Working Fourteen Years…

Reading #5 | July 11, 2024

Working Fourteen Years for the Woman He Loved: Jacob and Rachel

I read this scripture passage several times as I tried to sort out and have a mental picture of Jacob’s journey to the “land of the people of the east.” I often must do this with Scripture and while doing so, I kept thinking of how many settlers to the Thirteen Colonies came to the New World as indentured servants. An indentured servant coming to the colonies would have signed a contract with someone who would pay their expenses in exchange for working as a servant for a period of time. The time was usually seven years, the same as Jacob’s agreement with his Uncle Laban.

Now Jacob very well could have paid a dowery instead of pledging to work seven years to be given the hand of Laban’s daughter, Rachel. Instead, he chose to stay with Laban and work. The twist in Jacob’s story comes when he finishes his term of service and believes he has been given the hand of Rachel in marriage. Laban gave Leah, his oldest daughter, to Jacob instead. Surprisingly, Jacob does not get mad and leave, but agrees to work again for Laban another seven years and finally receives Rachel as his wife.

Faithful through it all, Leah praised the Lord and God saw and heard her feeling of pain and neglect from Jacob. For her patience and faith in God, He gives her four sons and a measure of joy. Jacob also shows patience in waiting another seven years as he remained patient and did not seek revenge on Laban for the deceit.

As faithful Christians, we can learn a great deal from the story of Jacob and also by making connections throughout the Bible. God works in mysterious ways that we often do not fully understand. Before this story of Jacob, there are similar stories earlier in Genesis that had similar themes of caring for the sheep and a well to provide water for them. If this sounds familiar to you, you are correct in comparing Old Testament stories and those of Jesus. Jesus tended a rather large flock himself as the Great Shepherd and he also drew water for the woman at the well in John 4: 5-30.

Joe Davis is a retired teacher and administrator with thirty years of experience in the public school system. He is also a certified lay preacher for the NC Synod, ELCA. He is married to Jennifer and has two daughters, Mary and Sarah Grace. They attend Holly Grove Lutheran Church in Lexington, NC.

To Consider

How do each (Laban, Leah, Rachel and Jacob) treat the other during this Scripture passage? And how do we compare to each of them?
In what ways can we identify with any or all of the people in this Scripture passage?


Lord, we know you are working in our lives to benefit Your Kingdom. When we face uncertainty, we pray You continue to guide our wandering through eyes of faith and love for one another. Remove our dislike for the way others have treated us so that we do not sin by seeking revenge. Thank you for Your grace and help us see opportunities to share that grace with others. Amen.

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