How long was Jacob married to Leah before he also married Rachel? [slightly updated 2019]
This question came up in discussion at Temple Micah some years ago. We were confused, since participants had been taught different basic facts: Some remembered clearly being taught as children that Laban demanded seven more years of work before Jacob was allowed, finally, to marry Rachel; others could quote easily, “just complete the bridal week of this one” and were sure Jacob married Rachel a week after marrying Leah. Why this discrepancy?
With a little research, we eventually learned more about the discrepancy and its textual base. What we did not learn was why recent Reform translations — and perhaps those used in religious schools of decades past — view Jacob’s marriage chronology differently than so many others.
Here are some current translations for Genesis/Breishit 29:27-28.