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Genesis 29:17 NASB

17 And Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful of form and [e]face.

In other translations Leah's eyes are said to be tender

Genesis 29:17 KJV

17 Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.

But When compared with Rachel who was said to be beautiful and well favoured it seems she lost to Rachel.

Could the weak/tender eyes have referred to a physical defect?

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The name "Leah" (לֵאָ֖ה) means 'weary'. - Genesis 29:17 is a Hebrew pun : The eyes of Weary (לֵאָ֖ה) were weak.

Genesis 29:17 [MT] "and The eyes of Leah were weak" (וְעֵינֵ֥י לֵאָ֖ה רַכּ֑וֹת)

"Eyinei" (עֵינֵ֥י) = Eyes ; "Leah" (לֵאָ֖ה) = Weary ; "Rakhot" (רַכּ֑וֹת) = Weak / Soft.

  • Leah also was "the older" (Ha-Gedolah, הַגְּדֹלָה֙) daughter of Laban. Leah had been serving her family longer than her younger sister Rachel. - Genesis 29:16 [https://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/8224/jewish/Chapter-29.htm]

The Eyes (of the older sister) "Weary" were tired. - This Hebrew pun is a clever description of Leah used to identify her characteristics as the older, tired daughter. - Age did not cause Leah to have any physical defect. * Consider how God blesses Leah later in verses 31-35.

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