Day 15: Leah Feels Unloved

Genesis 29:1-35 Jacob, who had deceived Esau out of his birthright, became the victim of deception himself when Laban gave his daughter Leah to Jacob instead of Rachel as had been agreed. Honorably, Jacob agreed to serve Laban another seven years and was then given Rachel in marriage a week later. Hated: The word here does not mean “strong dislike”; rather, it is a comparative term denoting that Jacob preferred Rachel to Leah. When God saw this, he blessed Leah, who conceived the firstborn child. With God’s blessing, Leah continued to bear children for Jacob, but Rachel was barren. Jewish tradition and the Church today see large families as a blessing from God; however, the prevailing view at the time considered barrenness as a sign of God’s disfavor, and, thus, Leah’s fertility gave her a certain superiority over Rachel. (CCC 2373)

Ch 29:4 Brothers: Jacob’s use of the term “brothers” to identify fellow tribesmen indicates the broad definition of the term in biblical times. (CCC 500)

Ch 30:1-24 Like Sarah and Rebekah, Rachel suffered from an apparent inability to conceive children. Following the tradition of the day, which included polygamy, Rachel gave her servant to Jacob to bear a child for her as a surrogate. Such children born in that custom were considered the children of the wife rather than of the servant. Although such practices are objectively evil and morally disordered, the people of those times were IGNORANT of the totality of moral law and, thus, had very little or no culpability for the sinfulness of such acts. Throughout the Old Testament, God GRADUALLY formed his Chosen People in the truths of NATURAL LAW. (CCC 1610, 1645, 2374)

Ch 30:25-43 God’s plan and his providence work in a marvelous fashion for those who seek to do his will. Jacob worked honestly for the deceitful Laban and helped him to grow wealthy. Laban however, tried to trick Jacob after making an agreement to give him a share of his flock. Jacob then turned the tables on Laban and became more prosperous than his father-in-law. (CCC 312)

Job 19:25a I know that my Redeemer lives: This reference is about someone who would save Job from his suffering; moreover, it signifies that someone in Heaven would be his advocate. If someone were wronged by being cheated or sold into slavery, the offended person’s nearest relative would be called to reacquire the stolen property or redeem the person from slavery. Though Job displayed displeasure with God, he now looked upon God as his redeemer (in Hebrew, goel) who would rescue him. It is clear that Job recognized that God could permit him to suffer but could also alleviate his suffering. (CCC 431, 605)

Ch 19:25b At last he will stand upon the earth: The Latin Vulgate translation reads, “In the last day I shall rise out of the earth.” Because of this more specific wording, Church tradition has long interpreted this passage as affirming a belief in the RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD at the end of the world. (CCC 992)

Ch 19:26 The Latin Vulgate reads, “I shall be clothed again with my skin, and in my flesh I shall see my God.” Metaphorically, this passage refers to what the Church teaches about the resurrection on the last day, i.e., the SOULS OF THE FAITHFUL will be reunited to their respective bodies in a GLORIFIED MANNER. (CCC 997)

Ch 20:26 A fire not blown upon will devour him: Scripture often describes the punishment for sinners as a fiery torment. From the time of Christ, fire has been the primary image of Hell; the REAL PAIN OF HELL, however, is ETERNAL SEPARATION FROM GOD coupled with the REALIZATION that this separation was brought about by ONE’S OWN FREE CHOICE. (CCC 1035)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: "Father in Heaven we give you praise for your Word. We thank you for speaking to us once again this day. We thank you for the group of people who are journeying with us, this team of people, this family of God, who seek after your Word. We listen to it attentively and we ask you to make yourself known even more fully, not merely through your Word, but also through the Spirit that works and animates in your Word. May it also animate our hearts. May it also illuminate our minds, as we come back again and again to your Word as you reveal it, as you reveal yourself to us in this Sacred Scripture. We give you praise for revealing your heart to us. Help us to not be afraid to reveal our hearts to you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen." 


Something Fr. Mike said about Leah’s hopes with the birth of each son really struck me: She kept giving birth in hopes for Jacob to finally love her. It takes her until her fourth child to finally gives praise to God.

The son she praises God for is Judah. And it is through Judah that Jesus Christ will come into the world. Anything else you all take away from this tiny detail?