Gleanings of Wheat: A Blog dedicated to cooking, kids, and Christ

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Genesis 29-30 Reflections

Every time I read the story of Leah, Jacob, and Rachel I end up feeling sad for Leah. She's the older of the two sisters, hasn't managed to find a husband yet, and when she finally does get married it is done in trickery to a man who doesn't love her. Sure, poor Jacob and Rachel have had to wait seven years in order to be able to be married and then have a fast one pulled on them by Laban thereby forcing Jacob to subject himself to service for another seven years - but I have a soft spot for Leah.

Once the dust settles and Jacob sets up shop with his two wives the girls seem to engage in a baby making race. God takes pity on Leah and she becomes pregnant while Rachel remains barren. Leah brings forth a son, and rather than glorifying God for this blessing she seems to think that she can purchase Jacob's affections (29:32). Her next son, Simeon, seems to display some growth in her as she declares "Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also" (29:33)

Two sons later Leah seems to finally get it, finally no mention of her husband's treatment toward her, no mention of getting his attention by popping out tons of sons, just simple worship. It is a beautiful moment of clarity.

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. (29:35)

Of course things are never simple, especially with two wives; Jacob soon finds himself in the midst of a birthing contest. I can't say I much understand why he would give into this insanity, but sure enough he "goes into" Rachel's handmaid. She eventually bears him two sons which inspires Leah to send Jacob her handmaid, and amazingly he displays a complete lack of common sense and sleeps with her as well. As if two wives weren't bad enough! Did he forget the strife Abraham went through with Sarah and Hagar?

Oh the craziness.