Hebrew names are important. A baby’s name was often chosen deliberately. It could be a prophetic declaration of sorts. It may have been given as a result of some occurrence. Sometimes a person’s name was changed to indicate a change in his or her future life. God had been working on His plan to keep His covenant with Abraham and it meant that babies had to be born.
Surely the man would have been pleased to have an heir, but no! Rachel was still his favorite and Leah relegated to the back room of the house. In her teary nights, Leah would have cried out to God and again bears a son who she called Simeon. His name (שִׁמְעוֹן) comes from the Hebrew word Shema (שָׁמַע) that means hear. God heard her! Let me tell you that God hears your cry! The call of a rightoues person never falls on deaf ears.
Shortly afterwards, she has another son and called him Levi (לֵוִי). This is significant. Surely, she reasoned, now that I have given him a third son, Jacob will become more attached to me. It is significant because the name comes from another word that means to attach. It is Yelave (יִלָּוֶה), but no, Jacob still does not give her the proper attention she deserved.
The friction in the home persisted. Leah still cannot set aside the rivalry that existed between the two women and ease the frustration she had with an uncaring husband. If he were a pastor today, I sure would not like to buy his books on how to have a good marriage.
She now has a fourth son and this time it is all different. This time, Leah praised God for her son. I wonder if she had grown weary of crying out to God to make that man love me and give me attention. I wonder if she had adopted a different attitude to life in general. I say that, because it is easy for us to fall into a trap of complaining about our lot. Rather than asking God to change that other person, or to get me out of this place I am in, we could adopt an attitude of, “This is where I am. This is what I have got. This is where God put me and I am going to make the most of it”.
You have been put to no test but such as is common to man: and God is true, who will not let any test come on you which you are not able to undergo; but he will make with the test a way out of it, so that you may be able to go through it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
I am convinced that something happened to Leah. Perhaps she saw herself as God sees her. Perhaps she “got over it”.
Whatever it was, she had another son and gave him a name that affects us now.
She called this son Yehuda (יְהוּדָה), coming from the Hebrew word than means praise.
I know someone who came from this line and He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah!
Even to this day, the people of Israel call themselves Yehudim or, Sons of Judah. I have Jewish blood and have been trying with great difficulty in tracing my family lineage. All that I can discover so far is that my ancestors migrated to South Australia in the convict era. No convicts came to South Australia and my ancestors apparently had a cattle property near Clare. This may explain why I am the way I am “and it is all Leah‘s fault!” Ha!
I only share that to illustrate that things that may affect you or me at some time in our lives can have a meaning or a root cause, so it behooves us to check it out if we can.
This is not the end of the story. I was about to bring this to a conclusion, when the Lord showed me something I had never seen like this before.
Once Leah had given birth to Judah, she had menopause. The bible says that she gave up childbearing, so if that is not menopause, I do not know what else it could be.
Now there are two stories involved. Rachel also has one as we see here.
Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she became jealous of her sister; and she said to Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.” Genesis 30:1
In the following verses, we see that Rachel had big problems with Leah and, still unable to have children, gave her servant to Jacob according to custom and her servant bore children. Leah then gave her servant to Jacob.
There is a series of births in the chapter until something happened.
In verses 16-21, Leah suddenly became fertile again!
She had already ceased childbearing, so something happened and she gave birth to Issachar, Zebulun and Dinah. See verses 16-21.
Suddenly, Rachel’s prayers were answered and she had Joseph.
You may well ask, “What is all this about?”
I am glad you did. Joseph was needed to bring God’s promise to Abraham into reality.
This series of events took many twists and turns, including supernatural intervention by God into the lives of men.
Perhaps our Leah had to go through all that stuff for this purpose. Leah was important. So too were those other women, but Leah—the forgotten one; the one who slept in the back room more often than not; who was treated like so many goods and chattels; who was despised and rejected; the “ugly”one played a vital part in the plan of God. Another meaning for her name is weary. You may have grown weary in life, waiting for God’s promise; waiting for acceptance, or fulfilment or some other thing, but if Leah was blessed more than her sister, your testing and waiting will produce better fruit..
God has a plan for you and He is working on it right now, but it may have to have some working out in the process.
We are coming into an era when things are changing. There have been people who have been prominent and there have been people who have been a Leah and you could be one of them. There are people in the church who have had their glory and time in the limelight and those who have been mistreated, misunderstood, abused and misused—and you could be one of them.
In closing therefore, let me encourage you. The best is yet to come....
Until we meet again