Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise. Proverbs 31:30-31
When my sister-in-law named her child Leah, I remembered that the name meant “weak eyes.” I thought she should’ve named her after Leah’s sister, Rachel, whose name meant “little lamb.” However, when I re-read the story of these women in Genesis, I realized that Leah was the better choice after all.
Leah became Jacob’s wife because of her father Laban’s deception. Jacob worked for seven years so that he could marry Rachel whom he loved, but his father-in-law gave him a heavily veiled Leah as a bride instead. Laban used the excuse that it was customary to marry the older before the younger daughter.
Blind with love, Jacob agreed to work without wages for seven more years for Rachel and she became Jacob’s wife just seven days after he married Leah (Genesis 29:20-30).
Genesis 29:31 says, “The Lord saw that Leah was unloved, and he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.” Through the names she chose for her children, Leah reveals both her anguish and her faith in God. Her first child she named Reuben, which means “seen,” because “the Lord has seen my affliction, surely now my husband will love me” (Gen. 29:32). But Jacob still favored Rachel.
Leah named her second child Simeon, which means “heard,” because “the Lord has heard that I am unloved, and he has therefore given me this son also” (Gen. 29:33). She named her third son, Levi, which means “attachment. ” She said, “Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne his three sons” (Gen. 29:34). Still Jacob preferred Rachel.
Her fourth son was named Judah, which means “praise.” Leah said, “Now I will praise the Lord” (Gen. 29:35). This time her eyes were on God, not herself or her husband.
Our values may be quite different from God’s. We may value outward appearance and love over faithfulness and godliness. Jacob continued to favor Rachel even though she was selfish and ungodly. But God showered his favor on Leah.
How would you describe the way you value others?
Read Genesis 31:19-35. Did Rachel have a relationship with God? What did she steal as she was leaving her father’s house? How and by whom was she cursed?
Read Genesis 49:29-33. Who lay beside Jacob in burial? Where was his other wife buried?
God established the 12 tribes of Israel through 12 sons of Leah, Rachel, and their maids. Which woman’s son was the ancestor of Jesus Christ? Read Revelation 5:1-5. What does this tell you about the people of God? Why are you valuable to him?
Nancy J. Baker
This devotion is part of a series on Women of the Bible.