Rachel and Leah – a tale of two sisters

originally posted by Steven P. Wickstrom

In Genesis chapter 27, Jacob had already swindled his brother Esau out of the birthright, and now he had deceitfully taken away the blessing of their father Isaac. Esau, having been double-crossed twice, was so angry that he was preparing to kill Jacob. When their mother, Rebekah, found out about Esau’s plans, she convinced Isaac to send Jacob up to the city of Haran where her brother Laban lived to find a wife. Jacob left home, headed north east, found Laban and became employed as one of Laban’s workers.

Laban had two daughters; the older daughter was named Leah, and the younger daughter was named Rachel. Rachel had the body of a goddess and the face of a super-model. Leah is simply described as having “weak” eyes. (The word “weak” is often translated as “tender” in the Old Testament. It does not denote a defect, but instead, describes the quality of gentleness.) Jacob immediately fell head over heels in love with Rachel. He told Laban that he would work seven years for Laban and as payment, he would get to marry Rachel. Both men shook hands on the deal.

At the end of the seven years, Laban swindled Jacob by switching Leah for Rachel towards the end of the marriage ceremony. Jacob thought he was spending the night with Rachel, but Laban had cunningly substituted Leah in her place. It is important to realize that women during this time frame were treated as property. Since marriages were arranged, the wishes of a daughter were not taken into consideration. Since both Leah and Rachel were under Laban’s authority, they had to do what they were told. I don’t think either daughter wanted to go along with the deception, but they were given no choice. They were not allowed to say “no.”

c o n t i n u e . .

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