Genesis, Typically Considered. Chapters 29-31

Genesis 29‑31  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Here we have Jacob taking rather the Lord's place in type—though all through we may trace Jacob's actual character as Israel's in the flesh-but then it is the Lord's earthly character. He meets Rachel, serves for her, but has Leah instead—yet afterward receives Rachel. As the Jewish mother, God remembers her too afterward-she was barren, grace takes her up; so that afterward, we have the history of Christ, rejected and elevated to glory, in Joseph her son, and Benjamin the son of his father's right hand, and his mother's dying sorrow—the earthly power of Christ for Israel when He comes to Joseph, i.e., when Christ takes this character, Israel comes into the enjoyment of the best of this world's possession; but this, after—here God secures Jacob's temporal blessing, in spite of this world's wrong. He secures him against the power of the world, also taking him up in his trouble. Though he feels the effect of his evil ways, his individual history is a deep lesson of a believer's not entirely trusting, but using his own carnal wisdom, or listening to another's, to secure a blessing which is ever according to God's purpose. Alas! they may have it too often from the Church, properly so called.
God, note, turns all this to blessing, and secures Jacob from any profane union with the worldly Canaanites; hence, Jacob is properly Israel looked at as a remnant, but the remnant as partaking of Israel's sorrow, and hence, in its place, of Christ.
Thus, whatever the real evil which God has chastised in him, as between him and the profane, Jacob has been blessed and has obeyed his father's voice, and so of this remnant.
There is difference between Ishmael and Esau; Ishmael was not the willful profane one, it was merely that Ishmael took up the birthright promise—blessing after the flesh—whereas Esau despised his birthright, and so was profane. It is true of all apostates, but Israel was in the former position, as under the law; in Hebrews they are set on the ground of Esau rather. They hate the heir of God's election. I cannot help thinking that the beginning of chapter 29 is typical, and that now Jacob assumes the character of Christ, though we have much of Israel's sorrow, and besides that, of his personal failings too.
He was a stranger, unknown, and seeks Rachel only—he would have her alone. The flocks, in general, cannot be watered until the well is opened, but He opens it and waters Rachel's flock, and Rachel here is His Jewish chosen and beloved flock and bride. It was His—was His flesh and bone—He was a Jew.
But after all He has not Rachel, but Leah first; still He has Rachel, for He serves for her too, and withal for His inheritance.
All this was the time however of Israel's sorrow, and outcast state, and of Christ's sorrow and suffering with them, yet it is the time of the begetting of the children, as well as watering the flock and tending them. It was “high day”—the time of rest was not yet come.
But Jacob oppressed, and ill seen among the Gentiles, returns, urged by circumstances, but really directed by God, to the land of his pilgrimage, as of the fathers.
Note.—Benjamin, the son of his father's right hand, and of his mother's dying affection, was the only one born in the land.
Rachel here carries her images with her.
The secret providence of God has blessed Jacob and preserved him all this time, though it was a time of failure—a spirit of cunning instead of confidence in God—the time of his being outcast, and rejected, in this type of Israel, though this was really the time of the begetting of children, " for more are the children of the desolate, than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord." Also had he Rachel last of the two, though he sought her first.