Genesis 29:21-25 NIV

Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my [d]time is completed, that I may have relations with her.” 22 So Laban gathered all the people of the place and held a feast. 23 Now in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to him; and Jacob had relations with her. 24 Laban also gave his female slave Zilpah to his daughter Leah as a slave. 25 So it came about in the morning that, behold, it was Leah! And he said to Laban, “What is this that you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served with you? Why then have you deceived me?”

After Laban had deceived Jacob in the issue of Rachel not much is said about Leah's position in the whole episode.Was Leah complicit in the whole deceit or because of the patriarchal system that was obtaining in that time she didn't have a choice

What was Leah's position in the whole episode?

  • We are not told so we do not know.
    – Dottard
    Commented Aug 18, 2023 at 20:52

1 Answer 1


The biblical record is silent on the matter as the Watchtower article "Distressed Sisters Who 'Built the House of Israel'" discusses:

Did Leah conspire to deceive Jacob? Or was she simply obliged to obey her father? And where was Rachel? Did she know what was going on? If so, how did she feel? Could she defy the will of her authoritarian father? The Bible provides no answer to these questions. Whatever Rachel and Leah thought about the matter, afterward the scheme outraged Jacob. And it was with Laban, not his daughters, that Jacob remonstrated: “Was it not for Rachel that I served with you? So why have you tricked me?” Laban’s response? “It is not customary . . . to give the younger woman before the firstborn. Celebrate to the full the week of this woman. After that there shall be given to you also this other woman for the service that you can serve with me for seven years more.” (Genesis 29:25-27) Thus Jacob was maneuvered into a polygamous marriage that was to spawn bitter jealousy. [bold mine]

In Genesis 29:27, Laban says "It is not our custom here to give the younger woman before the firstborn." Was it the custom of the people/region? Or was it a family custom? We do not know. Either way, Leah was obedient to her father. While she was complicit in the deception, we do not know her own thoughts or feelings.

[All scripture quotations from the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition)]

  • I have often wondered about this account in Genesis. How could Jacob be doing all the things that men do with their wives on their wedding night and not know it was Leah? Imagine for a moment, that a man takes his new bride into the tent, talks to her, undresses with her, and has sexual intercourse with her and never suspected it was Leah until morning? I find this account hard to believe. However, it is in the Bible after all so I guess I am stuck with it. Commented Aug 20, 2023 at 16:35
  • Imagine how Rachel felt, She knew her wedding day for her husband was fast approaching and she wanted to be with him but she knew that Jacob's wedding night would be with Leah and not her and she didn't say anything to Jacob? Commented Aug 20, 2023 at 16:37

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