Fulfill her week, and we will give you this also for the service which you shall serve with me yet seven other years.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Fulfil her week.—The marriage festival seems to have lasted a week, as was the custom in later times (Judges 14:12), and. to have forsaken Leah during this period would have been to offer her an insult which her brothers must have avenged. Appeased, therefore, by the promise of Rachel as soon as the seven days are over, Jacob, rather than quarrel with the whole family, submits to the wrong. The Hebrew is remarkable, “Fulfil the week of this, and we will give to thee also the this for the service.” But in Hebrew this . . . this means the one and the other (Genesis 31:38; Genesis 31:41), and it is a mistake to suppose that the language will allow the first this to be understood of any one but Leah, and the second this of any one but Rachel.Genesis 29:27. Fulfil her week — The seven days usually devoted to the feast and solemnity of marriage, Jdg 14:12-17; for it does not appear that it relates to the seven years Jacob afterward served. This Laban seems to have desired, that by a week’s cohabitation with Leah, his affections might be knit to her, and the marriage with her confirmed. We will give thee this also — Hereby he drew Jacob into the sin, and snare, and disquiet of multiplying wives. Jacob did not design it, but to have kept as true to Rachel as his father had done to Rebekah; he that had lived without a wife to the eighty-fourth year of his age, could then have been very well content with one: but Laban, to dispose of his two daughters without portions, and to get seven years’ service more out of Jacob, thus imposeth upon him, and draws him into such a strait, that he had some colourable reason for marrying them both.Genesis 24:59, Genesis 24:61. In the morning Jacob discovers that Laban had overreached him. This is the first retribution Jacob experiences for the deceitful practices of his former days. He expostulates with Laban, who pleads the custom of the country.
It is still the custom not to give the younger in marriage before the older, unless the latter be deformed or in some way defective. It is also not unusual to practise the very same trick that Laban now employed, if the suitor is so simple as to be off his guard. Jacob, however, did not expect this at his relative's hands, though he had himself taken part in proceedings equally questionable. "Fulfill the week of this." If this was the second day of the feast celebrating the nuptials of Leah, Laban requests him to Complete the week, and then he will give him Rachel also. If, however, Leah was fraudulently put upon him at the close of the week of feasting, then Laban in these words proposes to give Rachel to Jacob on fulfilling another week of nuptial rejoicing. The latter is in the present instance more likely. In either case the marriage of Rachel is only a week after that of Leah. Rather than lose Rachel altogether, Jacob consents to comply with Laban's terms.
Rachel was the wife of Jacob's affections and intentions. The taking of a second wife in the lifetime of the first was contrary to the law of nature, which designed one man for one woman Genesis 2:21-25. But the marrying of a sister-in-law was not yet incestuous, because no law had yet been made on the subject. Laban gives a handmaid to each of his daughters. To Rebekah his sister had been given more than one Genesis 24:61. Bondslaves had been in existence long before Laban's time Genesis 16:1. "And loved also Rachel more than Leah." This proves that even Leah was not unloved. At the time of his marriage Jacob was eighty-four years of age; which corresponds to half that age according to the present average of human life.Fulfil her week, the seven days usually devoted to the feast and solemnity of marriage, as Judges 14:12,15,17. And this he desired, that a week’s cohabitation with Leah might either knit his affections to her, or at least confirm the contract and marriage with her. Judges 14:17; and the Targum of Jerusalem fully expresses this sense,"fulfil the week of the days of the feast of Leah;''and to the same sense the Targum of Jonathan, Aben Ezra and Jarchi:
and we will give this also; meaning Rachel that stood by; and the sense is, that he and his wife, if he had any, or his friends about him, would give to Jacob Rachel also to be his wife, upon the following condition:
for the service which thou shall serve with me yet seven other years; which shows the avaricious temper of the man.Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)27. Fulfil the week] Laban’s proposal is that when the week’s marriage festivities for Leah are over, Jacob shall take Rachel as his second wife, on condition that he gives his services for another period of seven years. Nothing would justify the interruption of the seven days’ marriage ceremonial.
Marriage with two sisters was evidently free from objection in the primitive days of the Israelites; and, perhaps for that reason, it is introduced into the prophetical symbolism of Jeremiah 3:6 ff. and Ezekiel 23. But, in the Levitical law, marriage with two sisters simultaneously is forbidden; Leviticus 18:18.Verse 27. - Fulfill her week, - literally, make full the week of this otis, i.e. of Leah, if Leah was given to Jacob on the first night of the festivities (Calmer, Rosenmüller, Keil, Kalisch, Lange, Ainsworth); but id Leah was married at the close of the seven days, then it must refer to Rachel s week (Bush, Murphy) - and we (including Laban's wife and eldest son, as in Genesis 24:50, 55) will give thee this also (i.e. Rachel) for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years. Almost every motive that is mean, base, and despicable appears in this behavior of Laban's; if he attached little value to his daughters' affections, he had a keen appreciation of Jacob's qualities as a shepherd.
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