Leah was the oldest daughter of Laban, Rebekah’s brother. She was also the sister of Rachel and the wife of Jacob. The name Leah means weary. Leah was not noted for her beauty as her sister Rachel was, but for her weak, or delicate, eyes. She can be found in the Bible Timeline between 1754-1704 BC.
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Rebekah’s son Jacob was sent to Laban to escape the wrath of his brother Esau whom he had deceived. While staying with and working for Laban, Jacob fell in love with Rachel, who was the younger sister of Leah. When Laban asked what payment Jacob would like for the work he was performing for Laban, Jacob requested to take Rachel as his wife in exchange for seven years of labor. Laban agreed. The majority of the details are recorded about Leah’s life events can be found in the 29th and 30th chapters of the Book of Genesis.
Leah Married Jacob through Deception
However, when the seven years of labor were finished, and Jacob claimed his payment, there was an unexpected twist of events. After he had spent his wedding night with his new bride, he awoke in the morning to discover that his bride was Leah and not Rachel. Having been deceived, Jacob was upset and questioned Laban about the identity of his bride. Jacob was informed that the custom of Laban’s people is to marry off the oldest daughter first. Therefore, Laban graciously agreed to give Jacob Rachel’s hand in marriage after his marriage week with Leah in exchange for another seven years of labor. Jacob agreed.
While Leah’s was Jacob’s first wife, she was not loved by her husband as her sister Rachel was. Because the Lord God seen that Leah was not loved, he graciously opened Leah’s womb. Leah bore Jacob his first four sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah. Later she bore Jacob two more sons Issachar and Zebulun. Leah also later gave birth to a daughter named Dinah. With each child, Leah hoped to win the affections of her husband.
Because Leah was able to bear children and her sister Rachel was not, Rachel became very jealous of Leah because a childless woman was looked upon with despite in those days. The Lord did, however, eventually allow Rachel to bare two sons to Jacob.
The End of Leah’s Life
Leah, along with Jacob, Rachel, their maidservants and their livestock, left her native land of Haran and went to settle in Canaan. Leah lived there until she died and was buried in the cave in the field of Machpelah as mentioned in Genesis 49:29 – 31.
Though Leah was not a highly visible character in the Bible, she gave birth to six sons who would later become half of the tribes of Israel. This included the line of Judah, from which was born Jesus Christ. Therefore, this seemingly insignificant Bible character was used to begin ushering in the ultimate salvation of the world.
Though the beginning of her family relationships appeared to entail deception, jealousy, rejection and family strife. The Lord God used these obviously imperfect beginnings as the catalyst to foster what most consider the single most important event in Biblical history. Through the descendants of Leah, the Lord Jesus Christ was born into this world many generations later.
What Was Happening in the Rest of the World?
During the period that Leah was alive, the rest of the world had continued to function. In China, Emperor YU ruled. The Intermediate Kingdoms existed in Egypt. Ramman lead in Assyria and the Hittites took over the area now covered by Turkey. This was also the time of Hammurabi, who was considered to be responsible for establishing the greatness of Babylon. Babylon was considered the world’s first metropolis.
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