Through their eyes

A reflection on some Bible stories. By Bukky Ajaks.

How to survive a loveless marriage.

Leah : The story of a young woman’s journey through life told through the names of her sons. From unloved teenager to honoured mother and burial in the family grave.

Leah had a hard time. She was the older sister to beautiful Rachel. Okay so Leah had lovely eyes, but what good were they if no one ever got near enough to see them? All everyone ever saw was her beautiful, vivacious younger sister Rachel. Their long lost cousin Jacob was such a great cook and extremely hard-working. He would make a fine husband for one lucky woman. No favours for guessing which cousin he would chose. He only had eyes for Rachel. Like all the other suitors who came calling, once they set eyes on Rachel, Leah might as well be invisible! If only their father, Laban wouldn’t keep insisting on Leah getting married first. So, traditionally the older sister did so before the younger one, but Rachel and Jacob were always mooning over each other. Did Leah really need to be made to compete with that?

This had to be the worst week of her life! Not only had her father embarrassingly deceived Jacob into marrying Leah by tricking him into spending the night with her. Now she and sister would be getting married to the same man within a week of each other. She might as well not have bothered with the tradition of her bridal week. Jacob obviously had his mind preoccupied with other thoughts! Thoughts of a beautiful young lady called Rachel, the love of his life. Not only had he worked the last seven years for their Dad to win Rachel’s hand in marriage. Now he had got Leah instead, he had promised Dad to work another seven years for him to win Rachel, again! It would have been a romantic story if only Leah wasn’t the third wheel stuck in the middle of this impossible love triangle.

Reuben. ‘God has seen my trouble’. God sees! Her beautiful baby boy. She had a son. Someone loved her unconditionally! His adoring eyes sought only hers. His chubby grin widened especially every time he set those piercing eyes on her. Could she love anyone as much as she loved her tiny baby boy. Yes! Simeon! ‘God has heard’ her. God hears. God sees and God hears. Another lovely boy all of her own. Now Leah would not have to compete in vain for a man’s attention. Not her dad’s, not a suitor’s, not even her otherwise pre-occupied husband’s attention. She had her sons to love her who loved her back. Levi! ‘To be close to’! Now Jacob would surely grow close to her since she had three strapping sons for him, right?

Praise God! Judah. ‘Praise’! Another son for her. This time, Leah was going to praise God. He loved her unconditionally. It didn’t matter that her husband would always love her little sister instead of her. God loved her. He saw her situation, he heard her cries, and he gave her these four gorgeous sons. What else could a woman ask for?

After all these years, to be blessed with two more sons! Issachar. ‘Paid for’. What a reward! Having her fifth son felt like a reward for all those years of patience in this relationship. His younger brother she named Zebulun. ‘Honour’. Leah would be forever honoured in her household. The proud and happy mother of six wonderful boys. Don’t forget their pretty little sister, Dinah. Leah felt complete. She felt replete. She did not have the passionate love of her husband but she had her family. She had honour and respect. She was well provided for. She had the unswerving love and devotion of her strong young lads and her gorgeous little girl. She had an amazing family. She knew God loved her. Leah lived to a ripe old age and was buried in a place of honour when she died, alongside her famous relatives Abraham and Sarah.


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