Trafficked People of the Bible & God’s Response
By Susanna Thorn
These Stories are only Biblically Based and should not be read as Biblical themselves. I have only looked deep into the Biblical stories of these people and made connections that logically make sense in my mind to flush out the character and struggles of each of these people. My hope is that you will see yourself or those around you in these stories and the God that shows His love to them will become real to you and become your God.
Dedicated to Jesus for His Glory and to my daughter Gloria that she would know Him Deeper
“Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Jacob was in love with Rachel and said….”
Genesis 29: 16-18a – The Bible, NIV
Leah prepared the meal for the men with her mother. Jacob has come from Canaan at behest of his parents. Since he had been here things had been a bit interesting to say the least. Her father Laban had insisted on Leah to be kept out of sight.
“We don’t want to scare him off. He has been a great help to us, a skilled shepherd is hard to come by. He is growing to become a son that I have never had and may be your salvation, Leah.”
Leah understood what her father was implying. She had been taught well by her mother the way to run a household. She could do anything any other women could do, yet she lacked the one thing that would attract a man to her side. Rachel had it all. She had form and face that every man was attracted to her, her younger sister. One glance at Leah from any man changed quickly to disgust or pity. They would then ignore her and give their glances to Rachel. They enjoyed her work and her service as they lounged with her father, yet none of them glanced at her, accept by accident when they called for their drink or bowl to be filled. Each of them longed to have Rachel as their wife, but tradition dictated that Leah, the firstborn, should be married first. Since no one would take her, especially with Rachel for comparison, no man would choose the sacrifice to allow Rachel to go to another man, and so they both stayed single. This seemed to not bother her younger sister that much, until now.
Since Jacob’s appearance the house of Laban has been in an uproar. Yet a silent one so not to allow any disturbance to their most honored guest. The past month Jacob had dived right in helping with the sheep, probably to spend more time with Rachel. His help had increased the strength of the flock this past month. So much so that Laban was desperate to keep Jacob with him, that he might promise anything and everything to do it. Jacob gallant treatment of Rachel the moment they met had touched her, so much that all she could talk to Leah about was Jacob. Rachel the favored one, and Leah would listen as she always did.
Since Rachel was born it was Leah’s responsibility to care for her sister. She had been her protector, comforter, and teacher when mother was too busy. When Rachel got into trouble, the wrath would reign onto Leah’s head. Rachel was the beautiful one, the baby, the one loved. Leah was the tolerated, the unwanted, the burden, and it looked like there was no way to change that.
A women’s life was not secure without a husband and sons to care for her in her old age. Yet there was no one who would touch her, for her weak eyes disturbed everyone who investigated them. She was not sure what disturbed the men, she thought her eyes were lovely, the one thing of beauty that she had. Yet she did find that her eyes had a piercing look.
Living in the tent of her father, who always searched for opportunity to benefit himself, she had learned wisdom, prudence and to be quick. Rachel the baby had learned to follow in their father in temperament, and as the beauty and baby she got away with it. Leah on the other hand had learned to pick up moods quickly, to see the needs of those before they could even voice them, and to provide what was needed before a protest. She was able to play the obedient daughter, if not for her eyes.
Her eyes gave her away every time. Their unexpected beauty would pierce through a man, and those eyes filled with wisdom and knowledge in a single glance would let a man know where he stood. All men that she knew wanted to be in control, to bend women to their will. Women were just property, servants, slaves to their father and if they were fortunate to their husband. If they were blessed, they would give birth to son’s, who would love and care for them in their old age. Her eyes unnerved men, they would pierce and blind with their beauty, not something that a man wanted. Men wanted a beautiful wife that they could mold under their own will, not a plain one with piercing eyes watching everything they did.
Jacob was the only man who had treated her with respect and honor. Not as much as Rachel of course, but he still treated her better than any man had treated her before. He had taken the time to talk to her, to even bring some wool for her use. Usually, he would sit and talk awhile while she listened.
“You remind me of my mother. You have her eyes.”
He must love his mother very much. The respect he showed her out of the love of his mother was kind and touched her heart. He spoke with longing when he talked to her about Rebecca. They must have been close.
Oh, to know what it would be like to share that relationship with a son! To hold him in her arms, to nurture him into a man. A son would love her unconditionally. Yet no son would come without a husband, and Jacob was interested in Rachel. Still Leah hoped. Maybe Jacob’s talks to her were more than they seemed. Maybe he would see her worth that no man had seen before. If he chose her, she would use all her skills to benefit his household. She would raise up sons that he would be proud of. She reminded him of his mother, maybe that would be enough.
And yet one look at Rachel would sometimes put her into despair. What was knowledge in place of beauty? What was wisdom in place of strength? Her father was right, Jacob was her only hope.
“If only he would choose me” Leah thought” If only.”
Have you ever been the odd one out? Have you ever been the unwanted one? The unfavoured one? Has one of your siblings outshone you as you grew up? Did one of your friends always get the guy you desired? Have those around you have gotten then best and you the dregs? Have you been the rejected one? The unloved one?
If so, Leah understands.
Leah was sold to Jacob by her father Laben for the seven years Jacob worked for Laben for the hand of Rachel. Jacob did not know he had married Leah until morning. Jacob then had to work seven more years for Laben so he could take Rachel to wife. It says that Jacob loved Rachel more than he loved Leah. The deception on their wedding night would not have made Jacob fond of Leah.
We do not know truly what Leah was thinking. As a woman whatever her father chose was law. We do not know if she was tricked into thinking that Jacob wanted her, or that she saw that this was the only way that she would be married. All we know is that her father had to deceive Jacob into marrying her, and that Jacob did not love her after that. What was God’s response to all of this? He remembered Leah. He opened her womb, and she gave birth to four sons. For the first three (Ruben, Simeon, and Levi) she rejoiced and hoped that her husband would show love to her after this, for she had born him three sons.
Yet at the birth of the fourth Judah all she said was “This time I will praise the Lord.” No longer does she look to her husband for love that she will never have. Instead, she has found that love in the Lord God Himself and He is her Rock, who has given her four sons. Now her son Ruben found mandrakes that in that day were believed helped with fertility, even that a barren woman could become pregnant with them. Rachel asked for some from Leah and Leah responded that Rachel had taken her husband but now she would take Ruben’s mandrakes? Rachel then proposed a trade that she would have the mandrakes and Leah would have her turn with Jacob, which produced Issachar in Leah’s womb. She then also gave birth to Zebulun and Dinah a daughter. Her final words for Zebulun are “God has presented me with a precious gift. This time my husband will treat me with honor, because I have borne him a six son.” So, through God’s remembrance Leah was taken from a place of being unloved to a place of honor. In her humbleness the Lord lifted her up. Rachel though trusted in the mandrakes, not the Lord God. It was much later after Leah had given birth to Dinah that Rachel cried out to the Lord God Almighty, and it was then that she received Joseph. Up to this point Rachel blamed her husband, looked to the mandrakes to make her fertile. Mandrakes that have a history of being used for witchcraft. It was only after Leah had given birth seven times, with six sons and a daughter that Rachel humbled herself before the Lord. Leah though was blessed generously by the Lord because of her humbleness.
But the Lord has greater plans to honor Leah. For though it was Rachel who bore Joseph who saved the whole family from starvation by bringing them to Egypt, it was Leah who had given birth to most of Israel. Because of Rachel’s pride she was unable to see the man Joseph would become, crying out for another son while he first nursed. In doing so she lost her life in giving birth to Joseph’s brother Benjamin. It was Leah who was buried with Jacob in the family grave where Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Rebecca had been lain, not Rachel. It was Leah who gave birth to Levi, who line became the priests who served in the presence of the Lord in the temple. It was Leah who gave birth to Judah, who descendants would be the Kings of Israel, who’s line would come the King of Kings Jesus.
Though Leah was unwanted, unloved, and unappreciated she came to know the God of Israel and He became her God. It was Him that she cried out to, and it was He who heard her, and it was He who lifted her up in her humbleness. When everyone forgot Leah, God remembered her, and placed her in a place of honor for generations to come.
So, when you are the one not picked. The unloved one, the tolerated one, the used and abused one, know that God loves you. He sees you and that He remembers you. He knows every hair on your head and that He has good plans for you. Despite all that you have gone through and all that you continue to go through He loves you, He cares about you, and He has chosen you for great things. No matter what the people in your life say or do about you, you are remembered by God. By remembering Him and humble yourself to Him in your life, He will lift you up to a place of honor as He did with Leah. He will place a table before you in front of your enemies, and they will not be able to touch it. It will be for you and for you alone. No matter what someone says about you or treats you, it is Jesus who will have the last say. Therefore, His opinion of you is all that matters, and His opinion is that you are precious and honored in His sight.
To read the story of Leah for yourself you can find it in Genesis 29-35, 46 and 49 of the Bible