Drash
Genesis 29:10-12

Blaine Robison, M.A.

Delivered 13 November 2021

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"10 And it came to pass that Ya'akov saw Rachel, the daughter of Laban, brother of his mother, and the sheep of Laban, brother of his mother, Ya'akov went near and rolled the stone from the mouth of the well and watered the flock of Laban, brother of his mother. 11 And Ya'akov kissed Ra-kale, and lifted his voice and wept. 12 And Ya'akov told Rachel that he was a relative of her father, and that he was a son of Rebekah, and she ran and told her father." (Gen 29:10-12 BR) 

 

For an explanation of this passage and its background see my commentary here.

 

This parashah Vayetze ("and he left"), which extends from chapter 28 verse 10 through chapter 32 verse 3, tells of Jacob's journey from Beersheva to Haran, the twenty years he lived there during which he gained a large family and considerable wealth, and finally his return to Canaan. When he left Beersheva Jacob was over 70 years of age and considering his death at 147 he was in the prime of his life. Yet, he was unmarried, even though his brother had married at the age of 40 (Gen 26:34).

Jacob's meeting of Rachel is the second of three such stories in the Torah in which a man coming from a distant land stops at a well, heroically draws water for a young woman and afterwards a marriage occurs (cf. Gen 24:1127; Ex 2:1521). Jacob would have known the story of his mother's well encounter and perhaps he realized that this was more than just coincidence.

Many Christian commentators have suggested that Jacob's trip to Haran was a punishment for his treatment of his brother. Critics of Jacob treat Esau as a victim while overlooking the fact that he was an immoral and godless man who almost succeeded in stealing the covenantal blessing that belonged to Jacob, the one whom God loved. Jacob actually went to Haran as directed by his parents to take a wife from the daughters of Rebekah's brother (Gen 27:46; 28:1-2), so that he wouldn't marry a pagan Canaanite like his brother. The triple mention by Moses of the phrase "brother of his mother" emphasizes the obedience of Jacob to the parental instruction.

In case you haven't heard me speak about Jacob before I am a defender of Jacob. Christians like to describe themselves as sons and daughters of Abraham (Gal 3:7). Of course, you can't really be considered a son or daughter of Abraham if you just believe in Yeshua and keep on sinning. Abraham was faithful in keeping God's commandments. I like to consider myself a son of Jacob, because in this very parashah Jacob is informed that God would make him an assembly of people groups (Gen 28:3), which would eventually include the Gentile followers of Yeshua. To present that perspective I wrote a biographical article called "Our Father Jacob" which you can find on my website, blainerobison.com, a shameless plug.

Back to the passage. The parashah begins with Jacob en route to Haran stopping where Abraham had built an altar when he first entered Canaan. In that place Jacob received a powerful revelation from ADONAI who confirmed that he was the chosen heir of all the covenantal promises made to Abraham (Gen 28:13-15). The divine revelation given to Jacob inspired an awareness of God's sovereign plan for his life. Upon arriving in Haran, having met Rachel and having discovered her identity, he realized that the desires of his parents and the will of God were completely synchronized. Jacob concluded that his cousin Rachel was the wife God intended. This was love at first sight. The "ah-hah" moment filled him with wonder, and he became emotional.

In Scripture people weep for a variety of reasons, whether from grief, humiliation, gratitude or joy. Unlike laughing weeping conveys deeply personal emotions. It opens that secret part of ourselves that we keep hidden from the world. Indeed weeping reveals vulnerability. You can laugh at the trivial but weeping is reserved for those moments that really matter to your life.

Rashi suggests that Jacob's emotions were compounded by the realization that he had brought nothing to present as a bride-price, so how could he achieve God's will? We know that further in this parashah Jacob made a bargain with Laban to offer seven years of labor as a bride-price for Rachel, but the trickery of Laban caused Jacob to end up with both of his daughters and their maidservants as wives instead of just Rachel.

From this plural marriage arrangement God gave Jacob twelve sons. From those twelve sons came twelve tribes that became the people chosen by God out of all the nations on the earth to preserve the knowledge of the true God. Moreover it would be through Leah, the one loved less (Gen 29:30), that God would continue the Messianic line to bring forth the King of Israel and the Savior of the world.

Many people in the Body of Messiah are offended by the method by which the twelve sons and their descendants came into existence. Woke Bible scholars would like to cancel Jacob, but their opinion has no weight in heaven. The Bible contains no criticism of the origin of the chosen people, but their beginning happened according to the providence of God. In fact, God's approval of the outcome will be celebrated for eternity with the names of the twelve sons of Jacob inscribed on the twelve gates of the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:12). Get used to it.

Barukh Hashem.

Copyright 2021 by Blaine Robison. All rights reserved.