It happened, when Laban heard the news of Jacob, his sister’s son, that he ran to meet Jacob, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. Jacob told Laban all these things. Laban said to him, “Surely you are my bone and my flesh.” He lived with him for a month. Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my brother, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what will your wages be?”
Laban had two daughters. The name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and attractive. Jacob loved Rachel. He said, “I will serve you seven years for Rachel, your younger daughter.”
Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you, than that I should give her to another man. Stay with me.”
The Bible translators have had a difficult time translating the word that describes Leah’s eyes. Some translate it as “delicate.” The New Living Translation says that they had no “sparkle.” What we know for sure is that Jacob wanted Rachel to be his wife, so he made a deal with Laban that he would work for seven years for her.
I really appreciate the fact that Jacob was willing to take time and make considerable effort to get his wife.
It’s kind of interesting that the idea of working for nothing came up in Laban’s conversation. He spoke it in a joking manner, as if he would never consider such a thing, but that makes me wonder why he even brought it up. So, this is the first deal that Laban and Jacob made with each other. I think that they probably really did like each other at this point and it appears that Laban thought that Jacob was a very eligible bachelor. He seemed to have no trouble with the idea of giving his daughter to him.
It is very interesting to me that Laban told Jacob to “Stay with me.” This is the same thing he wanted Abraham’s servant to do when his sister was taken away. Laban seemed to want people to stay with him, but I have to ask myself whether it was hospitality or control. Jacob was pretty vulnerable at this point even though he may have felt strong and smart. It is when we are self confident that we fall. It’s best to put all of our trust in God because He is the one that protects us from bad deals. God had already promised to bless Jacob so he had nothing to worry about overall, but one of the things our God does in His care is to teach and discipline us. God had some training in store for Jacob.