Genesis 29:18 begins with this short phrase, “Jacob loved Rachel.” This passage makes a great Valentine’s day passage because it’s about “Wuv, Twue Wuv…” Rachel was Jacob’s true love. Of course verse 17 ends right before the above phrase and says, “Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. Jacob loved Rachel.” It’s too bad the Rachel’s beauty is cast in contrast to Leah. Let me show you the context, “Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. Jacob loved Rachel.” I’ve never liked the way the translators handled the phrase about Leah having “weak eyes.” Guzik says, “There is dispute as to exactly what the phrase ‘Leah’s eyes were (weak) delicate’ means. Some think it means her eyes were bad and she couldn’t see well. Others think it means her eyes were dull, not beautiful and full of life like her sister Rachel’s eyes.”1 Still others that Guzik doesn’t mention, suggest that it might mean Leah was “weak” to look at! That seems to fit the context of the comparison of Rachel and Leah. Rachel was one great looking babe, and Leah was nothing much to look at!

So Jacob seems to have fallen in love at first sight. This seems obvious. The first thing he noticed was “Rachel.” Isn’t that the way it is? First, they notice the girl.  It’s no accident that the text says he noticed Rachel and then the sheep. He was a shepherd also; he noticed something they had in common. But, honestly, I think she could have been mule skinner and Jacob would have gone for her. Notice also in the story that he got rid of the other shepherds. I think he wanted to be alone. He rolled away the stone from the well and said to the boys “Look … the sun is still high; it is not time for the flocks to be gathered. Water the sheep and take them back to pasture.” In other words, “Get lost kids.” Boice agrees and observes, “Many men will remember their courting days and recall how, when they wanted to be alone with their girl, her kid brother always seemed to be hanging around, and how it was often costly to get rid of him. Here, Junior, why don’t you take this quarter and go get yourself some ice cream?” I think that’s what Jacob was doing.

Above and beyond the physical attraction however is a lifelong commitment. Throughout the story we read of Jacob’s deep love for Rachel all his life. He never got over her. At his death 25 years later, he’s in Egypt giving Joseph, Rachel’s oldest son and her grandsons his blessing. In the middle of that blessing his heart is still full of Rachel. He says to Joseph and His sons, ““As I was returning from Paddan, to my sorrow Rachel died in the land of Canaan while we were still on the way, a little distance from Ephrath. So I buried her there beside the road to Ephrath” (Gen. 48:7). Why would Jacob include such a comment? I believe it’s because that even after all those years he still missed Rachel. She was indeed the love of his life. Happy Valentines’ day!

[1] David Guzik, Genesis, David Guzik’s Commentaries on the Bible (Santa Barbara, CA: David Guzik, 2013), Ge 29:15–20.