… Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah… Genesis 29:30b
Over the years Hallmark Cards have sponsored some quality television programming through their showcase Hallmark Hall of Fame and I have enjoyed many of their productions. One produced several years ago was entitled Loving Leah. Leah was of the Orthodox Jewish faith, the young widow of a rabbi and a woman caught between honoring tradition and living in the modern world. Her brother-in-law, a physician and non-practicing Jew, was expected to provide offspring for his deceased brother via Levirate marriage. He had compassion on Leah and in time he comes to admire her beauty and fine qualities. And that is enough of a spoiler for this delightful film entitled Loving Leah.
Leah, in the Old Testament book of Genesis, is an older sister, not as beautiful as her younger one, Rachel, and (pardon the expression) needs to be unloaded as a wife to an unsuspecting suitor by her deceitful father, Laban. Into this situation walks a schemer himself, Jacob, who is a man on-the-run after having stolen his older brother Esau’s birthright and blessing from his aged and blind father, Isaac. Laban consents to give Jacob Rachel’s hand in marriage once he has worked for him for seven years. Once that service is rendered, Laban tricks Jacob into marrying Leah and then forces him to work another seven years to obtain the hand of the entrancing Rachel. Jacob was a man with two wives and a big problem.
The scripture does not say that Jacob did not love Leah, but it states clearly that he loved Rachel more than Leah. It would not have mattered if Leah cooked for him just like his mother Rebekah did. It would not have mattered if Leah gave Jacob a back rub … laundered and mended his clothes … and kept the tidiest of houses. Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah and nothing she could do was going to change that relationship. Even when Leah gave Jacob three sons and Rachel had yet to conceive, Jacob still loved Rachel more! Poor Leah … a pawn in her father’s hand, a second fiddle player to her younger sister, and an unloved wife!
O God, we cannot say why Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah. What we do see is how hurt Leah was and how much she loved Jacob and how she could not do anything to change that situation. Help us always to show a steadfast love to those dearest to us. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.