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Lessons from Leah, Jacob's First Wife in the Bible

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.


Jacob Married Two Sisters

Leah was Jacob's first wife. However, that was not Jacob's choice. He was tricked into marrying Leah when he thought he was marrying her younger sister whom he loved.

Jacob had worked seven years for Laban, who had promised Jacob that he could marry Rachel. On the wedding day, the woman Jacob married was Leah. He did not know it was her because she was covered from head to toe.

After they were officially married Laban explained that his older daughter should be married first. Because Jacob loved Rachel so much, he agreed to work another seven years for her. In the meantime, Laban allowed Jacob to marry Rachel after Leah completed her honeymoon.

Leah was Jacob's first wife, but he loved Rachel, his second wife more.

When Leah tricked Jacob into marrying her, she entered into a loveless marriage. Even though she was married to Jacob, she knew he didn't love her.

Jacob loved Rachel who was barren. Because Leah was fertile, she used her fertility as leverage to get Jacob to love her. She thought by giving Jacob what Rachel couldn't would make Jacob pay attention to her. However, that didn't work.


Leah Used Her Fertility as Leverage

God saw that Leah was unloved. He opened her womb as a consolation. Leah was fertile while Rachel was barren. Therefore, Leah thought she had the upper hand when she began giving Jacob children. Their names sent messages to Jacob.

The firstborn son was named Reuben. His name means "to see." Leah was crying out to Jacob to SEE her. Jacob did not see her.

The second son was named Simeon. His name means "to hear." Whenever Leah called Simeon's name, she was crying out to Jacob to HEAR her. Jacob did not hear Leah.

Leah had a third son, and she named him Levi, meaning "to be joined to" or "to be connected with." She wanted her husband to CONNECT WITH HER, but he didn't.

None of the messages of the first three names worked. She couldn't get Jacob to see her, to hear her, or to connect with her. Therefore Leah had to change her strategy.

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Leah used a different method when she had a fourth son. Instead of trying to get Jacob to pay attention to her, Leah turned to God for help. She named her son Judah which means "let Jehovah be praised."

Biblical records show that the first three sons were bypassed. It was through the tribe of Judah whose name means "praise" that Jesus was born.

Leah couldn't get Jacob to care for her; so she found fulfillment in praising God. After the fourth son was born, God closed up Leah's womb for a while so that she could praise Him instead of trying to get Jacob's attention the only way she could.

Leah's ChildrenMeaning


"to see"


"to hear"


"to connect with"


"let Jehovah be praised"


"God has rewarded me"


"precious gift"

Daughter Dinah

"judged" and "vindicated"

God Opened Leah's Womb Again

Leah continued to praise God while she wasn't having children. Later, God opened up her womb and she had two more sons.

When the fifth son was born, he was named Issachar that means "God has rewarded me."

When the sixth son was born, he was named Zebulun meaning "precious gift."

Leah received her REWARD with Issachar. She received her precious GIFT with Zebulun only after she began praising God after Judah was born.

Leah gave Jacob six sons and a daughter named Dinah whose name means "judged" and "vindicated."


Lessons from Leah

There are some valuable lessons we should learn from Leah.

Leah was trying to get Jacob to see her, hear her and connect with her to no avail. It was only after she began praising God that she was rewarded and given a precious gift.

Leah showed us how to save ourselves a lot of heartaches if we would get in the habit of praising God instead of trying to get a man to give us what we need.

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