In the 21st Century Christian world, there seems to be a bit of an obsession with the wonder woman described in Proverbs 31. I’ve even joined in the debate with a post on how Proverbs 31 can apply to the single woman as well as the married woman. However, there is one vital problem with this obsession. Proverbs 31 is an ideal, not a reality. The biblical equivalent of Wonder Woman (who else is excited for the upcoming film?).
I don’t know about you but I am not going to live up to being a wonder woman. In fact, if I lived the life of Proverbs 31, I think I would die of sleep exhaustion. But what about other women in the Bible? Are they wonder women in their own right? It’s time to tell their stories.
Leah’s story is told in Genesis 29-33. Jacob is tricked into marrying her when he would prefer to marry her younger sister, Rachel. Jacob still marries Rachel so Leah ends up becoming the third wheel with a husband who does not love her. Not exactly a promising or happy life.
Despite all of this, Leah deserves to be considered a biblical wonder woman. Using Proverbs 31 as a guide, there are three particular areas where she stand out:
- Always doing good by her husband
- Being a strong woman
- Fearing the Lord.
At the end of her life, Leah was rewarded for her dedication to both her husband and her God. Eventually, she was buried next to Jacob. Not Rachel but Leah was buried with their husband.
What was it about Leah?
Always doing good by her husband
She brings [her husband] good, not harm, all the days of her life. Proverbs 31v12
Leah was not loved by Jacob, but she still gave him children. She named her first child Reuben in hope that she would be loved by her husband for giving him a son. This was still her hope with the sixth son, Issachar. Though she did not reap the rewards until she was in her grave, the six sons Leah gave Jacob ensured she played a role in fulfilling God’s blessing on Abraham’s family.
Leah never gave up on her husband. She kept blessing him as his wife and as mother to his children, showing how she bought Jacob good rather than harm throughout her life. Just like the woman of Proverbs 31.
Being a strong woman
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. Proverbs 31v2
Leah was the unwanted wife. Jacob was forced to marry her when he wanted Rachel. She was even made to leave her home and family to move to Canaan. Yet throughout all of this, she stayed by her husband’s side and raised her children. She even managed to barter time with Jacob from Rachel in exchange for mandrakes. To remain that resilient in such circumstances requires a certain strength of character, let alone to carry on living her life.
In Genesis 31, Leah and Rachel even tell Jacob that he needs to do whatever God has told him to do. For the two sisters, that resulted in leaving their home to travel to a strange land. With the strength it takes to say something like that, Leah and Rachel could definitely “laugh at the days to come.”
Fearing the Lord
…a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31v30
Above all else, Leah feared God. Not terrified that He would smite her down but in utter awe of a God who heard and answered her prayers. The names of her sons are a testament to this, as they reflect how her faith grew throughout her life. From Reuben who was named because God heard her prayer through to Judah who was named to praise the Lord, it is clear that Leah grows in her faith throughout her life.
Leah’s fear of the Lord is what makes her stand out as a biblical wonder woman. Everything she does comes from a place of dependence on God. Whether you view this as being because of or despite her circumstances, that she remain faithful throughout her life can not be dismissed.
Is Leah a Biblical Wonder Woman?
Does Leah compare to the woman of Proverbs 31? She does not run her own business or be praised by her husband at the fates (she is buried with him though!!). However, she is “a woman who fears the Lord”.
So is she a wonder woman? I would argue yes.
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