Verses 9–14

Here we see, 1. Rachel’s humility and industry: She kept her father’s sheep (Gen. 29:9), that is, she took the care of them, having servants under her that were employed about them. Rachel’s name signifies a sheep. Note, Honest useful labour is that which nobody needs be ashamed of, nor ought it to be a hindrance to any one’s preferment. 2. Jacob’s tenderness and affection. When he understood that this was his kinswoman (probably he had heard of her name before), knowing what his errand was into that country, we may suppose it struck his mind immediately that his must be his wife. Being already smitten with her ingenuous comely face (though it was probably sun-burnt, and she was in the homely dress of a shepherdess), he is wonderfully officious, and anxious to serve her (Gen. 29:10), and addresses himself to her with tears of joy and kisses of love, Gen. 29:11. She runs with all haste to tell her father; for she will by no means entertain her kinsman’s address without her father’s knowledge and approbation, Gen. 29:12. These mutual respects, at their first interview, were good presages of their being a happy couple. 3. Providence made that which seemed contingent and fortuitous to give speedy satisfaction to Jacob’s mind, as soon as ever he came to the place which he was bound for. Abraham’s servant, when he came upon a similar errand, met with similar encouragement. Thus God guides his people with his eye, Ps. 32:8. It is a groundless conceit which some of the Jewish writers have, that Jacob, when he kissed Rachel, wept because he had been set upon in his journey by Eliphaz the eldest son of Esau, at the command of his father, and robbed of all his money and jewels, which his mother had given him when she sent him away. It was plain that it was his passion for Rachel, and the surprise of this happy meeting, that drew these tears from his eyes. 4. Laban, though none of the best-humoured men, bade him welcome, was satisfied in the account he gave of himself, and of the reason of his coming in such poor circumstances. While we avoid the extreme, on the one hand, of being foolishly credulous, we must take heed of falling into the other extreme, of being uncharitably jealous and suspicious. Laban owned him for his kinsman: Thou art my bone and my flesh, Gen. 29:14. Note, Those are hard-hearted indeed that are unkind to their relations, and that hide themselves from their own flesh, Isa. 58:7.