This is likely going to be a fairly short post. I just want to bring out a few things that I've noticed this month from the following passage:
Genesis 29:16-30 (NIV)
Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel was lovely in form, and beautiful. Jacob was in love with Rachel and said, "I'll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel."
Laban said, "It's better that I give her to you than to some other man. Stay here with me." So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.
Then Jacob said to Laban, "Give me my wife. My time is completed, and I want to lie with her."
So Laban brought together all the people of the place and gave a feast. But when evening came, he took his daughter Leah and gave her to Jacob, and Jacob lay with her. And Laban gave his servant girl Zilpah to his daughter as her maidservant.
When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, "What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn't I? Why have you deceived me?"
Laban replied, "It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one. Finish this daughter's bridal week; then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work."
And Jacob did so. He finished the week with Leah, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. Laban gave his servant girl Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her maidservant. Jacob lay with Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah. And he worked for Laban for another seven years.
I find this passage interesting for several reasons. First, I had always been taught that Jacob received Leah instead of his beloved Rachel and then had to work another seven years BEFORE receiving Rachel. This is not true, as the passage above states that he finished out his bridal week with Leah and THEN received Rachel that following week. THEN he worked the seven additional years. During this time, he was married to both of the sisters.
Bilhah and Zilpah (the maidservants of Rachel and Leah, respectively) are mentioned right away. This is interesting to me because, as we all know, the maidservants are given to Jacob in order for the sisters to have children through them. I think these women were poorly treated, because they were merely pawns in a jealous war between two women.
Leah is said to have had "weak eyes." Could she have had poor eye sight, less than beautiful eyes, or have a lazy eye? Obviously, Rachel was more beautiful. Is this why Jacob was drawn to her and loved her more? Or was it merely God's plan that Jacob marry Rachel all along, since she was the girl that Jacob saw at the well, bringing her father's sheep for water?
Lastly, what I notice is that Jacob was a deceiver from early on. He deceitfully stole Esau's birthright and also his blessing. Then, the tables are turned on him when Laban deceives him with the daughter switch. If you read on, you'll find that Jacob again plays the deceiver when he gains for himself great flocks of sheep by separating out the speckled and spotted lambs.
Through all of this deceit, God still blessed Jacob and made him a GREAT nation! Through Judah's line (Jacob's son), Jesus Christ was later born. Forgiveness came in spite of sin and deception. God's favor rested upon Jacob, Isaac and Abraham. God did not forget His promises to Abraham. He does not forget His promises to us. What He said can be trusted.
And we can be sure that when we ask for forgiveness, in humility and repentance, He will be sure to give it.