Leah: from Struggle to Praise

Verlyn Verbrugge

READ : Genesis 29:15-35

[Leah] conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the Lord”;

therefore she named him Judah. (29:35 NRSV)

Leah was in a loveless marriage. Her husband, Jacob, had been tricked into marrying
her, and he resented his father-in-law for his deceitful schemes and Leah for going along
with them (as if she had a choice!). All of Jacob’s love was poured into Rachel, Leah’s
younger sister. Whatever intimate relations Jacob and Leah had were loveless, perfunctory,
and routine.

Yet God opened Leah’s womb so that she bore children, the goal of any married woman in
biblical times. The names she gave them reflected her broken heart: Reuben: “surely now my
husband will love me.” Simeon: “the Lord has heard that I am hated.” Levi: “Now this time
my husband will be joined to me.” How sad!

When she bore her fourth son, however, Leah realized she would never win Jacob’s love
and that she had to place her hope in the Lord. So she named this son Judah, which means
“Praise.” Through Judah would run the line of God’s promise, which means that Leah, not
Rachel, was the many times great-grandmother of Christ.

Leah discovered that if we depend on other people to make us happy, we will be
disappointed; but if we depend on God, he will never fail us or forsake us. In him alone
is true joy.


Lord God, I praise you for who you are and for your unfailing love for me.