I went to Catholic school for 12 years and when we studied many parts of the bible, my eyes glazed over and my brain shut off when it was about this person has these sons here and these sons there and married this person and had these sons too. Names I couldn’t pronounce and places that I had no concept on where they were. But…..
I recently listened a pod cast and heard the story of Rachel and Leah and Jacob in Genesis. I love this story. Wow who knew there was such scandals in the bible!
Genesis Chapter 29:16 ish
So here is my version of recapping this story and a couple of ah-ha moments from their stories. I looked a few things up to better understand this section. So I hope I do it justice.
Leah is the older sister and was described as having weak eyes. While the younger sister, Rachel is described as having a lovely figure. So is weak eyes the bibles way of saying ‘she has a great personality’ or a nice way of saying she’s unattractive? Well I did find that it means Leah was tender and tearstained. She cried about her fear of being forced to marry Esau. But who knows.
So Jacob is totally in love with Rachel. Like crazy in love. Jacob makes a deal with the girls father to work for him for 7 years and then Jacob can marry Rachel.
And he does. The Bible says 29:20 ‘So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her’. So sweet.
Jacob had been thinking about her for seven years and when the time is completed he says 29:21′ Give me my wife. My time is completed and I want to make love to her’
Calm down Jacob. Take it easy buddy.
They have a big party and its the wedding night but dad sends Leah and not Rachel to Jacob and Jacob doesn’t notice until the morning…..yikes. Can you say awkward.
Jacob is pretty ticked off but agrees to stay with Leah and then work another seven years to get Rachel.
Poor Leah. God saw she was not loved and He enabled her to conceive but Rachel remained childless. Leah had a son and said ‘it is because the Lord has seen my misery. surely my husband will love me now’ Leah had another son and thought ‘Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too’. And another son. And Leah said ‘Now my husband will become attached to me because I have borne him three sons’. Leah has one more son and then stops.
Oh Leah, sadly I know these feelings. I have 3 sons. And had hoped it would have saved my marriage too. But kids don’t fix marriages and besides Jacob loves Rachel.
Speaking of Rachel, she’s now all jealous of her sister because she is having trouble getting pregnant. So what does she do? Yep, she tells Jacob to sleep with her servant who shocker gets pregnant. Not once but twice.
And now poor Leah is jealous and tells Jacob to sleep with her servant too and she has 2 sons too.
So to recap we have one man, four women and eight sons so far.
Leah and Rachel have a little argument about mandrakes. Mandrakes is a plant that has a plum type fruit that is an aphrodisiac and promotes fertility.
Leah trades mandrakes with a night with Jacob. And you guessed it, Leah has son number five. She has son six and a daughter.
Rachel finally conceives and has a son! YAY
Now we are going to skip ahead to Chapter 35. There is some crazy stuff that happens in those chapters between but I wanted to focus on Rachel and Leah.
They are now traveling back to Bethel. Jacob talks to God and God changes his names from Jacob to Isreal.
Rachel is pregnant again! On the way she goes into labor and is having a difficult time. 35:18 ‘As she breathed her last – for she was dying – she named him Ben-Oni.’ Which means son of my pain. But Jacob calls him Benjamin, which means son of my right hand.
35:19. ‘Rachel died and was buried on the way to Bethlehem. Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar and to this day that pillar marks Rachel’s tomb.’ 20 ‘Isreal moved on again.’
Did you catch it? Jacob buried his beloved wife and Isreal moved on!
Jacob loved Rachel and when she died, JACOB buried her and set up a pillar and ISREAL moved on. He was changed. Oh and changing Ben-Oni name from son of my pain. Not labeling him and have him carry that burden. WOW OH WOW.
Ok so what I learned about myself from the story of Rachel, Leah and Jacob…..
1. I am Leah. Weak eyes and all. And I’m totally ok with that!
2. I was married to a man who really didn’t love me. Well he likely did on some level but not in the way I needed or understood. I’m sure Jacob loved Leah on some level.
3. Kids don’t fix marriages. Don’t give them that job!
4. You are changed after a major heart break.
5. You are not defined by things that happened in your life! Even if it’s at the beginning of your life.
I love finding and understanding recovery stuff from unexpected places.
And all His people said……AMEN
My journey to serenity continues….