Reflection: Genesis 29
It tells the poignant story of Jacob’s family. Having angered his brother, Esau, Jacob fled to Padda-aram, his mother’s ancestral home. At the well, he met beautiful Rachel and connected with his clan. It was love at first sight. In contrast to her sister Leah, Rachel was lovely in form. Jacob negotiated with Laban, his uncle, for her hand in marriage in exchange for seven years of work. In due course, Laban hosted a grand feast for his daughter, Rachel.
I was so excited. Father told me during the dinner celebration for my younger sister’s betrothal, to dress up in my wedding best. He was going to give me away too. I was so envious that Rachel was getting married before me. But I was resigned to that as she’s the attractive one, and is always getting stared at by men. I grudgingly accepted that I might be living with father for the rest of my life. Oh, the thought that father would find me someone to marry just as soon, was too good to be true.
“In the morning, behold, it was Leah!”
I awakened first, and I looked at my beloved. My heart missed a beat. It was Jacob! Where was Rebecca? How did I get into his bed? And last night…? Oh, what am I going to do? Father will kill me! How did this happen? Did father make a mistake? Suddenly, he stirred but still in a daze, he looked at me cursorily and looked away. Then he swung around and starred at me in shock. He sprung out of bed and yelled, “What are doing here? Where is Rachel?” I had no answer. I started to sob as my whole body shook. He rushed out of the room calling after Rachel. I was certain he would loathe me! I am not the one he loves. I was devastated. I felt betrayed.
While Rachel was barren, I bore him three sons; Reuben, Simeon, and Levi, and yet he still showered his attention on my sister. Oh God, what else can I do? I have cried to you as you have seen my affliction, you know how unloved I have been, and how I longed that he be devoted to me. Is this too much to ask? My longings for him are genuine, and yet I feel used by this man who is my husband. My heart is broken beyond repair. Lord, I have no tears left. How long am I to pretend that we are a happy family? The whole village knows how fond he is of Rachel. I can see the pity for me in their eyes, when I walk past them, as I am often on my own.
No, this cannot go on. I have allowed myself to be filled with jealousy and bitterness long enough, and I am reaching the point of not being able to feel anything anymore, because it hurts so much. Lord, I beg you, help me! Save me!
My God, thank you for precious little Judah. Now I realize that you have been faithful to me all this while. You are indeed devoted to me, you have loved me, and you have now blessed me four times. Forgive me for being utterly obsessed with my own desires. You are the only one who can satisfy my deepest longings. Lord, I take my hopes off Jacob, and place them on you.
Cradling Judah in my arms, with Rueben, Simeon, Levi, and my maid, Zilpah beside me, tears of relief and joy welled up in my eyes as I pondered God’s unceasing attention over me. I praise you Lord of heaven and earth.