Daily Word

Bait and switch | Genesis 29:21-30

21 Finally, the time came for him to marry her. “I have fulfilled my agreement,” Jacob said to Laban. “Now give me my wife so I can sleep with her.” 22 So Laban invited everyone in the neighborhood and prepared a wedding feast. 23 But that night, when it was dark, Laban took Leah to Jacob, and he slept with her. 24 (Laban had given Leah a servant, Zilpah, to be her maid.)

25 But when Jacob woke up in the morning—it was Leah! “What have you done to me?” Jacob raged at Laban. “I worked seven years for Rachel! Why have you tricked me?” 26 “It’s not our custom here to marry off a younger daughter ahead of the firstborn,” Laban replied. 27 “But wait until the bridal week is over; then we’ll give you Rachel, too—provided you promise to work another seven years for me.”

28 So Jacob agreed to work seven more years. A week after Jacob had married Leah, Laban gave him Rachel, too. 29 (Laban gave Rachel a servant, Bilhah, to be her maid.) 30 So Jacob slept with Rachel, too, and he loved her much more than Leah. He then stayed and worked for Laban the additional seven years.

Genesis 29:21-30 (NLT)

Bait and switch

The seven years were finally up and Jacob could have Rachel as his wife and satisfy his physical longing. Laban arranged a wedding which, though not specifically mentioned, probably included wine. Jacob likely had his fill and Laban took advantage of that. He baited Jacob with Rachel then slipped Leah in instead so that Jacob consummated a marriage with Leah. Now he was married to Leah. The deceiver (Genesis 27:26-29) had been deceived.

It also harkens back to the Isaac blessing event in the fact that he deceived Isaac into thinking he was his brother, so now, Laban tricks Jacob into thinking Leah is Rachel. “Jacob exchanged the younger for the older; Laban exchanged the older for the younger.” (enduringword.com) The traditional veil and darkness played into this, but I’m guessing wine as the major factor.


As you can imagine, Jacob was fire spittin’ mad – as any of us would be. Yet in a way, it is a little “payback” for his trickery with Esau. His brother Esau and father Isaac were quite upset when Jacob (and Rebekah) deceived them to get the blessing from Isaac. But he accepts it. What other choice does he have? He really wants Rachel. 

Two wives at once

So he gets two wives at once (plus another 7 year’s labor). We don’t need to say any more to know where this is headed! The slave women will also factor into this drama as we’ll see later. “Bigamy and polygamy were never God’s will (Gen 2:24).” (planobiblechapel.org quoting Wenham)


  • We could talk about the troubles of alcohol, and they are there, but what’s the bigger issue? Honesty and integrity. If there was a tradition as Laban says, then he should have told Jacob up front. Ultimately isn’t it about trusting God and accepting His will? Oftentimes it goes against ours. Which will will win?
Bait and switch car sales. Image from bmayolaw.com *

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