Walk 11 – Read Genesis Chapters 27 through 31. The Theme is: The blessing of Jacob; the vision of Jacob; Jacob meets Rachel; Building the Family; the deceiver is deceived.
We may surmise from where Jacob received some of his character. Rebecca shows Jacob how to steal Esau’s blessing as the first born; we will see shortly that her brother, Laban, is a fine match for the deceiver, Jacob. Esau holds a bitter grudge against Jacob because of the blessing of his father, “You will live by the sword and you will serve your brother. But when you grow restless, you will throw his yoke from off your neck.” Esau planned on killing Jacob after the time of mourning for Isaac was complete. As it turns out, that would have been a long time; Isaac lived another 80 years and they buried him together.
Isaac knew that in spite of the circumstances the blessing he had given to Jacob was of the Lord and he confirmed it when he sent him to Paddan Aram to take a wife from his uncle’s daughters. Jacob came to a certain place where he lay with a stone for a pillow. He dreamed of a stairway to heaven and God spoke from the top of the stairs. Jacob called the place Bethel, house of God, and vowed before God. This was the decision point in Jacob’s life to follow the God of Abraham and Isaac.
Yet another Well
We have seen that Rebecca was recognized as the one to be the wife of Isaac because of watering 10 camels. Now Jacob falls in love with Rachel because Jacob waters the sheep she is tending. As I said earlier; Laban is a match in deception for Jacob. He agrees to hire Jacob for 7 years for his daughter Rachel but instead gives him his older daughter, Leah, instead. He then bargains with Jacob and after the wedding feast of 7 days gives him Rachel also in exchange for another 7 years of work. Very crafty! Was this one of the ten times he changes Jacob’s wages? Leah is unloved and knows it. God notices this and opens her womb but not Rachel’s. Leah bears Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah. Rachel becomes distressed and we have sisterly conflict.
Wives and Wages
Rachel is distressed with not bearing children and gives her handmaid, Bilhah, into Jacob’s arms. Bilhah bore two sons, Dan and Naphtali. The sisterly competition does not stop and Leah’s handmaid, Zilpah, is also given into Jacob’s arms. Zilpah bore two sons, Gad and Asher.
Jacob is surely building a family; but not one that is destined to live without contention.
Leah hired a night with Jacob with Reuben’s mandrakes. She conceived and bore Issachar. She also bore another son, Zebulun, and a daughter, Dinah.
The scripture coyly says at this point, “Then God remembered Rachel,” almost as if He had forgotten. We do have trouble waiting patiently. Rachel conceived and bore Joseph.
Jacob served Laban for 6 more years; took his family; his herds and flocks; and slipped away. Laban was furious; but God intervened and Jacob went home.