Worthy Women Series#5: Leah

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My dear fellow Proverbs 31 women in progress,

After a quite long hiatus where I tried to think about ideas of posts, I finally come to you today with a new post on my Worthy Women Series. Leah will be examined and I hope that through her life, we will be uplifted and that we’ll learn something new about God’s unlimited love for us.

Quick facts

Name: Leah

Meaning: wild cow

Lived during Biblical Times (Book of Genesis)

Wife to one of the most important patriarchs in the Bible: Jacob

Co-wives: her sister Rachel, Bilha (concubine), and Zilpa (concubine)

Children: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Dinah

Qualities: entirely devoted and deeply in love with her husband

Her sadness: not being loved by her husband in return

Her Story

After fleeing his house to escape his brother Esau’s revenge, Jacob arrived in his mother’s country and met Rachel, his very beautiful cousin who was tending her sheeps. He soon fell madly in love with her and asked her hand in marriage to his uncle Laban. Rachel had an elder sister called Leah, who was less beautiful but had tender eyes.

Laban didn’t refuse his proposal and asked him to serve him during seven years in compensation. Jacob accepted and worked with diligence, having his eyes on the prize, i.e. marrying his beloved Rachel.

However, when the times were fulfilled, Jacob was tricked by his father-in-law on the wedding day and brought Leah in the bridal chamber instead of Rachel (Leah was probably veiled). The marriage was consummated and the next day, Jacob realized that he had been deceived by his father-in-law and wasn’t happy about the situation – who would be happy to be deceived, by the way?.

His father-in-law explained him that the customs of the region did not allow younger sisters to be married before their elder sisters. Laban offered Jacob to end the week with Leah and that he would give Rachel to Jacob, but in exchange, Jacob would serve Laban during seven more years.

Thus, as Leah was imposed to him by his father-in-law, Jacob never loved Leah and openly favored Rachel, whom he considered as his soulmate and his real wife.

As a consequence, God had mercy on Leah and opened her womb so that she would give many children to her husband and have some comfort. As for Rachel, she remained barren.

leah pregnant

Leah being blessed by many pregnancies

 

Poor Leah! Everytime she bore a child to Jacob, she thought that her husband would finally love her but this never happened. The names she chose for her children reflected her state of mind. Let’s look at some examples:

  • Reuben, her firstborn son: Surely the Lord hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me (Genesis 29,32)
  • Simeon, her second son: Because the Lord hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also (Genesis 29,33)
  • Levi, her third son: Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons (Genesis 29,34)
  • Zebulun, her sixth son: God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons (Genesis 30,20)

Her fertility caused tensions in the household she shared with her sister Rachel: Rachel became depressed because she was barren, Leah accused Rachel of stealing her husband, both women gave their servants as concubines to Jacob in a kind of competition for getting children and securing Jacob’s love…

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The tensions between the two wives/sisters eventually went down to their children: indeed, Leah’s children came to resent Joseph (Rachel’s elder son), who was Jacob’s favourite son, and sold him as a slave to get rid of him.

In her later years, Leah must have had endured many sufferings because of her children. Reuben, her firstborn, slept with his father’s concubine and was stripped of his birthright in favor of Joseph. Her daughter Dinah was raped by Sichem, the prince of Canaan. Simeon and Levi slaughtered all the men of the country because of that rape; the massacre was harshly reproached to them by their father.

After a life in a loveless marriage, Leah finally died some time before Jacob went to Egypt with all his family. She was buried with Abraham, Sarah, Rebekah, Isaac, and Jacob in the Cave of the Patriarchs in Canaan.

Interesting facts

  • Leah was a victim of the men of her life: her father’s schemes led her to be married and she paid a high price by being hated her whole life by her husband Jacob
  • In Genesis 49, 29-31, Jacob gave his last instructions for his burial in the Cave of the Patriarchs, in the Promised Land. He then quoted the people of his family who were buried in that place: “There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah”. You will notice that he did not add “my wife” after Leah in that sentence. He really didn’t love her and he still shiowed even on his deathbed.
  • Speaking of it, it’s funny how Jacob is finally buried next to the wife he didn’t love during his lifetime whereas Rachel, who he considered to be his real wife, was buried in Bethlehem (where she died in childbirth). It seems that God reserved a special place for Leah in the story of the people of Israel
  • Through her son Judah, Leah is an ancestor of King David, and of Jesus! She had the last laugh in the story of redemption
  • Through her son Levi, Leah is also the ancestor of Moses and Aaron (other liberators of the people of Israel in Egypt). Well done, Leah!

What we can learn from Leah

Do you feel unloved and/or unappreciated by your husband, your partner, and by other people with whom you interact? Please look up to Leah and remember that God loves you.

I repeat: God loves you and appreciates you, even if people in your entourage don’t. Therefore, my beloved sisters, dry your tears, thank God for being who He is and praise Him. He will comfort you and give you rest. Remember that God wouldn’t send His only begotten Son to perform the ultimate and the most perfect sacrifice for you if he didn’t love you.

Instead of lamenting yourself on what you don’t have, start focusing on having a deeper relationship with the Lord; knowing that He will fulfill all your needs.

Leah wasn’t loved by her husband and she had pain when she saw that her sister was having what she desperately needed. However, God was moved by her sadness and blessed her beyond her expectations.

Do you agree with Leah’s life lessons? Please share your point of view!

Stay blessed!

 

 

 


9 comments

  1. Stephen Winfield says:

    Hi 🙂

    A very interesting article. Leah is certainly a virtuous woman!

    As for the love of an entourage vs the love of God, there is no comparison. Having self love and the love of god will take you miles further.

  2. Roopesh says:

    Wow,absolutely lovely.I really loved the story.I must be very honest with you,this really gripped me and had me emotionally engaged.
    I wish I could get my wife to come and read this piece, but at 1-0-clock in the morning, she is in dreamland somewhere.

    I feel this will inspire her to look at hardships and smile.I keep telling her that God is watching and through any difficulties that she may face with people, or situations, light and hope will prevail.This is so evident from your article and confirms that I am on the right path with my advice.
    I will bookmark this site, so that I can show her in the morning.
    Thank you so much.
    Regards
    Roopesh

  3. Sean says:

    Hi Elodie,

    Leah means ‘wild cow’? What parent would call their child that?!

    Anyway, it seems pretty unfair what Leah had to go through, it couldn’t have been easy. But I think you are correct, we can all learn from this.

    I like your advice to rather focus on what blessings there are, even though they may seem small, and to take our affirmation from the fact that God loves us, no matter how man may treat us.

    What you said at the end reminded me of the scripture verse, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will satisfy the desires of your heart.’ (Psalm 37:4)

    Take care,
    Sean

  4. Lukas says:

    What a wonderful website this is. I used to go to church when I was younger every Sunday and I always loved the stories they read there. Reading your stories here reminds me a lot of my childhood. So thank you for that 🙂

  5. Whitney says:

    I think considering the times Leah’s life lessons were pretty hard. At a time where a woman’s purpose really was getting married and bearing kids, to not be loved or favoured by your husband must have been extremely hard.

    In this day and age, it’s like the equivalent to doing everything possible to reach your desired profession: getting good grades at school, great A levels, going to a top university, coming out with a first class but never being able to land the job you know you deserve.

    I think this story shows the importance of praying for favour, she spent her whole life in the shadows, when her name really should have been great! An ancestor of the great king David!! But we never remember that.

    I’d be interested in knowing how you would tackle this issue if you were Leah?

    I would pray, pray and pray some more for favour!

    • angelce says:

      Hi Whitney thank you for your insight… I don’t know how I would react if I was on Leah’s position… Problably pay and fast; and ask God for his mercy!

    • JeffWA says:

      Hi Elodie! What a wonderful and inspiring story taken from the old testament in the Bible. It’s interesting that mankind, born into sin now many many years later have the same characteristic flaws seen in the story about Leah. Jealousy, (Rachel exhibiting this when she was not married to Jacob which probably at times elevated to the level of hatred), lying and deception shown by Jacob’s father-in-law when he purposely tricked the former into believing that he was getting married to his beloved cousin Rachel.

      Rachel was probably envious that Leah could bare children when she could not. Down the line because of the ill-feelings in that fateful marriage an off-spring got raped and in retaliation people were murdered.

      It’s sad in a way that today in 2015 those sins still take place on a daily basis and in all corners of the globe. Too many of us do not practice the teachings of the Bible which comes from our Creator Himself.

      Oh well as it says in the Book of Revelations one day God is going to say enough is enough. I hope that people on Earth at that time will have had themselves aligned with our Creator – otherwise it won’t be pleasant for them. And for an eternity!

      It was a pleasure reading your great article Elodie.

      Sincerely,
      Jeff

      • angelce says:

        thanks Jeff!

      • Heather says:

        Hi Angel,

        A very interesting article indeed. Leah is clearly a strong and courageous woman.

        Having the the love of God is eternal and infinite. Having the love of an entourage is fleeting and finite.

        It’s clear to me that having that love for ourselves on the inside, which is really the love of God, will further us along our path in this life like nothing else will.

        Thank you for writing about this woman.

        Warmly,
        Heather 🙂

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