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)

  • Job has 3 friends (and a 4th who shows up later on)

  • They “know” that Job must have done something wrong

  • Every time they speak, they’re essentially saying “Yo, Job, be honest with us now. Tell us for real. You either think you’re righteous but you’re not. Or you’ve rebelled against God and you’re hiding it from us.”

  • Job says “I don’t know what to tell you. It seems like God is my enemy. It seems like God is not on my side. It seems like I served Him and now he doesn’t care about me.”

  • We will come out of this at some point

  • What happens with Job is he’s HONEST

  • His friends are doing their best to be honest

  • God is going to have words for his friends that they did not represent Job in the way that they SHOULD HAVE (stay tuned…..)

  • It is important to highlight what is happening with Jacob, Leah, Rachel, and Laban

  • It is mess upon mess upon mess

  • It is good for us to understand that here is the family from where Jesus came

  • All this brokenness

  • All these messes

  • All this dirtiness

  • Laban tries to trick Jacob with the goats

  • Jacob retaliates by manipulating the goats to his advantage (breeding them)

  • Even worse is the deception that Laban commits involving Leah and Rachel

  • Leah had weak eyes (maybe she wasn’t so easy on the eyes is one interpretation)

  • Rachel was beautiful and had Jacob’s heart

  • Sometimes the Bible SHOWS us instead of TELLS us some things and in this reading, it shows:

  1. Laban tells Jacob it isn’t how things work in OUR land to give the younger what belongs to the older. Jacob TOOK what belonged to the older, Esau. Scripture shows us that Jacob is used to getting his way by deception and here is his uncle getting what he wants through deception of his own (pulling a Jacob in a sense)

  2. The painful thing that happens is to Leah. Rachel is loved by Jacob. Leah is the one who is TOLERATED by her husband

  • So many people have wounds like this whether it be with their spouse, their parents, their children, or even their lives

  • Sometimes the people in our lives that we think should love us just tolerate us

  • People sometimes envision God as only TOLERATING them instead of TRULY LOVING THEM

  • GEN 29:31---->”When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben; for she said, “Because the Lord has looked upon my affliction; surely now my husband will love me.”

  • She says something similar with the second son, Simeon

  • She says something similar with the third son, Levi

  • Every son she thought, “Now my husband will love me. Now my husband will be joined to me. Now my husband will stop hating me.”

  • She thought what she could do would make herself more lovely and lovable to her husband, Jacob

  • So many of us fall into a similar trap

  • “If I do this, it will make myself more lovable”

  • With the birth of her fourth son, Judah, Leah has given up trying to make her husband love her

  • She instead said, “This time I will praise the Lord.”

  • That is what the name Judah means, “Praise the Lord”

  • It doesn’t end there unfortunately

  • They trade mandrakes to have access to their husband’s bed

  • Mandrakes are an herb whose root was thought to promote conception (*NABRE 3rd ed Catholic Study Bible)

  • This is BROKENNESS

  • God will work through all of this brokenness

  • Being unloved or Being hated

  • What a mess this is, and yet, so are our lives

  • It is extremely rare that ANYONE has a completely clean life that is super simple, super clear, and super easy

  • Even those that are being used by God to build His Kingdom, it is incredibly rare to find a person that doesn’t have a messy life

  • It’s so rare in fact, that it might not even exist

  • The brokenness is why we keep coming back to The Bible

  • The brokenness is why we keep being a part of this community

  • Our lives MIRROR the lives of the people in The Bible

  • If our lives mirror their lives at the end of the story where there is glory and honor being given to God and where there is holiness, it is ok to recognize that right now there is brokenness that God can still use for our salvation

  • Only 350 days to go ;)

  • Please pray for Fr Mike and for each other

  • You are not alone in your brokenness

  • You are not alone in your grief

  • You are not alone in your sorrow

  • You are not alone when you feel unloved


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?