Couples in the Bible: Jacob and Leah

Leah was the oldest daughter of Laban. However, by the time she met Jacob he was already in love with her sister, Rachel.

Leah is described as having “weak” eyes. {Genesis 29:17}

As the older daughter, she should have been married first. So, when it came time for Rachel to marry Jacob, Laban replaced the younger sister with older. Jacob did not realize there had been a switch until the following morning. {Genesis 29:1-30}

Leah had half of Jacob’s twelve sons but played second fiddle to her sister in regards to her husband’s affections.

Rachel longed for a child, especially as Leah continued to have children

She had the following sons:

  1. Reuben– “Because the Lord has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.”
  2. Simeon– “Because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.”
  3. Levi– “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.”
  4. Judah– “This time I will praise the Lord.”
  5. Gad– “Good fortune has come!”    {through her servant Zilpah}
  6. Asher—“Happy am I! For women have called me happy.”    {through her servant Zilpah}
  7. Issachar–“God has given me my wages because I gave my servant to my husband.” 
  8. Zebulun–“God has endowed me with a good endowment; now my husband will honor me, because I have borne him six sons.” 
Jacob discovered he had married Leah the morning after their wedding ceremony

She also had a daughter, Dinah, which means judged or vindicated.

Scripture tells us little else about Leah’s life but we do know several heartaches she experienced.

  1. Her daughter Dinah is raped and her sons, Simeon and Levi, took their swords and killed all the males. {Genesis 34}
  2. Her sister, Rachel, died   {Genesis 35:16-29}
  3. Joseph {Jacob’s favorite son}  sold into slavery and believed dead  {Genesis 37}   
  4. Death of Judah’s sons   {Genesis 38} 
  5. Her son, Reuben, slept with her sister {Rachel} handmaid {Bilhah}      {Genesis 49:4}

Leah buried sometime before Jacob {renamed Israel} death or even before Jacob and his descendants journeyed to Egypt and were reunited with Joseph. Before his death, Jacob commanded his sons to take him back to his homeland and bury with his parents, grandparents and “there I buried Leah”.

We don’t know if Jacob and Leah ever found love, but he gave her respect with where he buried her and being buried beside her instead of Rachel. Hopefully, over time they built a friendship and found respect in one another.

But even if they didn’t find love with one another, we know she found love and favor in God’s eyes.

Lessons from Jacob and Leah:

  1. We can draw closer to God in our trials
  2. Life isn’t without heartaches
  3. Even in disappointment and rejection we can find hope
  4. The Lord loves and blesses those the world hates
  5. Friendship and respect can grow from the most difficult of beginnings

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