Ember & I just finished a study on Rachel & Leah. It was so exciting to me---I learned things I'd never thought about or heard before. Here are a few highlights from my notes.
1. Tradition teaches that Rachel & Leah may have been twins. Isn't that interesting? It explains why Jacob could have been confused with the great switch-off--they were the same size. Tradition also suggests that Rachel may have clued Jacob in on how deceptive and manipulative her father was. It says that they came up with a code so Jacob would know he was marrying Rachel. But Rachel, knowing her father was determined to marry Leah off first, gave the code to her sister to save her from great public humiliation. And then (get this!), Rachel snuck under the wedding bed so she could answer Jacob--so he wouldn't be surprised by Leah's voice.
2. Rachel was jealous of Leah. Leah was jealous of Rachel. They each wanted what the other had. Rachel wanted children and Leah wanted the love of her husband. You can see that Leah finds her peace in the progression of her children's names. She names her 4th son Judah---giving praise to God. She is the first person in the Bible mentioned who praises or thanks God. I believe that Leah overcame her jealousy and wanted a relationship with her sister and the 2 maids they'd given to Jacob to have children. She names Zilpah's 2nd son, Asher, for she said, "What joy is mine! Now the other women will celebrate with me." It's also interesting that Rachel died in childbirth--the very thing she coveted.
3. The lineage of Christ came through Leah--not Rachel, the beloved wife. Jacob was also buried with Leah, not Rachel. Leah was buried with all of the patriarchs and matriarchs.
4. Rachel died as a result of the curse that Jacob spoke. He cursed whoever stole the idol from Laban. I thought it was so interesting reading what the Rabbis had to say about this issue. I read dozens of Rabbi's websites and there wasn't even a question about this point. They all agreed.
We had so many questions through this study. Did Rachel feel cherished? Or was she so consumed with wanting a child that she never embraced Jacob's love? Did she become less beautiful to him because of her complaining spirit? Did he grow to love Leah? How did Bilhah and Zilpah feel? Used?? Would Rachel's prayers for children have been answered sooner if she had been content? Why did Rachel steal her father's idol? Did it bring security to her? Was she protecting her father from idol worship as some Rabbis suggested? Did it remind her of her mother? Did she do it to spite her father? And did Rachel ditch that idol or continue to hide it? Why did God allow the lineage of Christ to come through Leah?
But Ember & I agreed that the greatest lesson we gained from Rachel and Leah was this: Quit complaining. Learn to be content with what you have. Quit longing for what others have. And look for reasons to give God thanks. In fact, we've agreed to fast from complaining for a month in hopes of starting a new lifestyle. Want to join us?