For seven years Jacob worked without pay in order to marry Rachel, the younger daughter of Laban. Laban agreed to this arrangement because he said it was better for him to give Rachel to Jacob than someone else. He invited Jacob to stay with them for seven years, and then Jacob could marry Rachel. We’re told in Genesis 29:20 that the years “seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her.” (NKJV)
At the end of the seven years, Jacob went to Laban and asked for his wife. Laban gathered together the men of the place and prepared a feast. But then when it came time to present the bride, he put Leah, his older daughter, in the bridal attire and gave her to Jacob instead.
When morning came, Jacob discovered the switch. He went to Laban and demanded to know why he’d deceived him in such a way. He pointed out that he’d worked seven years for Rachel, not Leah.
Laban told him that it was their custom that the younger daughter could not marry before the older daughter. He told Jacob to finish his honeymoon week with Leah, then he could marry Rachel if he served another seven years.
So Jacob married Rachel and went on to serve another seven years for her. And though he was married to Leah first, Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah.
What a tangled mess we make when we attempt to deceive. Jacob deceived Esau and his father, so he fled to Haran where he was deceived by Laban. Two innocent sisters got caught up in the deception. Did they know what their father was planning? How did they feel about it? How did it affect their relationship with each other? What a tragedy for all involved.
Jacob weds Leah and Rachel in Scripture: Genesis 29:15-30
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