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Genesis 29:23-29

Context
29:23 In the evening he brought his daughter Leah 1  to Jacob, 2  and Jacob 3  had marital relations with her. 4  29:24 (Laban gave his female servant Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her servant.) 5 

29:25 In the morning Jacob discovered it was Leah! 6  So Jacob 7  said to Laban, “What in the world have you done to me! 8  Didn’t I work for you in exchange for Rachel? Why have you tricked 9  me?” 29:26 “It is not our custom here,” 10  Laban replied, “to give the younger daughter in marriage 11  before the firstborn. 29:27 Complete my older daughter’s bridal week. 12  Then we will give you the younger one 13  too, in exchange for seven more years of work.” 14 

29:28 Jacob did as Laban said. 15  When Jacob 16  completed Leah’s bridal week, 17  Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. 18  29:29 (Laban gave his female servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her servant.) 19 

1 tn Heb “and it happened in the evening that he took Leah his daughter and brought her.”

sn His daughter Leah. Laban’s deception of Jacob by giving him the older daughter instead of the younger was God’s way of disciplining the deceiver who tricked his older brother. D. Kidner says this account is “the very embodiment of anti-climax, and this moment a miniature of man’s disillusion, experienced from Eden onwards” (Genesis [TOTC], 160). G. von Rad notes, “That Laban secretly gave the unloved Leah to the man in love was, to be sure, a monstrous blow, a masterpiece of shameless treachery…It was certainly a move by which he won for himself far and wide the coarsest laughter” (Genesis [OTL], 291).

2 tn Heb “to him”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

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

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

5 tn Heb “and Laban gave to her Zilpah his female servant, to Leah his daughter [for] a servant.” This clause gives information parenthetical to the narrative.

6 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.

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

8 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?”

9 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.

10 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.

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

12 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).

13 tn Heb “this other one.”

14 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.

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

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

17 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.

18 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.

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



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