Rachel and Leah: Would you wait 7 years?

This week, we’ve had a really romantic verse to look at in Mummy Meditations. Jacob met Rachel (the beautiful one), kissed her, and then started to work for her father. In place of his wages, Jacob suggested that he work seven years to ‘earn’ Rachel – because he had fallen in love with her.


I have to say, I kind of disapproved of last week’s verse. You can read Rachel’s write up of our discussion in her post,  but I do approve of this week’s verse. It’s romantic, and perhaps it’s a little exaggerated, but it certainly tells us that Jacob was devoted to Rachel.

We had a discussion in our Facebook group about how long we were with our husbands and partners before we got married. Some people got married within a few months; others waited years. But once the proposal had been made and the engagement made official, wedding plans were go!

Not so for Rachel and Jacob. We presume she was happy with the agreement; the Bible tells us that they had met and kissed before Jacob made the suggestion of waiting for 7 years. Jacob’s father had told him to marry one of Laban’s daughters, but Jacob himself made the suggestion of the 7 years work. But 7 years does tell you a lot about a person. It would have allowed her to really see his true character – and we know that Jacob was not always the nicest person around. But, by anyone’s standards, 7 years is a very long wait.

Jacob’s suggestion of seven years must have made her feel pretty special. If I’m honest, I don’t know if my husband would have waited seven years for me! We don’t know how old she was – perhaps she was still very young when they first met. She would have certainly been assured of his devotion to her and his love for her.

Perhaps this gave her a feeling of superiority over Leah. Rachel was the younger sister, but the beautiful one. Leah ‘should’ have been married first (this is starting to sound like Pride and Prejudice now), but yet Rachel is the one with the  devoted fiance, declaring that seven years feels like days because of his love for her. I can certainly imagine that Rachel was more than a little proud of her situation.

So, once again, poor Leah. Second best again – in looks, and now, waiting for seven years while her younger sister is betrothed to a good man. Gosh, I can imagine her bitterness and her jealousy. Can’t you hear her crying out to God, “When will there be a husband for me, Lord?” For her, seven years would be an extremely long time. Was she there, watching Jacob and wishing it was her that he loved? We can only assume so, knowing what comes later in the story.

Perhaps it’s not so romantic, after all, this part of the story. Perhaps, looking at it from Leah and Rachel’s perspective, it’s the cause of another layer of disharmony, of discontent. They had been sisters, but now a man has come between them. It’s probably a story we can all relate, at one time or another. But for Rachel and Leah, this discontent has some pretty severe consequences.

Next week, our discussion will be around the peak of this drama: The moment Jacob realises that he has married Leah, not Rachel. Our key verse will be  “So Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn’t I? Why have you deceived me?” Genesis 29:25.

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