Genesis 29:18 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 29:18, NIV: "Jacob was in love with Rachel and said, 'I'll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel.'"

Genesis 29:18, ESV: "Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.”"

Genesis 29:18, KJV: "And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter."

Genesis 29:18, NASB: "Now Jacob loved Rachel, so he said, 'I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.'"

Genesis 29:18, NLT: "Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he told her father, 'I'll work for you for seven years if you'll give me Rachel, your younger daughter, as my wife.'"

Genesis 29:18, CSB: "Jacob loved Rachel, so he answered Laban, "I'll work for you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.""

What does Genesis 29:18 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jacob had been sent by his father to his uncle's household, in part, to find a wife (Genesis 28:1–2). In addition, Jacob had grown to love Laban's younger daughter Rachel (Genesis 29:16–17). When Laban asked Jacob what wages he would want to continue to work for him, Jacob saw his chance to broach the subject of marriage. Jacob responded to Laban's question about wages with quite an offer: He would work for Laban for seven years for the hand of Rachel, the younger daughter, in marriage.

Why would Jacob make such an offer, beyond being deeply in love with Rachel? Perhaps he lacked any access to his father's great wealth. Though he had been sent by his father, Jacob was also fleeing his angry brother (Genesis 27:41), and apparently left alone and without much in the way of supplies (Genesis 28:11). It was customary for a groom or groom's family to pay a "bride price" to the family of the woman he wished to marry. If Jacob was without funds, he may have thought it necessary to make such an offer of longtime service.

Still, even at the lowest wage for a common worker during this time, seven years of free labor would apparently far exceed any normal payment for a bride price. Perhaps Jacob imagined that during that time he, as a nephew, would grow to inherit some of Laban's wealth. Or perhaps he just enjoyed the work and the surroundings and didn't mind the thought of spending the next seven years there. It's hard to know for sure.