As Jacob entered the land of his people, he met a group of shepherds by a well and asked them if they knew Laban, his uncle. Not only did they know him, but they pointed out that Rachel, Laban’s daughter, was headed their way.
Rachel was a shepherdess, taking her father’s sheep to water at the well, when she and Jacob first met. Jacob moved the stone from the well’s mouth and watered Laban’s sheep. Then he kissed Rachel, lifted up his voice, and wept.
Jacob told Rachel who he was and that his mother was her father’s sister, and she ran and told her father. Laban came to meet him, hugged him, kissed him, and brought him to their house. He welcomed him as a member of the family.
After deceiving his brother, receiving Isaac’s blessing, fleeing for his life, and meeting with God at Bethel, what a relief it must have been to Jacob to find refuge with family. Though his parents sent him off to find a wife, it doesn’t appear he immediately shared that with Laban and his family. Instead, he took a month just to get acquainted. During that time he worked for Laban without pay.
At the end of the month, Laban asked Jacob what he wanted his wages to be. Jacob offered to work for seven years in order to marry Rachel.
Why didn’t Jacob just ask for Rachel’s hand then? Why did he offer to work seven years before marrying her? Was he hesitant to rush into marriage? Was he waiting for Rachel to grow up? Did he need to work out his guilt from what he’d done to Esau? Was he allowing time for her older sister Leah to get married? We don’t know. All we know is he loved Rachel, and the seven years passed quickly.
Rachel meets Jacob in Scripture: Genesis 29:1-14
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