Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are often called patriarchs because they are the founding fathers of the Jewish people. In the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament, describes the lives of each of these men, of their wives, and of their descendants. As was common at the time, Jacob had two wives and two concubines. Among them was Leah, daughter of Laban. Read on to find out who Jacob’s first wife was and what role she played in the history of the Jewish people.

Rachel and Leah

Leah and Rachel were the two daughters of Laban, Isaac’s brother-in-law. The Bible tells us that: “Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel had a lovely figure and was beautiful.” (Genesis 29:17) Thus, when he arrived in Aran after fleeing the wrath of his brother Esau, Jacob met and fell in love with Rachel, Laban’s daughter. He proposed to work for 7 years for the right to marry Rachel. However, at the end of the seven years, he found that Laban had deceived him, giving him the elder sister Leah instead of Rachel. So Jacob worked seven more years and eventually married Rachel too.

Leah, wife of Jacob

Not being Jacob’s first choice, Leah was disliked by her husband. “When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless.” (Genesis 29:31) And Leah gave Jacob six sons and one daughter: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun and Dinah.