Who wants to read a story filled with betrayal, deception, jealousy, polygamy and extortion? These look like characteristics that would come from a soap opera or a harlequin novel. But no, this comes from the Bible. The focus of this story will be about Leah in Genesis 29.
Leah was the first wife of Jacob. She was also the oldest daughter of Laban (Jacob’s uncle) and the older sister to Rachel, Jacob’s second wife. The name Leah means “wild cow” or “gazelle” in Hebrew. The only physical characteristic we were given of her is she was tender eyed.
In an act of deception, Leah was given to Jacob by her father, Laban, rather than Rachel – who Jacob was promised to marry. Did Leah have any choice in the matter? Perhaps Leah was being obedient to her father or maybe she also loved Jacob. In verse 26, Laban defended his deception because of the local custom: It is not so done in our place, to give the younger before the first-born. This was not something Jacob was informed of in advance. Especially after living there for seven years, Jacob would have been familiar with this custom, if there really was such; thus it may have been just a lie on Laban’s part. Nevertheless, for Jacob it was irony, since the issue of the firstborn and birthright now entered in as it did with him and Esau.