From Genesis 29 and 30:1-24
Daniel's Sunday sermon inspired me to set the record straight!
Sisters. I never had one, but have often wished I did. Many times when I've expressed that wish to someone, they emphatically say something to the effect of, "Be glad you didn't have a sister!" While I still think it would have been neat to have had a sister, now that I have daughters of my own I have an idea of the unique complexities that present themselves between sisters.
Two well-known sisters in Bible history are Leah and Rachel. I actually had to change the title of this post, because I originally listed them, "Rachel and Leah". Isn't that the order in which they are always mentioned? Why is that? Leah was the firstborn. She also became Jacob's wife first. Upon the most casual Bible study, one realizes that she was by far the more virtuous of the two sisters. But the fact is that Rachel was the favored one, in spite of the fact that all the good we see in her is her beauty.
Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain...
It is not recorded that Jacob ever consulted the Lord in choosing a wife. Evidently, Rachel's charm and beauty were blinding to Jacob, and she maintained the facade for seven years while Jacob worked in order to gain her for his wife. Either he didn't really know her character, or he didn't care that he was marrying a spoiled brat, albeit a beautiful one.
(I know, I know, Jacob deserved her. His character wasn't exactly flawless, but that's another post.)
But take a look at Leah. "Tender-eyed," yes, but also quiet, long-suffering, and acknowledging the hand of the Lord in her life. Jehovah opened her womb and blessed her with sons. She named her children with her eye on the Lord and/or her husband. (Rachel named hers with a green eye on her sister.)
I believe Leah was God's choice wife for Jacob, and he should have been content with her, even if he was fooled by Laban into marrying her first instead of Rachel. We know that from the beginning, God created one woman for one man, and that is His perfect design.
God in His sovereignty and goodness gave Jacob the better woman. Jacob bought himself a lot of trouble when he married the second time. (That's a lesson in being content with what God gives us!) It is true that Rachel and the handmaids brought forth some of the twelve sons of Israel, but there is no doubt in my mind that God could have given all twelve tribes of Israel through Leah alone.
Setting the record straight: Though Rachel was favored by those around her, Leah was favored by Jehovah!
...But a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.