Meaning: A wild cow
Her Work: Leah bore Jacob six sons and one daughter.
Her Character: Leah gave God credit for her reward (six sons). She has been described as meek, gentle, and submissive.
Her Sorrow: Her husband, Jacob, loved her sister, Rachel, more. Leah envied Rachel for Jacob’s love, and she competed with Rachel for his attention and respect. Her daughter, Dinah, was raped.
Her Triumph: Leah is honored as one of the mothers of Israel in Ruth, and, through her son, Judah, is in the lineage of King David and Christ.
Key Scripture: Genesis 29 – 35
Although this “Women of the Bible” post is about Leah, it is impossible to share her story without mentioning Jacob and Rachel. The story of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel is very familiar. Jacob journeyed to the land, Haran, of his mother, Rebekah. Jacob fell in love with the beautiful Rachel. Jacob told her father that he would work for him for seven years to pay for Rachel. When Jacob awoke in the wedding bed seven years later, he discovered he had been tricked into marrying Leah. We can only guess how Leah felt about her part in this deception. Jacob agreed to work another seven years for Rachel, but he was married to her a week after he married Leah.
Then the race began to bear Jacob children. God blessed Leah’s womb. Leah had four sons, and it was a sore point for Rachel. Rachel then told Jacob to take her maid, and Rachel’s maid bore him two sons. Leah then gave Jacob her maid, and Leah’s maid bore him two sons. Leah then went on to have two more sons and a daughter.
Oftentimes, when we think of Leah, we think, “Poor Leah.” It is hard not to. We think of her as the unloved, unsought, and undesired wife. While we know that her husband loved Rachel better, this doesn’t mean that he didn’t love Leah to some degree. We know that she couldn’t see well. The Bible describes her as “tender-eyed.” We know that Rachel was beautiful, but that doesn’t mean that Leah was homely. Leah did win the fertility contest and bore Jacob seven children, including six sons, though Jacob favored Rachel’s children.
Leah and Rachel were in constant friction, which could not have been comfortable for their husband or children. It is not clear if Leah lorded her fertility over Rachel. Their example is a reminder of how crucial it is to be at peace with important people in your life. The only time they seemed to come together in unity was to deceive their father, Laban.
Leah spent her life longing for Jacob’s love. Perhaps, after the death of Rachel, Leah took more of a chief role as the main wife and counselor. It should be noted that, in the end, Jacob did honor Leah. He buried her with his parents and grandparents in a cave at Machpelah.
Perhaps her greatest honor is something no man could give her. She is in the lineage of King David and Christ. In addition, the Levites came from her line. She is another example of God using an unexpected person to accomplish His plan and purpose. Not only was she a mother of tribes, she was also a mother of Christ.