|Dante's vision of Leah and Rachel, 1855|
New Living Translation (NLT)
I am so grateful that today's reading was the story of Jacob. I can never tire of reading about his life. I had a great deal of worry on my breakfast plate this morning, and had my reading been anything other than the story of Jacob, I may have been unable to focus. As it is, I am just now getting around to blogging about it.
There's so much in the story of Jacob I could post about. The amazing way God works to bring things into His will even when we act out of his will, (the deception regarding his brother's blessing), the unfairness of being suckered into marrying Rachel's sister first. Perhaps even more, the story of the mandrakes, and how Leah "purchased" Jacob for the night. Can you imagine how poor Jacob must have felt, coming home from the field, tired and dirty, only to see one of his wives running up to him telling him he had to perform sexual favors for her that night because she had bought him with some mandrakes? And to think, people often think women were treated as chattel back then. Men weren't always treated any better!
But I decided to write about Leah's attitude, instead. Not the demanding attitude after the mandrakes, but the attitude of unfailing hope. She wasn't loved by Jacob. I suspect he resented her for more than one reason... He never wanted to marry her in the first place, then she's the one that keeps having kids, while the wife he loves is barren. Year after year, Leah kept giving birth to sons. And with each new bouncing baby boy, Leah came up with a name that expressed hope that this new child would be what would make her husband finally love her.
Of course, it never worked. He was good to her, but it was out of duty, not out of love. Still, she never gave up. And her hope wasn't placed in her son, it was always placed in God. Each new baby was a blessing from God, a gift to bring her joy, and a hope of loving affection.
As sad as it is, I have to admire her for that constant hope. She never gave up.