The most glorious thing is to be loved by a man, according to my mother. But what if a man doesn’t love a woman?
I shivered as the veil was slipped on my head. My father was using me to deceive Jacob. Explaining how this was best for everyone. Everyone but her that is. It was her duty to follow her father’s plan. Even at the cost of herself.
My wishes didn’t matter, it was all about the beautiful one and her father’s desire to trick Jacob. Poor pitiful Leah, isn’t she sweet. Always compliant and willing to do whatever was asked of her. As if she had a choice. Betrayed by my own father.
From the moment Jacob walked into our camp, I fell. Hard. He was handsome if you liked the rugged type. Being the eldest daughter has its advantages. For a brief moment I thought I had a chance until I saw his face as he looked at Rachel. It was clear he only had eyes for the beautiful one.
I became a pawn believing I could make Jacob love me. Giving him all of me in hopes of gaining his love. Naïve I know. My sister may be the beautiful one, but I was the devoted one. I was selfless and she the selfish.
Darkness descended after a long day of celebration. It was time. My heart pounded in my chest with the anticipation of becoming Jacob’s wife. As I stepped into the tent reality set in as Jacob whispered Rachel’s name. It took everything in me to keep silent as he kissed me and declared his passion. Not waiting for my body to be ready he took me with one goal. Release.
Tears streamed down my face as he proclaimed his love for the beautiful one. I vowed to make him love me. So I whispered back my love for him as we made love once again slowly. He took his time to awaken love as he caressed and kissed me. Desire welled up within as I gave myself to him with abandonment, knowing after this night he would be mine.
It was not to be. Startled awake by the sound of my name…
My heart shattered at the look on his face as he ran out of the tent yelling for my father. “How could you do this to me? I worked seven long years for Rachel! Why would you trick me?”
“Jacob. It wouldn’t be right to marry off Rachel before her sister Leah. Once the bridal week is over I will give you Rachel. If, you work another seven years.”
Betrayed once again. My humiliation was complete as Jacob agreed to my father’s demands. Though it didn’t stop him from coming into to me each night. The week ended all too quickly.
Tossed aside for the beautiful one I slipped back into my tent to pour out my heart to the Lord, the all-seeing One. He saw I was unloved and spoke into the recesses of my heart.
How gracious He was to me! I could feel life growing in me. When our son was born I named him Reuben because the Lord saw my misery and now, just maybe now, my husband would love me. It was not to be. He only came to me when it was my turn.
Again God was gracious to me. Revealing His love for me by giving me another son. By the time our third son was born, I gave up hope on ever being loved by Jacob. Just maybe he would like me. After all, I gave him three sons while Rachel gave him none.
By the time Judah was born I gave up that he would even show me kindness. Though I would never know love from Jacob, I would continue to praise the Lord for His love for me.
Secretly I enjoyed Rachel’s jealousy of me. She may be the beautiful one but I am the one who gave Jacob sons. Hearing them argue was my secret pleasure.
“Give me children or I will die.” Rachel sobbed.
“Seriously Rachel. I’m not God. He’s the one who is keeping you from having children!”
Rachel thought she was winning when her servant gave her two boys. She had a long way to go to catch up to me. Between us, my servant and I gave Jacob six sons. Rachel was still barren. One day my son found some mandrakes, when Rachel saw them she wanted them. She knew they could help her to become pregnant. She was desperate, begging me for just one. My anger erupted as I lashed out at her, “first you steal my husband and now you want my mandrakes too!”
“Fine.” She shouted. “You can sleep with him tonight, if you give me some of your mandrakes.”
So I traded mandrakes for Jacob. They worked because I had two more sons. And to top it off I had a precious little girl, Dinah. My hopes that he would at least respect me as the mother of his children were dashed. He only came to me to fulfill his duty.
I never gained love, kindness or honor from my husband. I lived my entire life without the love of a man. Every day was a constant reminder of being unwanted and unloved.
When a man doesn’t love a woman…it pierces deep in your soul. A place only God can touch. He was gracious to me and never abandoned me in my darkest hours.