And he told Laban all these things. And Laban said to him, Surely you are my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him for a month. Laban said to Jacob, Because you are my brother, should you therefore serve me for nought? Tell me, what shall your wages be? Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger Rachel. Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favored. Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve you seven years for Rachel your younger daughter. Laban said, It is better that I give her to you, than I should give her to another man: abide with me. So Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her. Then Jacob said to Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her. Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. In the evening, he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in to her. Laban gave to his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for a handmaid. And in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this you have done to me? Did not I serve you for Rachel? Wherefore then have you beguiled me? Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. Fulfill her week, and we will give you this also for the service which you shall serve with me yet seven other years. Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also. And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid Genesis Laban the Aramean is a son of Bethuel and grandson of Nahor, the brother of Abraham. These progeny are mentioned in the chronology at the end of the Akeda Genesis 22 , climaxing in the note that Bethuel also gave birth to Rebecca , and thus prepared a wife for Isaac. These uncertain beginnings already cast a shadow over this most murky of characters. On the one hand he his born into a family of renown. He is, moreover, the father of two righteous daughters, Leah and Rachel. On the other hand, his name is forever associated with mean-hardheartedness, miserliness, and skullduggery. Perhaps the reliance on the supernatural at his very birth indicates the potential path that Laban is to take. Indeed if the Sages are correct about his original name — then the name Laban may have been one that he deliberately chose for himself to give the false impression of his honesty. He could find a name no more fitting, if not indeed more Machiavellian. Though this name means white — the behavior with which he is most identified is of the darkest hue. It is, moreover, the peculiar blackness with which the wicked are often capable of — disguising their evil in a cover of righteousness and legality. When he first meets Jacob and sees an opportunity of exploiting him, he pointedly tells him that unlike the custom back in Canaan, in Aram they marry off the eldest first and only after that the youngest. Ironically he plays here the part of a judge — paying Jacob back for his own deception of his father Isaac and his hateful brother Esau When Laban asks his local idolatrous oracle what wages he should pay this stranger, they tell him not to pay him since Jacob is a lover of women his brides will serve as his wages. This is in stark contrast to his own family where Isaac and Rebecca remained totally monogamous. Despite the fact that he is head over heels in love with Rachel, for whom he works for seven additional years, he is not averse to accepting other women into his household.
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