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Genesis 29:17

Context
29:17 Leah’s eyes were tender, 1  but Rachel had a lovely figure and beautiful appearance.) 2 

Genesis 29:25-32

Context

29:25 In the morning Jacob discovered it was Leah! 3  So Jacob 4  said to Laban, “What in the world have you done to me! 5  Didn’t I work for you in exchange for Rachel? Why have you tricked 6  me?” 29:26 “It is not our custom here,” 7  Laban replied, “to give the younger daughter in marriage 8  before the firstborn. 29:27 Complete my older daughter’s bridal week. 9  Then we will give you the younger one 10  too, in exchange for seven more years of work.” 11 

29:28 Jacob did as Laban said. 12  When Jacob 13  completed Leah’s bridal week, 14  Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. 15  29:29 (Laban gave his female servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her servant.) 16  29:30 Jacob 17  had marital relations 18  with Rachel as well. He loved Rachel more than Leah, so he worked for Laban 19  for seven more years. 20 

The Family of Jacob

29:31 When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, 21  he enabled her to become pregnant 22  while Rachel remained childless. 29:32 So Leah became pregnant 23  and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, 24  for she said, “The Lord has looked with pity on my oppressed condition. 25  Surely my husband will love me now.”

1 tn Heb “and the eyes of Leah were tender.” The disjunctive clause (introduced here by a conjunction and a noun) continues the parenthesis begun in v. 16. It is not clear what is meant by “tender” (or “delicate”) eyes. The expression may mean she had appealing eyes (cf. NAB, NRSV, NLT), though some suggest that they were plain, not having the brightness normally expected. Either way, she did not measure up to her gorgeous sister.

2 tn Heb “and Rachel was beautiful of form and beautiful of appearance.”

3 tn Heb “and it happened in the morning that look, it was Leah.” By the use of the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”), the narrator invites the reader to view the scene through Jacob’s eyes.

4 tn Heb “and he said”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

5 tn Heb What is this you have done to me?” The use of the pronoun “this” is enclitic, adding emphasis to the question: “What in the world have you done to me?”

6 sn The Hebrew verb translated tricked here (רָמָה, ramah) is cognate to the noun used in Gen 27:35 to describe Jacob’s deception of Esau. Jacob is discovering that what goes around, comes around. See J. A. Diamond, “The Deception of Jacob: A New Perspective on an Ancient Solution to the Problem,” VT 34 (1984): 211-13.

7 tn Heb “and Laban said, ‘It is not done so in our place.’” The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.

8 tn Heb “to give the younger.” The words “daughter” and “in marriage” are supplied in the translation for clarity and for stylistic reasons.

9 tn Heb “fulfill the period of seven of this one.” The referent of “this one” has been specified in the translation as “my older daughter” for clarity.

sn Bridal week. An ancient Hebrew marriage ceremony included an entire week of festivities (cf. Judg 14:12).

10 tn Heb “this other one.”

11 tn Heb “and we will give to you also this one in exchange for labor which you will work with me, still seven other years.”

sn In exchange for seven more years of work. See C. H. Gordon, “The Story of Jacob and Laban in the Light of the Nuzi Tablets,” BASOR 66 (1937): 25-27; and J. Van Seters, “Jacob’s Marriages and Ancient Near Eastern Customs: A Reassessment,” HTR 62 (1969): 377-95.

12 tn Heb “and Jacob did so.” The words “as Laban said” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

13 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

14 tn Heb “the seven of this one.” The referent of “this one” has been specified in the translation as Leah to avoid confusion with Rachel, mentioned later in the verse.

15 tn Heb “and he gave to him Rachel his daughter for him for a wife.” The referent of the pronoun “he” (Laban) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

16 tn Heb “and Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his female servant, for her for a servant.”

17 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

18 tn Heb “went in also to Rachel.” The expression “went in to” in this context refers to sexual intercourse, i.e., the consummation of the marriage.

19 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Laban) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

20 tn Heb “and he loved also Rachel, more than Leah, and he served with him still seven other years.”

21 tn Heb “hated.” The rhetorical device of overstatement is used (note v. 30, which says simply that Jacob loved Rachel more than he did Leah) to emphasize that Rachel, as Jacob’s true love and the primary object of his affections, had an advantage over Leah.

22 tn Heb “he opened up her womb.”

23 tn Or “Leah conceived” (also in vv. 33, 34, 35).

24 sn The name Reuben (רְאוּבֵן, rÿuven) means “look, a son.”

25 tn Heb “looked on my affliction.”

sn Leah’s explanation of the name Reuben reflects a popular etymology, not an exact one. The name means literally “look, a son.” Playing on the Hebrew verb “look,” she observes that the Lord has “looked” with pity on her oppressed condition. See further S. R. Driver, Genesis, 273.



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