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Thursday, October 19 2017

The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Leah

Studies In This Series:
The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Leah
The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Rachel
The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Bilhah
The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Zilpah
The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Asenath

"The sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob's firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun ... And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah"

The fourteen tribal patriarchs of Israel (Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin, Ephraim and Manasseh) were the sons of Jacob / Israel (see The Origin Of Israelites And Jews) with five women - four Syrian (Leah, Rachel, Bilhah and Zilpah) and one Egyptian (Asenath - whose sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, were promoted from grandsons of Jacob to sons of Jacob).

Twelve of the tribes had their own territory in Israel (see The Israel Lottery and The Return Of The Eastern Tribes), while Levi, as the priesthhood (see When Were The Levites Set Apart?), had cities and lands throughout the twelve tribes (see Cities and Suburbs Of The Levite Clans). Later, the tribe of Joseph was divided into two tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh (see The Adoption Of Ephraim and Manasseh).

Leah (in Hebrew pronounced lay-ah) was Jacob's first wife (keeping in mind that Jacob was soon thereafter married to three more women, for four wives at the same time). Despite the made-difficult circumstances of her loveless marriage, she became the mother of six of Jacob's sons, including the most-famous, Judah, as well as Jacob's daughter Dinah.

"35:23 The sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob's firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun" (Genesis 35:23 KJV)

Laban was Jacob's uncle (he was the brother of Jacob's mother Rebekah; see The Marriage of Isaac and Rebekah and Jacob In Syria), which made Leah and Rachel first-cousins of Jacob. Leah was the elder of the two women.

A Woman

"29:16 And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel." (Genesis 29:16 KJV)

People have debated what was meant by Leah being "tender eyed" (KJV and others). It is variously also translated as "weak" (NIV and others), "ordinary" (Holman), "plain" (ISV), or "blear eyed" (Douay-Rheims Bible) - which could possibly refer to either nearsightedness or physical appearance. So, can we know?

The two words of the original Hebrew that are translated as "tender eyed," pronounced rawk, which means weak, and aw-yin, which means appearance, seems to indicate that Leah's "problem" wasn't that she was near-sighted (she was obviously strong and very healthy - long outliving her "beautiful" younger sister), but rather that she was regarded as unattractive, according to the standards of that time. That possibility seems to be reinforced with the comparison of "beautiful" Rachel when describing "tender eyed" Leah.

"29:17 Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured." (Genesis 29:17 KJV)

Jacob had arranged to marry Rachel, but Laban made a substitution in the darkness that resulted in firstborn Leah becoming Jacob's wife. Once again, it would seem to indicate that Leah's "tender eyed" situation applied only to her facial appearance - Jacob could not otherwise distinguish Leah from "beautiful" Rachel.

"29:23 And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her. 29:24 And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid.

29:25 And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?" (Genesis 29:23-25 KJV)

Although Jacob tolerated Leah, "he loved also Rachel more than Leah." After Leah gave birth to Jacob's firstborn son, Reuben, she hoped "now therefore my husband will love me." It didn't change Jacob's attitude toward her however, nor did Leah's giving birth to Jacob's son Simeon - if anything, his lack of love for her had grown into hatred i.e. "And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated."

"29:30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.

29:31 And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. 29:32 And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me. 29:33 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon." (Genesis 29:30-32 KJV)

Jacob then apparently even stopped regarding Leah as his wife. Leah responded by appointing her maid Zilpah as a surrogate wife. Later, Leah even resorted to paying Jacob to sleep with her: "Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son's mandrakes. And he lay with her that night." The payments continued: "Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons."

"30:9 When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife. 30:10 And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a son. 30:11 And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad.

30:12 And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a second son. 30:13 And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.

30:14 And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son's mandrakes.

30:15 And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son's mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son's mandrakes. 30:16 And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son's mandrakes. And he lay with her that night.

30:17 And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son. 30:18 And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar.

30:19 And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son. 30:20 And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun." (Genesis 30:9-20 KJV)

During that time, Leah also became the mother of Jacob's only known daughter, Dinah.

30:21 And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah." (Genesis 30:21 KJV)

Beautiful, but frail, Rachel died and is buried near Bethlehem (see The Rachel Prophecies). Bilhah and Zilpah, despite their being wives of Jacob and mothers of some of his children, were nevertheless still regarded at a lower status - and so were not buried with Jacob. Ironically, the only wife of Jacob that is buried with him is Leah - the wife that he never loved.

"49:31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah."

Fact Finder: Who purchased the family tomb in Hebron where Leah is buried?
See What Did Abraham Ask Ephron To Do?

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This Day In History, October 19

526 BC: Ahmose II, also known as Amasis II, general, king of Egypt, member of the 26th dynasty, died. He seized the throne during a revolt against King Apries (see also Children Of Ham - The Origin Of Egypt And Iraq).


202 BC: The Battle of Zama during the Second Punic War; Roman legions (see also Legions Of Men And Angels) under the command of Scipio Africanus defeated Hannibal Barca, leader Carthaginian army.

Battle of Zama

439: The Vandals, led by King Gaiseric, took Carthage in north Africa.

1216: King John of England died at age 50. After being interdicted by Pope Innocent III, he surrendered England to the pope so that the national excommunication would be repealed. Innocent then gave England back to John in 1213 as a fief of the Roman Catholic Church. King John became the subject of one of William Shakespeare's plays. He was succeeded by his 9 year old son Henry.

1466: The Peace of Torun ended the war between the Teutonic Knights and their own disaffected subjects in Prussia (not to be confused with Russia; Prussia is in Germany).

1469: Ferdinand II of Aragon married Isabella I of Castile. The Spanish monarchs are best-known to history as the sponsors of Christopher Columbus (see also Thanksgiving In History and Prophecy).


1739: England declared war on Spain over a borderline dispute in Florida. The war became known as the War of Jenkin's Ear because Spanish coast guards cut off the ear of British seaman Robert Jenkins.

Suez Canal 1812: Napoleon began his retreat from Moscow (see Russia Or Europe - Who Has Been The Invader?).

1818: In the years following the War of 1812 (1812-14), that was declared by U.S. President James Madison with the stated purpose to annex Canada and subject its people to dictatorial rule from Washington, a treaty was signed by Canada and the U.S. to set the international border, west of the Great Lakes, at "the 49th parallel" (i.e. the latitude of 49 degrees north). That treaty, along with the already-established-by-war border east of the Great Lakes created the present-day boundary that has not been militarily-violated by either nation in nearly 200 years.

1827: During the Greek War of Independence, the Turkish and Egyptian fleets were destroyed by the British, French and Russians at the Battle of Navarino (see also Send In The Marines).

1935: The League of Nations imposed sanctions against Italy following its invasion of Ethiopia.

1949: The communist People's Republic of China was formally proclaimed.

1950: The North Korean capital of Pyongyang was captured by U.N. troops (see Why Was Korea Divided Into North And South?).

1954: Britain and Egypt agreed to transfer control of the Suez Canal after more than 70 years of British control (see A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate).

1970: British Petroleum made the first major oil find in the British sector of the North Sea.

1973: U.S. President Richard Nixon rejected an Appeals Court demand to turn over the Watergate criminal investigation tapes.

1993: South African President F.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

2005: Amidst the over 200,000 Iraqi civilians killed and a million wounded (some independent estimates state that the civilian carnage was much higher) by the non-existent "weapons of mass destruction" invasion ordered by George W. Bush, Saddam Hussein went on trial in the destroyed city of Baghdad for "crimes against humanity." Saddam Hussein was found guilty and hung for his war crimes.

2005: Hurricane Wilma becomes the most intense Atlantic hurricane on record.


Copyright © Wayne Blank