You will remember from *last time* that Jacob woke up in the morning after his wedding night to find that the woman who had shared his bed wasn’t his bride Rachel, but her elder sister Leah. Jacob wasn’t pleased about this, and so ordered Leah out of his tent, but only after Leah had used her womanly wiles to entice Jacob to make love to her one more time.
Jacob sought out his Uncle Laban and said to him, “So, what’s going on, uncle? I wake up this morning after my wedding night, and I see Leah next to me, not Rachel. Let me guess. You got a little too drunk last night and mistakenly sent the wrong daughter to my tent, right?”
“Well, not exactly” said Laban, “you see, here in my country it’s not the done thing for a father to give his younger daughter in marriage before the elder. Since Leah is older than Rachel, I felt I had no option but to send Leah to you, not Rachel. You had a good time with Leah last night, didn’t you? And she’ll make a good wife, as plain girls usually do because they aren’t as much in demand by men as are beautiful girls like Rachel. All things considered, I did you a favour by sending you Leah. Don’t complain.”
“There’s a principle involved here,” said Jacob. “You promised me Rachel, but you didn’t give me Rachel. You gave me someone else who, in the dark, tricked me into thinking she was Rachel, no doubt under your instructions. This is deception of the lowest order.”
“I’ll give you that it was deception” said Laban, “but it was deception no worse than the deception you perpetrated on your father, Isaac, when you deceived him into thinking you were your brother, Esau, who lost his birthright as eldest son because of *what you did*. Don’t look surprised. News gets around in these parts.”
“Two wrongs don’t make a right” said Jacob.
“That’s another debate” said Laban. “Look, here’s what I propose: Sleep with Leah throughout the next seven nights as is obligatory in wedding celebrations. At the end of this seven days I’ll send Rachel to you, so you’ll get finally to sleep with her. I only hope, though, that you won’t be a spent force by then, after sleeping with Leah.”
“I suppose I have no choice but to accept your offer if Rachel is to be mine,” said Jacob. “As for my being a spent force when I finally have her, there’s no chance of that, for I’ll restrict my lovemaking with Leah to the barest minimum so I’ll have lots of energy left over for Rachel.”
“Oh, and another thing” said Laban, “You’ll have to toil in my fields for another seven years.”
“Is this a joke?”
“Not at all. If you’re to have two wives, then you must toil twice the length of time than you would for one wife. It’s just math.”
“I’ll not do it.”
“In that case I’ll have to have you forcibly returned to Canaan and to your brother Esau, who, I’ve heard on good authority, can’t wait to tear your throat out with his bare hands and throw your body to *the wild animals*.
“I’ll do it.”
Source: Genesis 29, 25-28