Rachel and Leah (Old Testament Character Study) by Douglas Jacoby


R4E130930 – Rachel and Leah (Old Testament Character Study) by Douglas Jacoby

You can download the full audiobook recording on qobuz or amazon or itunes.

Hebrew words:

  • Rakhel (Rachel)
    • Sounds like “ewe.”
    • Appears 47x in the Bible (all but once in the O.T.).
    • She bore Jacob two sons, Joseph and Benjamin.
  • Le’ah (Leah)
    • Sounds like “weary.” It is less likely it means “dull” or “wild cow.”
    • Interpreters often suggest her eyes lacked luster.
    • Appears 34x in the O.T.
    • She bore Jacob six sons and one daughter (Dinah).
  • Yosef (Joseph, pronounced “yo-SAFE”) — may he add / increase

Further study:

  • Genesis:
    • Excerpts used in the podcast: 29:23-24, 31; 30:1-3, 22-24; 31:14-20; 33:1-2; 35:16-19; 48:7.
    • Broader sections: Genesis 28-31, 33, 35, 48
    • 28 and 24 — going back to the people of God when seeking a spouse.
  • Other passages cited:
    • The Shulammite: Song of Songs 1:8, 6:13.
    • Leviticus 18:18: Mosaic law forbade (simultaneously) marrying sisters.

Some things we learn about God:

  • God blesses those who marry within the faith.
  • God’s plan is monogamous marriage. Polygamy does not work, and only leads to great dysfunction.
  • Superstitions are vain. God is the one in control. He cannot be controlled by magic.
  • Those the Lord has chosen to bless do not always have the smoothest relationships — even (especially?) within their own families.
  • The objects of our prayers often have a high price tag. Be careful what you pray for!
  • With the Lord, it isn’t just quantity, but quality. Though Leah had seven children, and Rachel only two, these two gave rise to:
    • The first king of Israel and his N.T. namesake, Saul of Tarsus.
    • A man, Joseph, whose sons’ descendants would not only constitute a plurality within Israel, but who himself would save his brothers, father, and in fact millions. Moreover, there are numerous parallels between Joseph and Christ.

For kids (devotional discussion):

  • Share some selective readings, e.g. from chapters 28, 29, and 30.
  • Talk about the two sisters. What were they like? How were they different? How was their relationship?
  • Explain that they both wanted children, and jealously competed with each other. What do you want? Is there a toy, privilege, or anything else you very much want? How do your siblings compete with you (and vice-versa)?
  • What makes us happier: sharing, or wanting it all for ourselves?
  • Explain that mothers sometimes die in giving birth. Read 35:16-19. Ask how Jacob felt, and then read 48:7.
  • In what ways should we want to be like Rachel? (This is a good question for girls, and even for boys.) Focus on her character.

Key verses:

  • 29:20 — Her husband loved her deeply. See also 48:7.
  • 30:1 — “Give me children, or I die!”

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