Genesis 29:24

ESV (Laban gave his female servant Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her servant.)
NIV And Laban gave his servant Zilpah to his daughter as her attendant.
NASB Laban also gave his female slave Zilpah to his daughter Leah as a slave.
CSB And Laban gave his slave Zilpah to his daughter Leah as her slave.
NLT (Laban had given Leah a servant, Zilpah, to be her maid.)
KJV And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid.

What does Genesis 29:24 mean?

This verse feels like a non-essential detail in light of Laban's enormous act of betrayal in the previous verse. He switched one daughter for another on her wedding night so that her groom would unknowing sleep with—and be legally married to—her sister! This, after accepting an offer from the groom to work seven years of labor, with no other wages, for the right to that marriage (Genesis 29:18–21). Many translations of the Bible include this in parentheses, since it's clearly meant to be a footnote to the main story. Verse 29 will contain a similar aside.

The note given here is that Laban gave to Leah one of his servant girls, Zilpah, as a wedding present. He will do the same when Rachel is married. It was not uncommon for a father to give his daughter a generous gift for her wedding, and the lifetime gift of a servant girl would have been very generous, indeed. The family precedent for this had been set many years earlier when Rebekah set off to be married to Isaac. Then Laban's father had given to Laban's sister Rebekah her childhood nurse and several servant girls (Genesis 24:59–61).

The gift of Zilpah to Leah is not totally irrelevant, however. This moment will become significant in Jacob's life later on. Due to problems conceiving children in the family, Zilpah will eventually become Jacob's wife and a mother to his children.
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