Laban’s First Deception (Genesis 29:25)

Share the Post:

I’ll admit, there are a lot of Bible customs that I just don’t get. I don’t have the time to go into all of them here, but marriage customs in particular can be a little bit of a head scratcher. 

For instance, in Genesis 29:25, why is it that Jacob doesn’t realize that the woman he married is Leah, not Rachel? How did he not know that until the day after the wedding?

I know that a lot of this has to do with the bridal outfits, but I still find it hard to believe. It’s totally opposite of customs in our day, where we stare into our spouse’s face reaaaaaaally close during the marriage ceremony. Trust me, if I was marrying anyone else besides my wife that day, I would’ve been able to tell.

The real story here, though, is why Laban felt the need to pull the ole switcheroo on Jacob. It’s possible he could’ve just told Jacob about the tradition of marrying the oldest first, but it might’ve scared Jacob off from marrying either one of them.

Or, it’s possible that Laban feared that Leah would never get married. After all, she did have “weak eyes.”

This isn’t the only time that Laban has a less than honest relationship with his son-in-law. In Genesis 30-31, there’s another confrontation regarding Jacob’s livestock. Laban “cheats” Jacob several times (Genesis 31:7), and constantly tricks him into staying close by. 

To be fair, Laban recognizes that God blesses Jacob, and as long as he’s close by, Laban will prosper as well. It doesn’t make his deception right, but it does make it more understandable…I guess.

The root of Laban’s deception (both times) has to be his carnality. By setting the terms of Jacob’s marriage arrangement, and then changing them, he was able to get 14 years of free labor out of Jacob. By tricking him with the livestock, his possessions grew even more.

When greed becomes our idol (Colossians 3:5), there are no rules as to what we’ll do and who we’ll betray to gain more of it. We can try to rationalize our lies however we want to — as Laban did, both times — but at the end of the day, it’s just pure greed. 

Laban isn’t the first person to be undone by greed, either. And he won’t be the last.