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Shadows In The Darkness

The sibling rivalry between Jacob and his brother Esau (see the notes for Genesis 27 in the study Genesis 26-28) had nearly descended to a deadly level:

"27:41 And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob. 27:42 And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah: and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee. 27:43 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; and arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran; 27:44 And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother's fury turn away; 27:45 Until thy brother's anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him: then I will send, and fetch thee from thence: why should I be deprived also of you both in one day?" (Genesis 27:41-45 KJV)

"What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?"

Rebekah's "tarry with him a few days" hope would not be realized. Jacob would remain with Laban for over 20 years ("31:41 Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle" Genesis 31:41 KJV), during which all but one of his children (Benjamin was the only Israelite patriarch to actually be born in the land of Israel, and even then tragically - his mother Rachel died giving him birth) were born from the two wives and two concubines (see the Fact Finder question below) that became his family.

In The Dark Jacob fled to Laban because he had made himself out to be his brother Esau in the darkness of his father Isaac's old-age blindness. Jacob would now experience a similar switch in the darkness of the night.

"29:12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's brother, and that he was Rebekah's son: and she ran and told her father. 29:13 And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister's son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things. 29:14 And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month. 29:15 And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be?

29:16 And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 29:17 Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured. 29:18 And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.

29:19 And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me. 29:20 And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.

29:21 And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her.

29:22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. 29:23 And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her. 29:24 And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid.

29:25 And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?

29:26 And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. 29:27 Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.

29:28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also. 29:29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid. 29:30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years." (Genesis 29:12-30 KJV)

Fact Finder: Who were Jacob's wives and concubines? Who were each of their children?
See Leah (pronounced in Hebrew lay-ah), Rachel (pronounced in Hebrew raw-kale), Bilhah (pronounced in Hebrew bill-haw), Zilpah (pronounced in Hebrew zill-paw) and Children of Jacob


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