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

Genesis 29:29, NIV: Laban gave his servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her attendant.

Genesis 29:29, ESV: (Laban gave his female servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her servant.)

Genesis 29:29, KJV: And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid.

Genesis 29:29, NASB: Laban also gave his female slave Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her slave.

Genesis 29:29, NLT: (Laban gave Rachel a servant, Bilhah, to be her maid.)

Genesis 29:29, CSB: And Laban gave his slave Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her slave.

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

As was the case in verse 24, these words read like a footnote to the main story. While they are not crucial to the plot at this point, this information will be important later on. As he had done with Leah, Laban gave a generous wedding present to Rachel: a servant girl. Rachel's servant was named Bilhah. She, too, was destined to become a wife of Jacob and give birth to his sons. This means, in the space of a week, Jacob has gone from single, to living with four women who will all, eventually, bear his children.

It would have been common in this era for a wealthy father to give his daughter a lavish wedding gift, and the lifetime gift of a servant girl would have been very generous, indeed. A similar event occurred earlier in Jacob's family when Rebekah set off to be married to Isaac. At that time, their father had given to Laban's sister Rebekah her childhood nurse and several servant girls (Genesis 24:59–61).