L E A H (BC 1759)
L E A H
It is stated at the outset that Leah, although not the ‘star’ of the narrative in the following comments from God’s Word; is a major character in God’s plan for Israel, and the world; as displayed in prophecy and history, and in particular Revelation. She displayed the qualities that all the women of God show, from many backgrounds and life experiences; the main one of which was her ‘will’ to please her God! This is evidenced all the way through Scripture, from the beginning, to Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus; but interestingly not in Eve!
In Hebrews 11 is shown the main element that expresses these qualities; ‘faith’. In Heb. 11:6, it is defined; “without faith it is impossible to please God”! Verse 31 shows that Rahab (the harlot) is included in the venerable list of the faithful, showing that there is hope for all, who trust God/Christ Jesus for life Eternal!
In Gen. 28.1-2, Jacob is told by his father Isaac not to marry a Canaanite woman, for reasons shown in: (Nephilim; & Nephilim, who were they, and why?) He is instructed to go to Paddan Aram to the home of his grandfather Bethuel, and to take a wife from among the daughters of Laban his mother's brother.
One night when he is rested on his journey to Paddan Aram he dreamt, the Lord spoke to him and assured him that He was with him, and that the land he was lying on would one day be filled with his descendants; also that the whole Earth would be blessed through them; but as we see later in Gen. 32, Jacob had yet to give his whole will to God! This prophecy is yet however to be fulfilled. See: (The Promised Land).
When Jacob awoke he was amazed at what the Lord God had shown him, and called that place Bethel (the house of God). From then on he trusted God was with him.
Before he reached his grandfather's home, we read in Gen. 29 that he met Rachel, Laban's younger daughter. Jacob loved her because she was beautiful, however Laban told him he must work 7 years for him before he could have her as his wife. After 7 years, Laban tricked Jacob, and on his wedding night gave him Leah, who was said to be unattractive. Jacob did not realise that he had slept with Leah and not Rachel until the morning, (one can only imagine why this was, perhaps at the feast which Laban gave them, he had drunk too much wine and therefore could have been drunk). However, Scripture is not clear on this. When Jacob challenged Laban on his deception, he said that it was not their custom to give a younger daughter before an older one, and said if he still wanted Rachel he must work another 7 years.
Had Jacob not been tricked by Laban, he would have married Rachel; and would certainly not have married Leah. That would have not fitted the plan of God; as He had determined that Judah would be born to Leah, as her heart and mind were God focused, and not affected by idols, as was Rachael’s!
Jacob did as Laban had said, and after 7 years he gave Rachel to him to marry also. This was within the ‘Hammurabi Code’ which prevailed at that time; although that may seem strange to the modern Western mind; but prevailed until the giving of the Law for Israel!
Scripture records that Jacob loved Rachel much more than Leah. When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved He gave her 4 sons, Reuben (behold a son); Simeon (hearing); Levi (Joiner); and Judah (he shall be praised), through whom, as the Royal line, eventually Christ the Messiah would come, hence the need for the genetic line to be unsullied by Nephilim; (see: Gen. 3:15).
After the birth of each of them Leah hoped that Jacob will love her more.
Gen. 30 relates that during this time Rachel had no children, and became jealous of her sister, and asked Jacob to give her children or she would die. (This may be significant as she died giving birth to Benjamin, Gen. 35:19). Jacob became angry with Rachel, and reminded her that only God can grant children. Rachel then requested Jacob sleep with her maid Bilhah, so that she may have a family through her. Bilhah produces by Jacob 2 sons, Dan (Judge) and Naphtali (my wrestling).
When Leah saw what was happening she gave her maid Zilpah to Jacob. She also bore Jacob 2 more sons, Gad (Jupiter); and Asher (happy).
Gen. 30:14-15 records that Reuben, Leah's eldest son had found mandrake plants for his mother. Rachel seeing these asked Leah for a share, (it was thought by some that these plants had some superstitious fertility quality, and as Rachel by this time still did not have a child, she may have been wanting to try devious means to become pregnant, rather than trusting the Almighty). Leah asked Rachel to allow Jacob to sleep with her that night, in exchange for some of the mandrakes (this would indicate that Rachel spent more time with Jacob than Leah or the maids, and certainly had more influence over Jacob). Jacob did sleep with Leah and a son was born whom she called Issachar (he is wages); again she bore another son and called him Zebulen (dwelling or habitation). She hoped that Jacob would love her because she had then born him 6 sons. Sometime later she bore a daughter Dinah.
Jacob may have had other daughters although there are none recorded. Dinah may have been mentioned because of what happened to her in Gen. 34.
Gen. 30:22 records that in the year BC 1745 God gave Rachel a son, whom she named Joseph (may he add); However, immediately, she asked God for another son; this answered request, ends in her death 17 years later in Gen. 35:16-19; when she was birthing Benjamin.
In Gen. 31 God told Jacob to go back to the land of his fathers, by that time he had worked 21 years for Laban. Laban and his family had become jealous of Jacob’s success and his growing wealth; and were beginning to show animosity towards him. However, because Laban would not allow Jacob to leave he had to flee with his family.
Before leaving, Rachel stole her father's portable idol. The reason for this is unclear, however it may have been that as Rachel had shown superstitious tendencies previously, she could have felt these idols would give her some comfort and protection. If so this would show that she was not free from the Babylonian pagan background. After 10 days Laban caught up with Jacob and used the fact that someone had stolen something from him to challenge Jacob. However, he was careful, because Jacob's God had spoken to him in a dream the previous night (v.24) warning him against harming them. After some discussion, an agreement is made that Laban will not pursue them any further in the future; and they raise a covenant and memorial to that effect, (vs.44-55).
When their journey continued, during the night Jacob wrestled with a man; (Gen. 32:24-30) whom he later realised is God Himself. Because of this Jacob's name is changed by God to Israel, (meaning “God commands, orders or rules” Gen. 32:27-28); because he realised that his dependence has to be upon God alone.
It is significant that his encounter with God is on the same night as his turmoil over his brother Esau; and his devious dealing with him and Isaac 22 years earlier. It is of great significance to notice that Jacob’s name (meaning “Contender” Gen. 25:22); is changed by God to Israel (“God commands, orders or rules”); and is indicative of the Earthly and spiritual natures of the man Jacob! Ultimately, only the spiritual will exist, but not until the completed work of Christ Jesus, at the end of the Millennial Reign on Earth; when Israel will be “a Kingdom of Priests” unto God!
The importance of Jacob’s encounter with God is shown in the unique event of God’s presence with Jacob in the way it is described, Jacob “wrestled” with God! In the whole of Scripture, such an event is not recorded again and is dramatic even compared with the examples of Abram, Moses etc.; and shows the extreme importance to God, to obtain Jacob’s fidelity to Him; and illustrates the critical stage that had been reached in Jacob’s life, and God’s desire to obtain his ‘free will’ allegiance, knowing that Satan would attempt to counter His efforts in the formation of the nation Israel through Jacob’s 12 sons. This God achieved by the ‘free will’ of Jacob, as is shown by the words in v.28 (see Hosea 12:3-5); and his name changed to Isra-el (God commands).
Jacob’s submission to God by his free will is counter to Satan’s use of his free will against God, from his most favoured position of “Covering Cherub” in the distant past (see: Satan's Origins) and illustrated the great conflict which is now under way since Eden for the allegiance of men and women which is yet to reach a crescendo in the future, with Israel central again in the world’s consciousness!
Jacob's hip was damaged by God during their struggle (v.25), so after this encounter Jacob walked with a limp. Because of this the Jews do not eat the tendon attached to the hip, in animal food. Therefore Jacob retained in his body, and Israel retained in their dietary practice, a perpetual reminder of his encounter with God.
Gen. 33 records the meeting between Jacob and his brother Esau from whom he had stolen his birthright blessing with the help of his mother; misusing Isaac’s blindness. Jacob worried that Esau would harm him due to his dishonest act (Gen. 27). However by this time Esau had forgiven Jacob, and had prospered. Gen. 35 records that Jacob returned to Bethel and settled there, and built an alter where God had appeared to him previously. He instructed all his family to purify and purge themselves from their Babylonian pagan gods, (see: Mystery Babylon:). This would indicate that Jacob had not done this previously and perhaps had allowed things in his household that he should not have done.
Soon after, Gen. 35:16 records that as Rachel was dying in giving birth to Benjamin, she named him Benoni, (son of my sorrow), Jacob however changed his name to Benjamin, (son of my right hand). She died at Bethlehem, (meaning house of bread). Her sons, Joseph and Benjamin were instrumental in bringing bread (famine relief) to Jacob and family, and also Egypt during the 7 years of famine. Also as the birth place of Jesus; as He is called the “Bread of Life”!
No more is mentioned about Leah until we are informed where she was buried in Gen. 49:31, BC 1689. It is clear from this Scripture that Leah had died previously and Jacob had buried her in the cave bought by Abraham, the field of Ephron the Hittite, for a burying place, where Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Leah and finally Jacob were buried. We see here an honouring of Leah in death, if not in Earthly life!
Leah’s role in bearing Judah, indicates her standing with God; and therefore her future blessing in resurrection and eternity, due to her being chosen and fitting to bear the seed of Adam to eventually Mary the mother of Jesus!
Leah was less loved by Jacob. She was a woman who constantly longed for the love of her husband. Her own personal trust in the Almighty is sure; as witnessed by her heartfelt praise when she acknowledges that it is the Lord God who had given children to her and praises him especially after the birth of Judah.
This is in contrast to her sister's comments to Jacob in Gen. 30:1; although Rachel later does acknowledge that it is Jehovah God who gives children.
It would also seem that Leah was not able to spend as much time with Jacob as Rachael, due to Jacob’s favour of Rachael.
There is clearly intense competition between Leah and Rachel for the love and attention of Jacob; Leah, spiritual; Rachel, worldly and physical. There is at present a similar contesting between Almighty God and the “prince of this world” who is constantly attempting to win people over to him and away from God! Rachel the more attractive in the Earthly sense (see: Eve and Adam); and Leah, the chosen one by God to bear the genetic line of Jesus, the Christ. The Apostle Paul describes this struggle in detail, relative to the Body of Christ; Christians!
Despite this struggle between the sisters, Joseph and Benjamin Rachael’s sons are used to help start the establishment of the people of Israel in Egypt from the 12 sons; and after more than 200 years later, by the Exodus many thousands leave to go to the Promised Land. So from approx. 70 souls, many thousands resulted by the time of Moses’ Exodus!
Judah is to produce the “Lion of the Tribe of Judah”; and establish Israel’s salvation as God’s “Kinsman Redeemer” which results eventually after the Millennial in the “New Jerusalem”!
It is notable that Leah’s love for Jacob (unrequited); is not dissimilar to that of Jehovah for His “firstborn son”; Israel! Her patience and fidelity of heart, again is similar to God’s for Israel. Both are not requited until after the resurrection!
Similarly to Esther and many women of God; Leah is modest, waiting, faithful; and is rewarded by eventually bearing Judah; who is in the line of Christ Jesus! Leah also has the qualities of many “good” (chosen) women in Scripture, which are expressed in Mary the mother of Jesus; who upon being told of “that Holy Thing” that she would bear, stated (Luke 1:35 & 38) “be it done unto me according to Thy Word”!
Mary showed here in the most moving way, what all women of God show; loving submission and trust of His Word!
The fact is that Leah was chosen by God to be the genetic seed link between His promise in Gen. 3:15; through many generations to the birth of Jesus; to Mary and Joseph; and despite the efforts and deviousness of Laban and Jacob under the influence of the “prince of this world” she held that great honour!
THE ALMIGHTY’S PURPOSE CANNOT BE THWARTED