Leah and Rachel

These descriptions of Leah and Rachel are from Easton's Bible Dictionary.


Leah : weary, the eldest daughter of Laban, and sister of Rachel (Genesis 29:16). Jacob took her to wife through a deceit of her father (Genesis 29:23). She was "tender-eyed" (Genesis 29:17). She bore to Jacob six sons (Genesis 32-35), also one daughter, Dinah (Genesis 30:21). She accompanied Jacob into Canaan, and died there before the time of the going down into Egypt (Genesis 31), and was buried in the cave of Machpelah (Genesis 49:31).


Rachel : ewe, "the daughter", "the somewhat petulant, peevish, and self-willed though beautiful younger daughter" of Laban, and one of Jacob's wives (Genesis 29:6,28). He served Laban fourteen years for her, so deep was Jacob's affection for her. She was the mother of Joseph (Genesis 30:22-24). Afterwards, on Jacob's departure from Mesopotamia, she took with her, her father's teraphim (Genesis 31:34,35). As they journeyed on from Bethel, Rachel died in giving birth to Benjamin (Genesis 35:18,19), and was buried "in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave". Her sepulchre is still regarded with great veneration by the Jews. Its traditional site is about half a mile from Jerusalem.

This name is used poetically by Jeremiah (Genesis 31:15-17) to denote God's people mourning under their calamities. This passage is also quoted by Matthew as fulfilled in the lamentation at Bethlehem on account of the slaughter of the infants there at the command of Herod (Matthew 2:17,18).

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