ESL Lesson 7 – Jacob gets Cheated

Lesson 7

Jacob Gets Cheated

Genesis 30:1-28; 32 and 33


Jacob ran away from his brother Esau who was trying to kill him.  He came to the place where his mother’s relatives lived.  He met his Uncle Laban, and Laban’s two daughters, Leah and Rachel. 


Leah was the oldest daughter.  She was ugly.  Rachel was the youngest.  She was very beautiful.  Jacob loved Rachel very much.  He wanted to marry her.  Jacob told Laban that he would work for him for seven years if he could marry Rachel.  Laban agreed.


For seven years Jacob took care of Laban’s sheep and goats.  He worked very hard.  But the seven years of hard work seemed like only a few days to Jacob, because he loved Rachel so much.


After the seven years were over, Jacob asked to marry Rachel.  Laban tricked Jacob.  Laban dressed Leah up as the bride with a heavy veil and married her to Jacob instead of Rachel.  The next morning, Jacob found out he had married Leah instead of Rachel!


Jacob was very angry.  He asked Laban, “Why did you cheat me?  Why did you make me marry Leah instead of Rachel?”


Laban said, “It is not our custom to let the younger daughter get married before the older one.  Work for me seven more years and I will let you marry Rachel, too.”


So Jacob worked seven more years and married Rachel.  Later he married two other wives.  At that time it was common for a man to have more than one wife.  This caused many problems, however.  Leah and Rachel were very jealous of each other.  Leah was jealous of Rachel because she knew Jacob loved Rachel best.  Rachel was jealous of Leah because Leah was having children, and for a long time, Rachel did not get pregnant.  The other two wives knew that they were only important to Jacob because they gave him children.


Jacob worked for Laban for fourteen years to get Leah and Rachel.  Then he continued to work for Laban to get sheep and goats.  Laban agreed to giving Jacob a certain kind of sheep and goats to pay him for his work.  But ten times Laban changed Jacob’s pay.   God helped Jacob, however.  Jacob became a rich man even though Laban cheated him.










daughter (n)

custom (n)

ugly (adj)

common (adj)

trick (v)

jealous (adj)

bride (n)

pregnant (adj)

veil (n)

continue (v)



1.  Did Jacob like Leah or Rachel best?  Why?

2.  What did Jacob offer to do for Laban so that Laban would let him marry Rachel?

3.  Laban tricked Jacob into marrying Leah instead of Rachel. What did Laban say when Jacob asked him why he did this?

4.  How many wives did Jacob have?

5.  Why was Leah jealous of Rachel?

6.  Why was Rachel jealous of Leah?


After twenty years of working for Laban, Jacob decided to go back to his own country.  He wanted to know if his father and mother were still alive.  So Jacob left Laban’s country and took all his wives and servants and flocks.


Jacob was glad to be going home.  But he was still afraid of Esau.  Would Esau still want to kill him?


When Jacob got near his home he sent messengers to Esau to tell him he was coming.  The messengers came back with frightening news.  “Esau is coming to meet you and four hundred men are with him,” they said.


Jacob was very afraid.  He didn’t know if Esau still wanted to kill him.  He didn’t know if Esau would hurt his family.  He divided his group of people and animals into two groups.  He thought, “If Esau comes and attacks one group, the other group may escape.”


Jacob prayed to God to save him.  He thanked God for being kind to him and helping him to become a rich man.  He admitted that he didn’t deserve God’s help.  Then he reminded God of his promise to make Jacob successful and give him many offspring.


God spoke to Jacob that night.  He gave Jacob a new name.  The name “Jacob” means “someone who tricks and cheats people to get ahead.”  God changed his name to “Israel.” 


The next morning Jacob sent a gift ahead of him to Esau.  He sent two hundred twenty goats, two hundred twenty sheep, thirty camels with their babies, forty cows, ten bulls, and thirty donkeys.  Jacob hoped that all of these gifts would make Esau so happy that he would forget about hurting Jacob and his family.


When Jacob got close to Esau, he bowed low seven times.  But Esau ran to meet Jacob.  He hugged Jacob and kissed him and wept. 


“Who are all these people with you?” Esau asked Jacob.


“They are the children God has given me,” Jacob told him. 


“And what are all these animals,” Esau asked.


“They are a gift for you so that you will not be angry with me,” Jacob said.


Esau told him, “I have plenty, my brother.  Keep what you have for yourself.”


But Jacob insisted Esau take the gifts, so Esau did.


Jacob’s father was still alive, so Jacob got to see him again.  Jacob had run away from home with nothing.  Now God had brought him back home, a wealthy man with many children.



messenger (n)

bull (n)

frightening (adj)

bow (v)

divide (v)

hug (v)

attack (v)

kiss (v)

escape (v)

weep (v)

get ahead

insist (v)

camel (n)

wealthy (adj)

cow (n)


Irregular Verbs



Past Participle




has wept

will weep


 7.  How long did Jacob work for Laban?

 8.  When Jacob was going to meet Esau, why did he divide his family and belongings into two groups?

 9.  God gave Jacob a new name.  What was it?

10.  When Jacob met Esau, did Esau still want to kill him?


To Think About

1.  The Bible says that a person reaps what he sows. (Galatians 6:7)  If a farmer sows corn seeds, he reaps a harvest of corn.  If a person sows dishonesty*, he will reap trouble.  Before Jacob left his parents, he was greedy.  He cheated his brother twice so he could get the best for himself.  Later on, Jacob found out what it was like to be cheated.  Laban cheated Jacob by agreeing to let him marry Rachel, and then giving him Leah instead.  Laban agreed on Jacob’s pay, and then changed it ten times.  Can you give an example* of something that you have seen happen in your lifetime that shows, “You reap what you sow?”


2.  God gave His plan for marriage to Adam, the first person who lived.  God’s plan was: 1 man + 1 woman for life.  When a man and woman marry they should be faithful* to each other until one of them dies.  Today many people think that when they have problems in their marriage they should just get divorced*.  What problems does divorce cause?



reap (v)

example (n)

sow (v)

faithful (adj)

dishonesty (n)

divorce (v,n)