it says in Genesis 29:9-12 NKJV

9 Now while he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess. 10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went near and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. 11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice and wept. 12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s relative and that he was Rebekah’s son. So she ran and told her father.

To me this would be a very awkward meeting. Is it known why Jacob wept?

1 Answer 1


After a long journey, Jacob wept tears of re-union, never having laid eyes on his closest relatives. This much is obvious, but the immediate background is just as important. Jacob had just escaped a horrible situation in which his own brother planned to kill him and his mother had to warn him to flee after receiving his father's blessing under false pretenses.

Genesis 27

41 Esau bore a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. Esau said to himself, “Let the time of mourning for my father come, so that I may kill my brother Jacob.” 42 When Rebekah got news of what her older son Esau had in mind, she summoned her younger son Jacob and said to him: “Listen! Your brother Esau intends to get his revenge by killing you. 43 So now, my son, obey me: flee at once to my brother Laban in Haran, 44 and stay with him a while until your brother’s fury subsides— 45 until your brother’s anger against you subsides and he forgets what you did to him.

Thus Jacob must have felt a great sense of relief to find Rachel, who was Rebekah's niece and thus reminded him of his mother. So it is not going too far to suggest that Jacob wept in relief, having discovered a safe haven in Rachel and her family.

Finally, we may consider that it was part of God's plan for Jacob to marry Rachel. Rebekah had warned Isaac she would be devasted if Jacob were to marry outside the clan (27:46), and so Isaac called Jacob to him and said:

Gen. 28

“You shall not marry a Canaanite woman! 2 Go now to Paddan-aram, to the home of your mother’s father Bethuel, and there choose a wife for yourself from among the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother. 3 May God Almighty bless you and make you fertile, multiply you that you may become an assembly of peoples.

Being son of filial piety, Jacob longed to fulfill his mother's hope and his father's command. He must have felt anguish over the fact that he had deceived his father to obtain his blessing earlier; but now he received Isaac's blessing openly. The blessing of his parents and of God was upon him, on the condition that he marry among the daughters of Laban. And now, Rachel stood before him like a dream come true.

For all of these reasons, Jacob wept for joy, mingled with the anguish of immediate past family trauma.


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