Chapter 8 teens Leah and Rachel
Jacob, favored son of Isaac, went to stay at his Uncle Laban’s. Laban had two daughters, Leah and Rachel. Jacob fell in love with Rachel, the younger of the two, and offered to work for Laban for seven years in return for Rachel’s hand in marriage.
As was the custom, the older daughter should be married off first. Imagine the jealousy that must have risen in that household when Rachel was asked for before her older sister. Let’s look at the description the Bible gives of these two girls: “Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel was lovely in form, and beautiful.” Obviously the contrast is in Rachel’s favor. Some translations say Leah was “tender-eyed”; some scholars believe the term meant her eyes were red and runny, others that they were blue instead of brown, others think it meant she had poor eyesight. Regardless, the implication is still there that Rachel was preferable.
I’ve always felt sorry for Leah because her father did the wedding veil switcheroo and Jacob was deceived into marrying Leah. When he realized it the following morning he was furious. Laban made him finish out the bridal week then gave him Rachel in return for another seven years of work. Poor Leah. A forced honeymoon to endure with a man she loved, but who couldn’t wait to get to her sister.
Leah got pregnant. I can feel her despair in the words recorded after she gives birth to a son and says, “Surely my husband will love me now.”
On the other hand, imagine Rachel’s anguish. She expected to marry handsome Jacob and then her father yanked that opportunity away and substituted her older sister. Rachel became the second wife and watched sadly as her sister gave birth to son after son while she remained barren.
The rivalry between the sisters continued. There was anger and jealousy and a great struggle for dominance. Read Chapter 30 of Genesis to see how the sisters involved even their maidservants in this love triangle.
(Next Saturday teen Miriam, Moses' sister)