Her name comes from the Hebrew verb meaning “to tire or make exhausted.” It literally means “She wears me out.” Figuratively, Leah means “to be or make disgusted, be slow, with difficulty.” Her life reflects the goodness of a God who hears the cry for those who feel used and unloved.
Her story: Genesis 29:16-21, 29:33-33:7, 49:31
Leah was the oldest daughter of Laban, Rebekah’s brother. She was not the first of Laban’s two daughters Jacob saw when he arrived at the home of his mother’s family. She was not the one he fell in love with. Jacob worked seven years because he loved Leah’s younger, more beautiful sister. But Laban switched brides at the wedding and Jacob unknowingly married Leah. She was his wife for only one week and then Laban gave Jacob the woman he loved. The relation between these two sisters was competitive and contentious. God saw that Leah was unloved and He gave her four sons. The names of her four sons (Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah) reflect her journey from feeling unloved by Jacob to recognizing God deserved her praise. Then, the sister-fight over who could produce the most children started. After Rachel gave her slave to Jacob to bear children, Leah did the same. God opened Leah’s womb later and gave her two more sons (Issachar and Zebulun) and a daughter, Dinah. She forever remained the unloved wife, but she gave birth to tribes who became priests (Levi) and kings (Judah). She was buried in the family graves of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, and Jacob.
Her legacy for us: Leah had a hard life. She was married off under pretense perpetrated by her brother, forever unloved by her husband, always competing with her sister. But Leah had tenacity and she learned to trust in God rather than those around her. Even in all the deception and hardships, even with all her flaws, Leah was one of the fore-mothers of Israel – a builder of a nation.
Our response to Him: How much do I persevere in the places where You put me? How much do I trust You above my feelings and the rocky relationships I might find myself in?
One thought on “Her name was Leah.”
Even to this day it seems like she doesn’t get all of the respect she deserves.