Genesis 29:15 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 29:15, NIV: "Laban said to him, 'Just because you are a relative of mine, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me what your wages should be.'"

Genesis 29:15, ESV: "Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?”"

Genesis 29:15, KJV: "And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be?"

Genesis 29:15, NASB: "Then Laban said to Jacob, 'Because you are my relative, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?'"

Genesis 29:15, NLT: "Laban said to him, 'You shouldn't work for me without pay just because we are relatives. Tell me how much your wages should be.'"

Genesis 29:15, CSB: "Laban said to him, "Just because you're my relative, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me what your wages should be.""

What does Genesis 29:15 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jacob had apparently arrived at Laban's house without a clear exit strategy. At the urging of both of his parents, Jacob had come to escape the murderous wrath of his brother (Genesis 27:41) and to find a wife (Genesis 28:1–2). Up to this point, things have gone well. He arrived safely, despite at least one night alone and without shelter in the wilderness (Genesis 28:10–11). Laban had welcomed him warmly as a true member of the family (Genesis 29:14).

Now we learn Jacob had apparently started to work for Laban without an explicit arrangement for payment, a mark of good character. Laban realized that arrangement shouldn't continue indefinitely, even though Jacob was a relative. The following verses will reveal that Jacob was a good worker. It's possible Laban didn't want to lose him.

To that end, he approached Jacob to ask what wages he would want to continue to work for him. By now, Jacob had probably begun to think about returning home. Laban's offer would require him to stay longer with his uncle. In the end, what started as a stay of one month (Genesis 29:14) will turn into 20 years (Genesis 31:41)!