Throughout this week, we will read the story of Jacob’s employment to Laban, his uncle. While you read the Scriptures, think about them through the lens of labor relations, power, fair wages and worker justice.
Background: Jacob’s father, Isaac, didn’t approve of the local girls for his son, so he sent Jacob to Haran, where his Uncle Laban lived, with instructions to marry one of Laban’s daughters. Today’s Scripture picks up the story when Jacob arrived in Haran. Whose idea is it to give Jacob a paying job? Think of Laban as management and Jacob as labor. How is the contract negotiation a win/win situation? Does this seem like a fair contract? Would you say Laban is a decent employer? Why or why not?
Take a moment to view the story from Rachel’s perspective. She’s been working as a shepherd for her father, who is willing to “sell” her to Jacob. The labor market of the day doesn’t give women any earning power or rights over their futures. They are virtually slaves/property. While the rules of the marketplace have changed (thank God!), women still earn only $.77 for every $1.00 a man earns. Where else do you see (or experience) inequality in the labor market?