Now, years later, Laban finds the son of Abe, who is single and of marriageable age, on his proverbial doorstep. Scripture doesn't say that Jacob left with any tangible items - it seems he ran like a thief out of his daddy's domain or in an urgent fashion, at least - and no bride-price gift is mentioned. Jake doesn't mention why he is in the area. Wonder what Laban is thinking ...
Jacob's stay is negotiated at a month into the new relationship with his relatives. The matter of a wife is brought up and a deal is struck. As the contract comes due, Jake prepares to receive his bride and finds he has been deceived at the marriage; too late to object to the fulfillment.
I wonder why Jake wasn't forthright in his mission, why didn't he tell Uncle Laban that Father Abe had sent him back home to fetch himself a wife. Did Jacob intend to bide his time until his momma called for him? Initially, did he plan to obey his father by taking a wife from there? What was he thinking? Was he scheming? Given his crafty background, why was Jacob not prepared for the duplicity Laban handed him? Or was he?
And what on earth did Laban tell Leah? How on earth did he subdue Rachel during that time? Did either daughter resist this or were they both complicit in the cheat?
What a filthy mess of dysfunction, deception and cooperation. What a wedding gift. What a reputation. What a bunch of baggage.
Lord God, I thank You that You are not a God who shows favortism to one over another. Lord, I thank You that You have allowed this messed up situation to be made known to subsequent generations, and that You are the Redeeming One. I praise You that no one's deceptions and cheating can detour Your plan. And, my heart breaks for the brides, their children and even, the groom. Lord, I thank You that Your plan is for one man and one woman to marry and have children. Your wise plan for exclusivity and monogamy provides shelter and protection unto itself.
Lord, help me be a wife who loves You best of all, who honors her husband, who has her family's best interest at heart, and chooses the craggy, narrow, oft'times precipitous path of selfless love, integrity, honesty and holiness. Keep me from participating in anything duplicitous, anything which betrays a trust You have given me to keep and anything which is wrong (even if it is merely a thought - for even a thought can take root or offer a stronghold to the enemy of my soul). I trust You Lord, help me to live that out in word and deed, that I may bring You much glory.