Leah was the daughter of Laban, who was the brother of Rebekah and uncle of Jacob. Leah’s father tricked Jacob into marrying her so she felt very unloved, especially since Jacob was known to be in love with her sister, Rachel (whom he also married). In this passage we see Leah being blessed with children. Now we need to remember that while in our culture not being able to have children is seen as a medical condition, in their culture, not having children meant you were disgraced, useless or even cursed! So being able to have children was a huge blessing to Leah. In this section we see Leah have 4 sons in a row. A huge blessing indeed! But most interesting to me is the names she gave them and the change we see in her focus.
Her first son was named Reuben which basically means “see, a son.” Leah believed that now Jacob would lover her because she gave him an heir. The second son she named Simeon which means something like “one who hears” meaning God heard her desired to be loved by her husband. The third was named Levi which sounds like the Hebrew for “attached” (hoping Jacob would finally be attached to her) and the finally the fourth she named Judah. Judah means “praise.” With the birth of her first 3 sons Leah was focused on winning the love of her husband, but by the time she had Judah her focus had changed. She was praising God because He loved her. The thing we can learn from Leah is that while there is very little we can do to change the feelings of people, we can be content with the knowledge that our heavenly father loves us and that is enough!!
Discuss with your child how hard it is when someone chooses not be our friend. Discuss that moving on is usually best, but Jesus with always be ready to be the best friend ever!