Initial Laban's plan was that Jacob must first serve seven years before he received his wife

Genesis 29:19 NASB

Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than to give her to another man; stay with me.” 20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him like only a few days because of his love for her.

But after some trickery and twists Jacob found himself married to Leah rather Rachel

Genesis 29:26 NASB

But Laban said, “It is not [e]the practice in our place to [f]marry off the younger before the firstborn. 27 Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also for the service which you shall serve with me, for another seven years.”

Jacob went on to offer himself for another seven years for Rachel but it seems he did not complete the seven years before he was given Rachel

Genesis 29:30 NASB

So Jacob had relations with Rachel also, and indeed he loved Rachel more than Leah, and he served with [g]Laban for another seven years.

Did Laban change his mind about waiting another seven years before giving Rachel to Jacob?

  • We are not told so we do not know.
    – Dottard
    Apr 20, 2022 at 7:18
  • 1
    'Fulfil her week' clearly is a token week worked until receiving Rachel. After which he will serve the entire seven years.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 20, 2022 at 8:43

1 Answer 1


"Fulfill her week" means, “Continue the wedding festivities with Leah for a full week,” a literal week per the marriage custom. What would happen after that? Read carefully: "Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this [woman, Rachel] also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years." (Gen 29:27) I don't think Laban changed his mind. The text is a bit confusing, to be sure, because it might sound as if Laban is saying that Jacob would have to work another seven years before marrying Rachel (if that's what you think, you are not alone, because that is what, for example, Josephus thought). As I read this, though, Jacob would not have to wait another seven years before marrying Rachel, but just the seven days of Leah's wedding festivities. He would, however, have to work for another seven years for her, after marrying her. That they did in fact get married after the week is confirmed amply by the fact that Rachel and her maid did a great deal of baby-making activity with Jacob, including two sons born to Bilhah as well as Joseph, born to Rachel; and this happens before the second seven years expire, at which time Jacob says to Laban, “Send me away” (Gen 30:25-26). (Benjamin arrived later, in Canaan.)

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