LABOR OF LOVE

By: Ely Lagajino

So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her. Genesis 29: 20 (NIV)

Jacob volunteered to help Rachel care for the family sheep and goats. After a month of secret observation, Rachel’s father, Laban, thought that the hardworking and skillful Jacob would be a blessing. Laban welcomed Jacob to stay with them.

This allowed Jacob to propose that he would like to marry Rachel, which Laban agreed. But as a custom, before the marriage, the groom must pay a certain amount called a dowry to the father of the bride. (PP p.186) The parents would not let their daughter marry a man without assurance that their daughter would not suffer hardship in life during their early years of marriage. The father must return the dowry to the newlywed as their starting capital.

When Jacob arrived in Haran, he did not bring any riches except his staff and worn feet, but with a promised blessing from God.

They agreed that , Jacob would work seven years to marry Rachel. The seven years of service would be converted into an equivalent amount, and Laban must give it as a dowry to the couple during the wedding.

However, Laban abused the custom by not giving the dowry. After the awfully long wedding ceremony, Jacob removed the bride’s veil and discovered he married a fake Rachel in Leah’s person. (Genesis 29:21-25)

Laban told Jacob that as a custom in Haran, the older must be given into marriage before the younger one. He practiced a cruel deception to retain a valuable helper. Jacob knew that he could not love Leah since she stood as a collaborator. Laban insisted that Leah should not be returned for it will bring disgrace to the family. (PP p.188)

It was a painful trick on Jacob, and he remembered how he deceived his father, Isaac, and cheated his brother Esau. 

After a week of marriage, another term was agreed upon that Jacob would work for another seven years as a dowry to marry Rachel, which he did because of love until they were finally married.

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