Leah was unwanted. Forced to work for her cousin Jacob for seven years to win Rachel’s hand in marriage.
Leah realized she was God’s beloved and that only He could fill her heart with love and meaning.
Table of Contents
1. She was a virgin
Jacob then fled his brother Esau’s household after depriving him of their father’s birthright and blessing, seeking refuge with Laban. There, he fell in love with Rachel – the younger daughter – whom Laban promised in marriage for seven years’ work, only for him to change his mind at their nuptial feast night – demanding instead that Jacob marry Leah (Labanism’s elder daughter). Rather than give Rachel’s hand in marriage voluntarily.
As it transpired, this decision proved disastrous. Although Leah was virginal and childless, Jacob found her unattractive and barren; while Rachel won his affections entirely while Leah became mere property.
As Rachel was receiving attention and affection, it made her more bitterly unappealing to her husband than ever. Though she hoped producing sons might win him back over, that dream proved futile; Rachel continued receiving more love than she could afford to give.
But even after Leah bore seven children for Isaac, she still was not loved by her husband and preferred Rachel over Leah in terms of romantic affection and physical attraction. It would not be unreasonable to assume that Isaac had sexual relations with both women but was more attracted to Rachel than Leah (Genesis 29:25); some have speculated that perhaps this was to protect Rachel’s modesty (Genesis 29:25), yet this idea clashes with evidence suggesting otherwise: Jacob kissed Rachel upon first meeting and also refers to her as his “love” when speaking directly with Isaac (Genesis 27:21).
Leah ultimately surrendered hope and gave everything over to God, and what transpired was incredible: she would become grandmother of Judah who would go on to become the founder and Messiah! God always blesses those who give their plans, dreams, and hopes over to Him – from being a no one herself all the way to becoming mother to one of His beloved servants – truly remarkable story!
2. She was a slave
The Bible contains numerous examples of polygamy. Moses, David and Solomon each had multiple wives or concubines – not something encouraged or condoned by scripture – yet these stories serve as cautionary tales to remind us when we depart from the norm established at creation, we will incur consequences that ripple across time.
God allowed Jacob to marry Leah due to her status as a slave. It should be noted that during this period in Hebrew history, women’s worth was measured by their ability to produce offspring, so any woman unable to conceive was seen as worthless; consequently Jewish women often resorting to various techniques to get pregnant faster – one well-known case is Rachel and Leah’s tale.
Rachel was having difficulty conceiving. So she beseeched Leah to sleep with Jacob so as to help Rachel conceive; according to Genesis 29:31b-35 she responded compassionately by giving birth and naming their son Judah (Genesis 29:31b-35)
Jacob worked seven years for Laban and Leah gave birth to seven children during that time – an astounding achievement given that custom dictated firstborns be chosen before younger daughters in marriage. Additionally, two maidservants named Bilhah and Zilpah bore sons that became part of Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Gad, Dan, Naphtali Asher Zebulun’s twelve tribes.
As Leah’s son Judah would go on to father King Jesus Christ of Israel!, Leah can be considered his great-great-grandmother! According to scripture, however, God had mercy and showed kindness even though Leah felt unloved by her husband; an amazing demonstration that no matter your hardships God understands them and blesses you in ways you never expected.
3. She was a beautiful woman
The Bible makes clear that Leah was both beautiful in form and appearance, so it should come as no surprise that her father employed such clever schemes to find her a husband.
Jacob managed to cheat Esau out of his birthright, prompting his angry father Isaac to send him running away to Laban’s home for shelter. Laban saw Jacob tending his flocks and offered Rachel as bride price; Jacob agreed, promising to work seven years as payment.
As part of his plan, Laban swaps Leah for Rachel during the wedding feast (Gen 29:23). He likely did this knowing that Jacob preferred Rachel over Leah; plus it was dark on that night so it allowed him to carry out this scam invisibly.
Leah must have felt insulted that her older sister stole her husband. Her heart must have broken with disappointment as she yearningly sought his attention again.
Leah struggled throughout her marriage with finding true affection from her husband who seemed more drawn towards his sister than himself. Although they produced sons together, Leah never received the requisite amount of affection she desired from him.
God used Leah’s hurtful experience as the catalyst to bless her beyond her imagination. From Leah’s womb came two of the most important Old Testament institutions – priesthood and monarchy; in addition, her fourth son Judah would eventually form part of Jesus’ lineage.
Though Leah’s marriage was broken under false pretenses, she became an asset to both her family and God’s kingdom. From being someone no one wanted, she went from being forgotten by everyone to becoming mother of a nation and grandmother to Messiah! No matter how painful life may become, know that no matter how dark its path becomes – God is always with you; never against you! No matter the difficulty life throws your way, trust that His grace and strength will take care of everything you face – not against.
4. She was a mother
Mothers tend to long for love from both their husbands and children. Leah was no different; she wanted Jacob to love her above all else – to the extent that she even told him false information about Zilpah to manipulate Jacob into taking her over Rachel as his bride instead. Though this proved disastrous in the long run, Leah eventually learned how to let go of pride every time Rachel received more affection from Jacob than herself.
Though Leah was Jacob’s first wife and produced more children than Rachel, she often felt forgotten by him due to their mutual attraction. Yet God heard Leah’s tears and prayers and allowed both sisters to have offspring – not necessarily by virtue of quantity but quality alone.
Leah had four sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah who would become the founders of the Hebrew nation. These four births showed Leah that God was in control of everything – she could no longer force herself to be loved by anyone but Him alone. Joseph reminded her that she needed to learn contentment.
So while Leah had a difficult and painful marriage, she took comfort knowing that God knew her intimately. At just the right moment He gave her strength and wisdom to give Jacob another try; thus giving rise to an immense and prosperous tribe. Leah made an impactful mark in history as one of the most influential matriarchs in Scripture and is honored at their respective funeral services – this sentiment holds especially true for Leah herself who believed all things work out for good for those who love God and live according to His plan – certainly true in her case!