Wrestling Sisters: Rachel & Leah
Updated: May 7, 2020
Description by God:
Rachel: Was beautiful and well favored
Leah: Was tender–eyed
Our human hearts are born without contentment. We struggle with wanting something different and always wanting something more. Yes, we are going to talk about Rachel the beloved wife. The story begins in Genesis 29:9. She meets her future husband (Jacob) when she was caring for her father's sheep. It was love at first sight. Jacob was related to them. Rachel was the daughter of his mother's brother. The Bible says that he kissed her and wept but we also find the saying in Genesis 33:4 And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept. This was a way to show joy and respect. He kissed her but also fell on his neck. Rachel ran and told her father that a certain relative had arrived.
Laban Rachel's father offered Jacob a job, and in return he asked him: what shall the wages be? Jacob needed a wife, Laban had two daughters Rachel and Leah. Leah was the oldest one, and according to those days it was the custom to marry the first daughter but Jacob was not impressed with Leah. The Bible describes both girls in Genesis 29:17 Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favored. That was a very clear statement from God. Jacob decided to serve Laban for seven years in exchange to marry Rachel, that meant that this couple was engaged for seven years.
The wedding day had finally arrived, Jacob went and ask for his bride to be, so his future father in law gathered all the men and made a feast. But instead of marrying Rachel the Bible says that he married Leah. Laban had betrayed Jacob, and you probably wonder how did it happened. Back in those days, and even now it was the custom of the Jewish to have the bride completely covered from head to toe. That meant, that the men did not know who they married. In today’s weddings, and I am not talking about Jewish weddings, you see the bride with a veil coming down the aisle to meet her future husband, and the father or the future husband lifts the vail. Commentaries say that this tradition began after Jacob was betrayed by his father in law, that way no other men would be fooled.
The next morning Jacob complained to Laban, and Laban being Laban told him that it was not typical in his place to give the younger daughter. Jacob could not do anything about the matter; he had already accomplished his marriage to Leah. A week later Rachel was given to him as his wife so now he had two wives plus their own maidens: Ziplah was Leah's maiden, and Bilha Rachel's maiden. He was practicing Polygamy, but it was not forbidden at that time, it does not mean that God was okay with it. This is something that the descendants of Cain were already practicing back in Genesis 4:19 And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. but in Exodus 20:14 God said: Thou shalt not commit adultery. Jacob loved Rachel so much to the point that he decided to serve her father another seven years before moving out of his house. In the meantime, Leah was not loved by Jacob at all and this is when the Lord decided to open her womb but Rachel was barren.
This is where the competition starts among the two wives:
Genesis 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. Leah thought her husband was going to love her now that she gave him a son.
Genesis 29:33 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the Lord hath heard I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon. during this verse she says the Lord gave her a son because she was not loved.
Genesis 29:34 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi. Right here she thought she had that he was going to get closer to her.
Genesis 29:35 And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the Lord: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing. In this passage she decides to praise the Lord.
By this time Rachel had not given Jacob any children and was starting to get bitter about it. She decides to tell her husband to give her children or else she'll die, Jacob got mad at her and said: Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb? Because her husband could not do anything about the situation she decided to fix the problem herself instead of just waiting on the Lord. This is when she decides to give her maiden to Jacob so she could bare a son.
Genesis 30:5–6 And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son.
And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan. she says that God had heard her voice what a lie, God did not send her to give her maiden to Jacob.
Genesis 30:7–8 And Bilhah Rachel's maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son.
And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali. With this second child she thought she had succeeded her sister.
Genesis 30:9–11 9 When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife.
And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a son.
And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad.
Leah made the same mistake as Rachel by giving her maiden to Jacob.
Genesis 30: 12–13 And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a second son.
And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher. Leah felt like she had accomplished a lot and by this time she had total of six children.
Years later the Bible says that Reuben went into the harvest and found mandrakes. This was a herb people in ancient history gave attributes, and described it as an aphrodisiac that would give sensual desires and from there a woman would become pregnant. Rachel being superstitious proposed Leah to sleep with Jacob in exchange for the mandrakes, when Jacob arrived Leah clearly told her husband that she had hired him with her son's mandrakes so he slept with her. It seems to me that Jacob did not have any leadership he just went with the flow. Leah conceived a fifth son and his name was Issachar, and she conceived again for the sixth time and the name of this child was Zebulun. At last she had a daughter and called her Dinah. God decided to open Rachel's womb and this is when she had Joseph.
And it came to pass that Jacob wanted to move out of the house of his father in law, but Laban was trying to persuade him to stay. God wanted Jacob to return to the land of Canaan his people and He also promised him to be with him. When it was time for Jacob to depart with his family, Laban was missing his idols, and he went into Leah, and the two maiden servants; and they were not there. He then went into Rachel's, and she had just put them into the camel’s furniture and sat on them. She told her father that she could not get down from the camel because she was in the customs of the woman. Right here the Bible tells us that she was a lier and that she was into idols.
Years later, Rachel gave birth to another son, and as her soul was departing she named him Benjamin. She died at such a young age in Epharath which is now Bethlehem. Her desire to become a mother is what ended up taking her life.
What we do see from Leah is that she was a woman focused on the Lord. Her marriage started with what she lacked (love from her husband) but her determination was always to praise the Lord. God rewarded her by giving her children, we have the example of Levi from where the lineage of the priests came and Judah where the Messiah comes from.
Raquel's characteristics were: beautiful, loved, envious, selfish, superstitious, a liar ...
Lea's characteristics were: tender eyed, woman of faith, she sought the Lord in prayer, loyal to her husband, fought for the love of her husband...
Conclusion: Many times, we make mistakes and think that we will find contentment in the material stuff, in the children or, a husband. But there is an empty space that every human being has, that only the Lord can fill.
12 Children of Israel plus Dinah
1. Reuben – (Behold a Son) Leah's son
2. Simeon – (God Hears) Leah's son
3. Levi – (Joined) Leah's son
4. Judah – (Let Him [God] be Praised) Leah's son
5. Dan – (Judge) Rachel's maiden was the mother
6. Nephtali – (Contender) (Rachel's maiden was the mother
7. Gad – (Fortune) Leah's maiden was the mother
8. Asher – (Happy) Leah's maiden was the mother
9. Issachar – (Man of Hire) Leah's son
10. Zebulum – (Dwelling) Leah's son
11. Dinah – (Justice) Leah's daughter
12. Joseph – ( May God Add)Rachel's son
13 Benjamin – (Son of the Right Hand) Rachel's son
I have added some verses down below for those who are not sure if heaven is your future home. Please share with me if you accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior through this post. I will be happy to rejoice with you!
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.