Friday, December 24, 2010

Genesis 29:31-35 Sons of Jacob and Leah

"When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.  Leah became  pregnant and gave birth to a son.  She named him Reuben, for she said, 'It is because the Lord has seen my misery.  Surely my husband will love me now.' " (Genesis 29:31-32 NIV)  Reuben's name means 'See, a son' and also sounds like 'He has seen my misery' in Hebrew.  While Leah knows that the Lord has given her a son to comfort her since she is unloved, she is also trying to obtain some type of love or recognition from her husband by presenting him with offspring.  A woman's status in that culture was sometimes measured by how many children she had, particularly if she had sons to carry on her husband's lineage.

Although Jacob did not love Leah as he loved Rachel, he did continue to live with her as a husband and Leah continued to conceive sons:
  • Simeon - "one who hears" - Leah noted that the Lord had 'heard' that she continued to be unloved by Jacob, so He had given her this son, also. (v.33)
  • Levi - "attached" -  Leah hoped that Jacob would become 'attached' to her now that she had borne him three sons. (v.34)
  • Judah - "praise" -  Apparently, Leah gave up trying to win Jacob's affection by giving him sons, and just praised the Lord that He had given her these four sons.  She stopped having children (for a while) and seemed fairly content with her life. (v.35)
Leah actually was quite blessed by God, even though her marital situation was less than ideal.  It is unfortunate that her husband did not particularly love her, but God was still able to use her in His plan.  Leah was the mother of Levi, who will go on to become the ancestor of Aaron's priestly line.  That was honorable enough.

Even more spectacularly, Judah would go on to become the ancestor of David and his royal line, and, ultimately, the Messiah Jesus.  God's ways certainly are mysterious, and full of His wisdom. Not yet knowing these things about the futures of her sons, Leah nevertheless finally seems somewhat content.  However, this contentment was rather short-lived.  Rachel was not particularly happy that her unloved sister was having all these children with Jacob.  Then began what I will call, 'The Battle of the Babies".

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