God’s love for Leah is displayed in her becoming mother to the priestly and kingly tribes, Levi and Judah. The names Leah gave her children, expressed her respect and regard, both to God and to her husband.
When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, he enabled her to have children, but Rachel could not conceive.
Genesis 29:31 (NLT)
There is no indication that it was God’s will for Jacob to have both Leah and Rachel as wives and later Zilpah and Bilhah as concubines. This was expressly forbidden later in the law (Leviticus 18:18). Yet even though this was not God’s will, the Lord took pity on Leah because Jacob wasn’t treating her right. He made her fruitful and closed the womb of Rachel to bring some balance to these relationships.
So Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “The LORD has noticed my misery, and now my husband will love me.”
Genesis 29:32 (NLT)
These scriptures don’t indicate whether Leah was complicit in the deception of Jacob. But once it was done she was in it and she did at least desire Jacob to love her. It is possible that she loved Jacob ever since he showed up at her father’s house.
She soon became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She named him Simeon, for she said, “The LORD heard that I was unloved and has given me another son.”
Genesis 29:33 (NLT)
The name Simeon means “hearing.” In this verse Leah says she was unloved. Whether that was the truth or just her perception isn’t clear. There is no indication that Jacob treated Leah badly, but his open display of a greater love for Rachel would cause jealousy.
Then she became pregnant a third time and gave birth to another son. He was named Levi, for she said, “Surely this time my husband will feel affection for me, since I have given him three sons!”
Genesis 29:34 (NLT)
The name Levi means “joined” or “attached.” Leah didn’t want just security and children. She greatly desired Jacob’s love.
Once again Leah became pregnant and gave birth to another son. She named him Judah,[a for she said, “Now I will praise the LORD!” And then she stopped having children.
Genesis 29:35 (NLT)
“Judah” means “Praise”, and out of this man comes a great tribe of Israel. This is one of the most significant praise verses in the Bible. Observe the following passages:
- Jacob (Gen 49:8-12) speaks important words over Judah, giving him the highest blessing. His brothers will praise him. He will triumph over all his enemies. Vs. 10 says Judah will have royal authority (scepter) and legal authority (lawgiver) and will bring forth the Messiah.
- Out of Judah, through David, comes the Christ, who in every action in detail is praise to the father (Luke 3:22-33).
- The tribe of Judah (Praise) let Israel through the wilderness (Num. 2:3,9).
- They led in the conquest of Canaan (Judges 1:1-19).
- Judah is the first tribe to praise David, making him king (2 Sam. 2:1-11)
The building of Jacob’s family was vitally important to God’s plan of salvation, for God would use the nation of Israel to give the world the Bible and the Redeemer. Although Rachel had great beauty, she was unable to conceive, while Leah gave birth to four sons:
- Levi, and
The Lord was in control and had a special purpose for each son.