Chronicled in Genesis
Leah was not what you might call “glamorous.” She was not a “looker,” per se. The Bible refers to her as “weak-eyed” or “tender-eyed.” My word would be “lazy-eyed.” Let’s just say that she did not have the advantage of traditional “beauty” working in her favor.
Leah was the oldest daughter of Laban. Laban duped Jacob into taking Leah as his wife. Jacob’s love was for Leah’s younger sister Rachel. Laban forced Jacob to work for him seven years to receive Rachel, which he did. However, on the wedding night consummation, Laban snuck Leah into Jacob, who was a bit tipsy from the celebratory feast earlier in the evening. The next morning, Jacob realized what happened and Genesis 29:25 was born—“So it came to pass in the morning, that behold, it was Leah.” Surprise, surprise, surprise Jacob!
Jacob then had to work another seven years to “earn” his true love, Rachel. Leah was never loved by Jacob the way Rachel was. She longed for the affection that her younger sibling received. In her loneliness, she searched for a way to get Jacob’s attention. She found it in the fact that she could bear children while Rachel could not. So, Leah starting having child after child in an attempt to win her husband’s heart.
Genesis 29:31-35 details Leah’s exhausting efforts. First, it was Reuben (meaning “behold, a son”), “The Lord has surely looked on my affliction. Now therefore, my husband will love me.” No love. Second, there was Simeon (meaning “God is listening”), “Because the Lord has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.” Still no love. Next, it was Levi (meaning “harmony”), “Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Alas, no love. Can you imagine the torment? Have you ever tried to win the affection of another and nothing seemed to work?
Leah had borne Jacob three heirs in the hopes that he would value her more than Rachel, to no avail. Finally, Leah had an epiphany. Perhaps her inner monologue went something like this: “Why am I trying to win his love with kids? Kids? Really? I should just be happy that I have kids to raise! My sister can’t even bear her own kids and I have three.”
It was with her fourth child that Leah finally acknowledged God’s gifts to her: Judah (meaning “praise”), “Now I will praise the Lord.” Once she realized that it’s not about earthly love—it’s about God’s love—she finally praised the Lord. Altogether, Leah had six sons and a daughter, which was a huge honor in those days. Leah was blessed and didn’t know it, at first. When she came to her senses, she had plenty to thank God for.
So, how do we triumph in the midst of trial? Never look for acceptance in the eyes of man. Look higher.