Women Of The Bible
Read - Genesis 29:15-22
It’s here that we first learn of Leah. She is the oldest daughter of Laban. Verse 17 in the New King James version tells us that “Leah’s eyes were delicate”. The King James version says “Leah was tender eyed”. There are conflicting views as to what this means. Some commentators say it was poor or weak eyesight or her eyes were dull. I like the Good News Bible translation – Todays English Version, where it says “Leah had lovely eyes”. This is the only comment that is recorded in the Bible about Leah’s appearance.
Read – Genesis 29:23-30
…” the selfish and grasping Laban, desiring to retain so valuable a helper, practiced a cruel deception in substituting Leah for Rachel. The fact that Leah herself was a party to the cheat, caused Jacob to feel that he could not love her. His indignant rebuke to Laban was met with the offer of Rachel for another seven years’ service. But the father insisted that Leah should not be discarded, since this would bring disgrace upon the family. Jacob was thus placed in a most painful and trying position; he finally decided to retain Leah and marry Rachel. Rachel was ever the one best loved; but his preference for her excited envy and jealousy, and his life was embittered by the rivalry between the sister-wives.” Patriarchs and Prophets, E.G. White, P189-190
Read – Genesis 29:31-35
*It’s here we read that Leah praised God every time she had a son. Leah knew she was not loved by Jacob but she recognised the blessings that God had bestowed upon her.
Read – Genesis 30:9-13
*After Leah had 4 sons, she was not fertile for some period of time. How long that time was we don’t know. Obviously, the rivalry was so bad between the sisters that after Rachel used her maid Bilhah to have children by Jacob, Leah gave Jacob Zilpah as well. You wonder how Bilhah and Zilpah must have felt being involved in this family drama. Perhaps they went willingly along with it as they may have thought their status might improve? Jacob now had 4 wives! This was something that Jacob did not originally intend.
“Laban understood the wrong of polygamy, although it was alone through his artifice that Jacob had taken two wives. He well knew that it was the jealousy of Leah and Rachel that led them to give their maids to Jacob, which confused the family relation, and increased the unhappiness of his daughters.” 3 Spiritual Gifts, E.G. White, P126
Read – Genesis 30:14-16
*Here is another instance of rivalry between the two sisters. Evidently the mandrake was a plant that had some virtues of fertility.
Read – Genesis 30:17-21
*Here Leah after some time of infertility conceived and bore 3 more children. Our text tells us that it was from the blessing of God not the mandrakes that Leah birthed 2 more sons and a daughter.
Read – Ruth 4:11
*Leah and Rachel were not perfect, they made mistakes, but God blessed them both in that their children made up the 12 tribes of Israel.
Read – Genesis 49:29-33
*We are not told in the Bible when Leah died, but she must have passed away sometime before Jacob and his children and their families went down to Egypt.