‘God loves the unloved’
Has anyone ever thought about Jacob’s first wife Leah? And would you ever imagine being in her situation? When I was growing up; I learnt about the love of story of Jacob and Rachel, while Leah was portrayed as a villain. From the beginning, scripture is intentional on how Rachel and Jacob met. This is realized in Genesis 29:10 “When Jacob saw Rachel daughter of his uncle Laban, and Laban’s sheep, he went over and rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well and watered his uncle’s sheep”. Scripture further differentiates the level of beauty between the sisters described in Genesis 29:16-17 Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel had a lovely figure and was beautiful. As we all know; when it comes marriage, though Jacob’s initial agreement was for Rachel. A deceptive pattern plays out in his life once again. Just as he deceived his father into getting Esau’s inheritance, his uncle tricks him into marrying his first daughter. By the time it’s dawn, it’s too late he has consummated the marriage with Leah and so he makes another agreement. Seven more years in exchange for Rachel hand. They say When a man truly loves a woman, he will do the impossible.
At this point, a serious rivalry between two sister manifests. Am certain Leah knowing her physical beauty was no match to her small sister’s…Her esteem must have been very low that when her father suggested that she takes her sister place she must have readily agreed. To grow up in household where people only see the beauty of one sister and not the other can be discouraging to the confidence of any little girl. Based on my own experience when we were growing up (my sister and I). There was a lot of comparison on our physical beauty. I was ‘labelled’ as a lesser beauty more of a “plain girl” while she received all the admiration on her beauty. Strangers and even family members would readily compliment my father on how his youngest daughter was Jaber. Now, imagine two young girls standing side by side. But only one receives compliments on her beauty while the other is left with questions in her mind such as what about me? Psychologically it affected my confidence level however, later in life I made peace with it as this was a chapter in my life that prepared me of what was to come. That though my sister’s beauty surpassed mine, God in His wisdom showed me that we were gifted differently. That our strengths were unmatched, and our attributes is what defined beauty. It was settled in my heart and after that my confidence was renewed. Well now they say I have bloomed pfft!!!
Looking back at Leah being eldest and growing up in the shadow of her younger sister’s beauty, could have reduced her to settle for anything without much thought of the consequences. Including her father’s devious plot which ruined his daughters’ happiness. I believe God ordained it for his divine plan, a household of two sister wives. Sharing a man whose heart and desire belongs to the youngest wife. Leah ‘trapped’ by customs and traditions which she had to obey. My assumption according to the story is that it was a tough marriage founded on duty and responsibility. There was no love, no desire and no affection Am sure they had sleeping arrangements and Jacob obliged out of duty, but his heart remained in Rachel’s tent. As a married woman, the worst thing that can ever happen to you is to know that though he is my husband I do not have his heart.
Nevertheless, this story is incredible because it depicts the nature of our loving Father, who is fair and just and just like that He balances the equation. Genesis 29:31 When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless. He opened Leah’s womb but shut Rachel’s, she had the love of Jacob while Leah had her children. You also learn a lot on how these handmade women of God named their children. Leah’s first to third born expresses an attempt to connect to Jacob. However, we see she gives up at her fourth child Genesis 29:35 “She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” So, she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children.” She was tired of fighting or wanting to be noticed. It dawns on her that she could not wins Jacob’s heart no matter the number of children or even if they were male. His heart was not hers so, at the birth of Judah she returns praise to the Maker of all things and let’s go of the competition. Rachel has won!!! That is what we all think until her conversation with Jacob and you realize she was bitter in her heart, very angry and envious of her sister. Yet Jacob was hers, he loved her despite being childless. Leah seems never to capture her husband heart. In-fact, later God remembers Rachel and we see Jacob love for Joseph and Benjamin is an extension of her love for Rachel. The tribe of Judah from the womb of Leah unloved and not desired, births the ruler’s lineage. On which a divine kingdom is established, Leah was divinely blessed. A God who establishes a throne on someone Scripture describes of no beauty or attraction, that nothing in her appearance would make Jacob desire her. A genealogy establishing an everlasting royal kingdom, it was from Leah and Jacob. God loved Leah, His divine favour upon her though she was rejected by ‘carnal man’. He bestows on her an ultimate honour of birthing a royal and priestly tribe of Israel, a personification found in Christ hated and rejected.
The scepter will not depart from Judah,nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs[d] shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his. He will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch. he will wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes. His eyes will be darker than wine, his teeth whiter than milk.