Today’s study is about Leah in Genesis 29, 30, 31, 49:31.
Leah’s the oldest daughter of Laban, the sister to Rachel, and the first wife of Jacob. Reading the biblical account of Leah, we read that Leah plays second to her younger sister, becomes a pawn in her father’s trickery, and suffers heartache throughout her marriage.
“And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. And Leah’s eyes were tender; but Rachel was beautiful and well favored.” Genesis 29:16-17
Leah’s story details the life of a woman who competed for her husband’s attention and falsely believed bearing Jacob children could earn his affection. But winning the childbearing contest against her sister did not improve her relationship with her husband. We read a beautiful example of God’s desire to comfort us in times of pain. Because of Leah’s predicament of a loveless marriage, God showed her love and tenderness when He opened her womb. God knew the pain Leah felt. He wanted to give her comfort and peace. While her sister, Rachel experienced the love of a husband, Leah received the blessing of children because God saw she lacked in affection from Jacob. Of course, like most humans, Rachel and Leah both focused on the pain and emptiness they feel. Eventually we see Leah conceded to her position and chose to give God the praise He deserved. “And Jehovah saw that Leah was hated, and he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben; for she said, Because Jehovah hath looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me. And she conceived again, and bare a son: and said, Because Jehovah hath heard that I am hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon. she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have borne him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi. And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, This time will I praise Jehovah: therefore she called his name Judah; and she left off bearing.” Genesis 30: 31-35
Unfortunately, Leah got caught up in the web of envy again as she and Rachel both gave their handmaids to Jacob hoping to be the victor of obtaining the most children. But God used this situation to His glory with these sons being the founders of the 12 tribes of Israel. Leah goes down in history as blessed for bearing six of these sons. “And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. Jehovah make the woman that is come into thy house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephrathah, and be famous in Bethlehem:” Ruth 4:11.
Over time, it may be concluded that Jacob did learn to love and appreciate Leah since he chose to be buried with her.“And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a burying-place. There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah—” Genesis 49: 29-31
Even through the struggles Leah experienced and mistakes she made her example is one to be admired. She was an obedient daughter, a faithful wife, and feared the Lord. Because of these attributes, Leah certainly deserves the title ‘woman of faith’.
Until next time