MARRIAGE OF JACOB WITH LEAH AND RACHEL.
(1) Jacob went on his journey.—Heb., Jacob lifted up his feet, that is, hastened forward. Confirmed in the possession of the birthright by God as well as man, and encouraged by the promise of the Divine presence, and of a safe return home, he casts no wistful glances back, but pursues his journey under the inspiriting influence of hope.
The people of the East.—Usually the Arabians are designated by this phrase, but it here signifies the tribes who inhabited northern Mesopotamia.
A great stone was upon the well’s mouth.—The region round Haran, though fertile, is very dry, and the chief use of the stone was to prevent the well from being choked with sand. As the proper translation is the stone upon the well’s mouth was great, it would also serve to prevent the well from being used, except at fixed times; for it probably required the strength of two or three men (comp. Robinson, Bibl. Res. ii. 180) to remove it; nor does the language of Genesis 29:10 necessarily imply that Jacob rolled it away without the aid of others. Besides this, the stone may have marked that the well was private property: for, as we have seen in the account of the covenants of Abraham and Isaac with Abimelech, no possession was morevalued than that of wells. And as we find the shepherds all waiting for Rachel, and that immediately on her arrival the stone is rolled away, and her sheep watered first, while the rest, though they had been there long before her, yet have to bide their time till her wants are supplied, it is probable that Laban had at least a first claim upon its enjoyment. No such courtesy was shown to the daughters of Jethro (Exodus 2:17).
Genesis 29:29And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid.
Genesis 29:30And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.
Genesis 29:31And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.BIRTH OF JACOB’S ELEVEN SONS, AND HIS DAUGHTER.
(31) Leah was hated.—We must not soften this down too much; for plainly Leah was not the object of love at all. It was her fruitfulness which gave her value in her husband’s eyes, and when this ceased, Jacob utterly neglected her (Genesis 30:15).