Genesis 29:

20 So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.

At the end of this 7 years period, Jacob worked for another 7 years:

26 Laban replied, “It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one. 27Finish this daughter’s bridal week; then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work.”

So Jacob worked 14 years for Rachel and Leah. During this time, Laban gave him Zilpah (v. 24) and
Bilhah (v. 29). Jacob's had children with them.

Did Laban give Jacob any other wages during this 14 years period?

Jacob wanted to leave Laban and return to Isaac but then they struck a deal, 30:

31“What shall I give you?” he asked.

“Don’t give me anything,” Jacob replied. “But if you will do this one thing for me, I will go on tending your flocks and watching over them: 32Let me go through all your flocks today and remove from them every speckled or spotted sheep, every dark-colored lamb and every spotted or speckled goat. They will be my wages. 33And my honesty will testify for me in the future, whenever you check on the wages you have paid me. Any goat in my possession that is not speckled or spotted, or any lamb that is not dark-colored, will be considered stolen.”

34“Agreed,” said Laban. “Let it be as you have said.”

Six years later, Jacob fled Laban. Jacob said to Laban in Genesis 31:

38 “I have been with you for twenty years now.

7+7+6 = 20 years

At this point, Jacob had a lot of possessions, Genesis 32:

13b from what he had with him he selected a gift for his brother Esau: 14 two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 15 thirty female camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. 16He put them in the care of his servants

Jacob gave Esau 550 animals as gifts. He had servants working for him. Jacob still had plenty for himself, Genesis 33:

12Then Esau said, “Let us be on our way; I’ll accompany you.”

13 But Jacob said to him, “My lord knows that the children are tender and that I must care for the ewes and cows that are nursing their young. If they are driven hard just one day, all the animals will die. 14So let my lord go on ahead of his servant, while I move along slowly at the pace of the flocks and herds before me and the pace of the children, until I come to my lord in Seir.”

15Esau said, “Then let me leave some of my men with you.”

“But why do that?” Jacob asked. “Just let me find favor in the eyes of my lord.”

Jacob was confident he had enough men with him to defend his possessions against robbers. It seems that he worked 14 years and didn't have much. Then in 6 years, he acquired a lot of wealth in Paddan Aram. Is this assessment correct? There seems to be a disconnect between what he got for the first 14 years and what he got in the last 6 years.

  • 1
    The text is very clear, I'm not sure why you're doubting it. And yes his wealth was great, because he was blessed by God. Laban certainly didn't want to give him as much as he did.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Sep 1, 2021 at 3:07

2 Answers 2


Jacob married Leah and Rachel after 7 years of working for Laban. He decided to go back to Canaan after Joseph had been born. That would mean that all his children were born in 7 years period, which is impossible.

Jacob had seven kids with Leah (Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Dinah). She stopped having children between Judah and Issachar. This is when she gave Jacob her servant Zilpah who had two sons with him. So there had to be at least an 8-9 years difference between her oldest Reuben and her youngest Dinah. Probably more.

There must have been extra time between the second 7 years period and the final 6 years.

Additionally, in the conversation with Laban Jacob said in Genesis 31:

38 This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten. 39 That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night. 40 Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes. 41 Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times.

So it seems, that he was compensating Laban from the very beginning all through the twenty years of his service. This suggests Jacob was receiving some sort of extra payment while working for his two wives.


Genesis 31

4So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field, to his flock, 5and said to them, “I see your father’s [a]countenance, that it is not favorable toward me as before; but the God of my father has been with me. 6And you know that with all my might I have served your father. 7Yet your father has deceived me and changed my wages ten times, but God did not allow him to hurt me. 8If he said thus: ‘The speckled shall be your wages,’ then all the flocks bore speckled. And if he said thus: ‘The streaked shall be your wages,’ then all the flocks bore streaked. 9So God has taken away the livestock of your father and given them to me.

This is the bottom line: Yes, In the last 6 years of working for Laban, God miraculously transfers the wealth of Laban to Jacob to bless Jacob and punish Laban's cheating. God has blessed Abraham and Isaac similarly.

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