Luther’s Works: The American Edition, published by Concordia and Fortress Press between 1955 and 1986, comprises fifty-five volumes. These are a selection representing only about a third of Luther’s works in the Latin and German of the standard Weimar Edition, not including the German Bible.
In this volume (Genesis 26—30) Luther comments trenchantly and in a God-fearing manner on a somewhat complicated concatenation of events in the life of the patriarch Jacob.
Esau has sold his birthright to Jacob for a mess of pottage. Issac aims to bestow a deathbed blessing on Esau. But in cahoots with Rebecca, Jacob cleverly succeeds in tricking Issac into giving him his brother’s blessing. The blessing is irrevocable. Jacob is sent away to the home of Laban, his uncle, “to take a wife from there.” On the way Jacob has a dream that the Lord tells him he will be given the land that he is traveling on. When Jacob arrives on his uncle’s land, he meets the beautiful Rachel and falls in love with her. Before Jacob can be wed, though, he must work for Laban for 7 years. After 7 years time, when Jacob was to then receive Rachel, Laban tricks him into serving for another 7 years to get Rachel.
Luther discusses this involved account sagaciously and with due reverence. He does not deal in a flippant manner with matters pertaining to sex, for he realizes that the story of Jacob’s adventures and deeds has not been set forth in vain. He never fails to bear in mind that all Scripture is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness.