Growing up I spent a lot of time at my paternal grandparents home. There always seemed to be cousins there to play with. Often when there was only one of something – a ball or a doll, my grandmother would tell us to share and share alike. That meant everyone got a turn and no one should get more time than anyone else. There was nothing sacred in the group. If you brought it out to play with, everyone was getting a turn with it.
Studying Leah and Rachel, Brought this memory of my grandmother to mind. She wouldn’t have wanted this kind of sharing! Here’s how I imagine Leah saw it.
A loveless marriage to a husband I share with my sister, Rachel. That is my life. She’s the one he loves, our husband Jacob. It wasn’t me he wanted to marry. He wanted her. It was love at first sight for them. She always was the pretty one.
When our father Laban hatched the plan for me to take her place as Jacob’s bride, I didn’t hesitate. Some say she helped me deceive Jacob because she felt sorry for me. After all, she was younger than me and I should be married first. And it was rumored that there were plans for me to be given to Esau as his wife. That would have been unbearable.
And so it was that we both found ourselves sharing a husband who gave me little consideration. But if I couldn’t have his love, I could bear him sons. And I did, six of them. This was God’s consolation for living in our marriage without love.
Their names are a testament to my campaign to win his love. First, there was Rueben whose name means ‘see, a son’. It was meant to make Jacob see how valuable I was too him.
There were three more sons: Simeon means ‘heard’ because God heard no one loved me. Our third was named Levi or attached because I believed surely Jacob would become attached to me now. But he still loved her all the more.
Judah was our fourth and I called him praise out of gratitude and honor for what God had done for me. It was Judah that my husband blessed before dying saying,
“You are he whom your brothers shall praise. Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s children shall bow down before you”.
And then my womb closed up for a time.
Rachel still had not conceived and I did not let her forget it. She gave her maid to Jacob to bear children for her. They had two sons. So I gave my maid to him and two more sons were born. Once I bartered with my sister some passion fruit for a night with our husband. God allowed me to conceive and bear another son, Issachar, meaning wages and some time later, Zebulun, dwelling.
The Lord blessed me tremendously with 6 sons and even a daughter, Dinah. My sister finally gave birth to two sons, Joseph and Benjamin. She died in child birth with her last one.
Jacob never came to love me as he did Rachel. And I, like my name, grew weary in my plight. But this one thing I know, the God of my husband’s ancestors showed me kindness and grace. He loves me with an everlasting love.
Jeremiah 31:3 Long ago the Lord said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.
Read more on Leah in our “Learning from Their Examples” series.
- Wo Will Be In Your Family Tree? – Cindy
- What’s Love Got To Do With It? – Cassandra
- Unloved and Overlooked – Tonya
- Wonderfully Mad, Perfect – Beth
- Looking For Love – Cheryl