Jacob Moves to Laban’s Territory

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The content of this passage reflects the significance of Jacob’s encounter with the living God at Bethel. Prior to that experience Jacob had been fleeing from Esau and now he shows a new purpose and determination in life. He moves north and east, following the Fertile Crescent, on a journey of 450 miles into Mesopotamia (vv. 1-4). He goes to the land where his grandfather Abraham had come from some 150 years before. Up to this point Jacob had always been the big man, the son of a wealthy and influential leader and a man with many servants. Suddenly everything is different as he is now an outsider and a stranger among men who has no use for him. He has learned what God is like at Bethel and now he is about to learn what man is like at Haran.

It is significant how Jacob’s meeting of Rachel parallels his father’s meeting of Rebekah. You could say that it was love at first sight. It happens at a well near Haran, where his uncle Laban lived (v. 5).  Laban was a squeezing, grasping, clutching, covetous tight wad of a sinner. Jacob meets Rachael at a well just as Abraham’s servant Eleazar did many years before as he was looking for a wife for Isaac (v. 6). The timing was the work of a sovereign God leading all the way (24:27).

When Rachel arrives at the well with her flocks Jacob moves in and rolls the stone away and begins to water his cousin’s flocks (vv. 7-12). The description of the size of the rock needs to be noted, as it says that only when all the shepherds are present are the men able to lift the rock from the well and water the flocks (v. 8). This is a romantic story of Rebekah at the well and goes on to tell how Jacob kissed her, and lifted up his voice and wept (v. 11). Not being used to such attention and service she stood by in astonishment. No doubt she was shocked as he introduced himself as her cousin. It says that, with her soul on fire, she left the well and ran home to tell her father that a stranger had come and that he was a nephew.


Just as God was leading in the life of Jacob he wants to lead in the circumstances of my life. The big question is what area of my life am I still trying to manage and need to turn over to Him?

Genesis 29:1-12 (English Standard Version)

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