The last act of Leah is found in

Gen 33:7 Next, Leah and her children came and bowed down. Last of all came Joseph and Rachel, and they too bowed down.

Then later, Rachel died from giving birth to Benjamin.

Genesis 35:19 So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).

Jacob gave his dying instructions in

Genesis 49:31 There Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried, there Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried, and there I buried Leah.

Obviously, Leah died before Jacob. But when?

https://judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/22576/when-did-leah-die mentions

Leah had to pass away before Yosef was sold.


As @Dottard and @NigelJ point out in the comments to your question, we are not told. Yet I found this quote extracted from The Unger's Bible Dictionary under the term LE'AH worth posting as an answer

She probably died in Canaan, as she is not mentioned in the migration to Egypt (Genesis 46:6), and was burried in Hebron (Genesis 49:31).


The canonical bible doesn't say when Leah died except that in Gen 49:31 Jacob says she had died and was buried in Hebron sometime before his 17th year in Egypt, and Leah was last mentioned in Genesis 33:7. I'm not aware of whether any other extrabiblical sources like Josephus or the Dead Sea Scrolls say when she died but I don't recall seeing any. (Traditions or theories in the later a.d. Rabbinic sources may be less reliable.) Jacob's words would seem to suggest that she died before he went to Egypt since it is not indicated that he left Egypt to bury Leah in Canaan and then came back. Genesis 35:27 says Jacob was at Hebron when he saw his father Isaac again, so he could he buried Leah at Hebron then.

But Joseph's dream seems to indicate that Jacob and one of his 2 wives (or one of his 2 concubines) bowed to Joseph in Egypt. This mother can't be Rachel who died in Gen 35:19 before the brothers went to Egypt, and it can only be Leah since it is unlikely to be either of the concubines. This might be supported by the seem match of Jacob with Khufu/Cheops who had 4 or 3 wives like Jacob did. Khufu/Cheops seems to of have 3 wives in Egypt, which would mean Leah was alive then. (Though comparing different sources there are upto 5 names of Khufu's wives, though sources only say he had 2 or 4 or 3 wives. So it is possible that Jacob later had another wife, though Laban had said that God was witness if Jacob took any other wives than his daughters.) I'm not sure if Leah is or isn't counted in the 70/72/75 souls who went to Egypt with Jacob in Gen 46:6 & Exodus 1:5, but some scholars like Zuker say there is a missing person when counting the listed persons. (Zuker reckons is it a 2nd unnamed daughter of Jacob.) The numbers don't add up and they may allow 2 missing persons who might be Jacob and Leah.

  • Welcome to BHSX. Thanks for this excellent contribution. Please remember to take the tour (link below) to better understand how this site works. – Dottard Apr 5 at 11:04

This is a great question produced by close reading.

The answer is that it is an intentional riddle, with the answer that Leah, as a type of the prostitute-bride of the church, was already dead when Jacob, as a type of Christ, died.

For those unfamiliar with the deep riddles of scripture:

Consider the mechanism by which the invisible God, who cannot be seen nor heard, reveals himself.

The fish swim where they will, and the stream nudges them where it wills. God says that Israel will become a parable משל.

The people of the Bible are like the fish, swimming where they wish, unable to see the water. God is like the water, nudging the whole of history to accomplish his purpose.

He causes a language to be formed which has meaning to it's very 'yods and vavs'; the dots and strokes which make up the Hebrew square text. (Notarikon) He causes a blossoming author to observe the fish, yet remaining a fish himself. The author records what he observes using the language God has given him to write two manuscripts simultaneously.

The first concerns the actions of the fish. Unbeknownst to him, the words he freely chooses have been nudged by the stream to write the second manuscript within the words of the author. This manuscript speaks of Christ. This is the nature of Paul's "Mystery, hidden from the beginning."

The author remains ignorant of the second manuscript because the metaphor concerning Christ is not known until after the cross. Only hints of the second manuscript are available.

Prior to the cross they could see that Adam came from the ground (adamah) and is made of blood (dam) and spirit (the aleph). But they could not see that the blood דם was the commandment ד finished by the son ם.

They could see that light sounded like skin (puns). And that God had given a garment like light to cover his sins. But they could not understand that God himself would cover our sin by his holiness, until after the cross.

Because of the mechanism and effort to write the second layer of scripture, there is nothing superfluous. God did not tell us that "he gave the grass for the cattle to eat" because he thought we didn't know that cattle (sheep are cattle) eat grass. Grass forms the seed used for bread. Jesus is the seed. He was beaten and baked (tribulation), into the bread. (by way of symbols). So he was laid in a feeding trough, with grass, surrounded by cattle as a promise of the cross... the baby bread.

This is context for the answer to the OP.

In the genealogies of Cain and Seth, the word 'lived' is used for the ten generations of Seth, and not used once in the seven generations of Cain. These genealogies are the basis for solving the riddle of Rev 17: Of the seven generations of Cain (all shadows of Christ), five were (they did not live), one is (Enoch on both genealogies walked with God), and one is to come (Lamech mean's power and Christ will come in power). The full solution is elsewhere.

The riddle of Leah is similar. As the symbol of the bride before the cross, she is already dead at the time the Christ-type dies.

Eph 2:1 ¶ And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins;

All the proofs making her the type of the prostitute-bride, and Rachel the type of the virgin-bride, are subjects for other questions.

  • Steve Taylor. Thanks. You're right. Without a proper intro it is difficult to follow. – Bob Jones Jan 7 at 12:34
  • I looked at removing the example of riddle to shorten it, but most people are not familiar with the process. I don't think the answer without background would be understood. Other suggestions? – Bob Jones Jan 7 at 12:56
  • Steve Taylor Interesting. I could not edit the first version, so I posted a second. In the process the deleted version has been edited to look like the new version, making it appear that I did not improve it. Is this a bug? – Bob Jones Jan 7 at 13:00

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