I have always felt somewhat close to the story of Rachel and Leah, Israel’s wives. I have been most drawn to the person of Leah. Maybe it was due to the fact that she fell into a situation where she really had no choice and that makes her relatable.
She was given to a man in marriage, a man she knew really cared for her sister. Imagine her sorrows. They began here as she knew he didn’t love her as the scriptures say. More especially she became an enemy of some sorts to her sister. Leah was now loveless and in a sense, lost her sister due to tradition and rivalry. Her sister hated her and for that reason, the bible says “God opened her womb but Rachel He closed.”
Every child Leah bore became a symbol of desperation to win her husband’s affection. First, she bares a son, and back then having a male child especially would have brought her great honour so his name was called Reuben. She continued to have more sons as God heard her cries from being hated. Leah bore Simeon, Levi, Judah and through her servant, she had Issachar and Zebulun and then she gave birth to Dinah.
One can only imagine her desperation after being at the height of her ambition to be loved and to please her husband she stopped bearing children. She must have thought to herself I must keep pleasing my husband. I must win his affection and so give into the competitive spirit brought on by this situation. She would have seen her sister give her servant as a means of raising up children and thought I too can do so lest I be treated worst.
Just picture the commotion in the house. Now there are two more people for you to compete with for hubby’s attention. I must say it’s not the smartest thing Leah did but I guess having a bird’s eye view of the situation makes one’s choice a little bit more level-headed.
Though God opened Rachel’s womb later and she gave birth to Joseph who went on to help preserve the people of God, I believe Leah to be a more honourable woman. She, unlike her sister never brought idols into their household and she was buried in the field at Mamre where Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah and later where Israel’s bones were buried.
It is a kind of painful story to be struggling for love and acceptance and I pity Leah but I believe that it is a picture of life that no matter what you face if you stick it out God honours you in the life to come.