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Holman Bible Dictionary


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(lee' uh) Personal name meaning “wild cow” or “gazelle.” Older daughter of Laban (Genesis 29:16 ) and Jacob's first wife. Jacob had asked for the younger Rachel's hand but was tricked into marrying Leah. Thus was preserved the ancient Near Eastern tradition of the elder marrying first. Leah bore six sons to Jacob (Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun) and a daughter (Dinah). Her handmaid, Zilpah, bore two sons to Jacob (Gad, Asher), which by the law of that day were officially Leah's. When Jacob returned to Palestine from Padan-aram, Leah and her children were placed in front of Rachel and Joseph, evidently to absorb any violence from Esau, Jacob's brother. This is indicative of the less-favored status of Leah to Rachel. Leah died in Palestine and was buried in the cave at Machpelah, where lay the remains of Abraham, Isaac, and their wives.

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Leah'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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