on verse 26a

LVI “this” = ken. Perhaps from kun (properly, in a perpendicular position; literally, to establish, fix, fasten, prepare; figuratively, it is certainty, to be firm, faithfulness, render sure or prosperous). This is to set upright. Generally used figuratively to mean thus, so, afterwards, rightly so.
LVII “country” = maqom. Same as “place” in v22. See note XL above.
LVIII “giving” = natan. Same as “give” in v19. See note XXIV above.

the youngerLIX beforeLX the firstborn.LXI 

Notes on verse 26b

LIX “younger” = tsair. From tsaar (to be brought low, small, little one; figuratively, be insignificant or ignoble). This is little, young, least, younger, few in number, low in value.
LX “before” = paneh. From panah (to turn, face, appear). This is face in a literal or figurative sense. It could be face, presence, anger, respect. It can also be used of God to indicate divine favor or presence.
LXI “firstborn” = bekirah. 6x in NT. From bakar (to bear fruit, be firstborn, firstling, that which opens the womb, give the birthright to). This is firstborn – specifically referring to a firstborn daughter.

27 Complete the weekLXII of this one, and we will giveLXIII you the other also in return for servingLXIV me anotherLXV seven years.” 

28 Jacob did soLXVI and completed her week; then Laban gaveLXVII him his daughter Rachel as a wife. 

Notes on verses 27-28

LXII “week” = shabua. Related to “seven” in v18. From sheba (see note XXI above). This is a set of seven, whether a week or a period of years.
LXIII “give” = natan. Same as “give” in v19. See note XXIV above.
LXIV “serving” = abodah. Related to “serve” in v15. From abad (see note IV above). This is labor, service, bondage, job, servitude, worker. It can refer to any kind of work.
LXV “another” = acher. Same as “other” in v19. See note XXV above.
LXVI “so” = ken. Same as “this” in v26. See note LVII above.
LXVII “gave” = natan. Same as “give” in v19. See note XXIV above.

Image credit: “Stories from Genesis: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” by Oleg Volodin of Wycliffe Russia.

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply