Lea or Leah (Hebrew לֵאָה, Le'ah ) is in the Tanakh and the Old Testament, the first wife of the patriarch Jacob and mother of six sons, who are considered to be progenitors of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, and the daughter Dina. The relationship with her sister, Rachel, Jacob's second wife, is full of tension. They both belong to the Erzmüttern Israel.

Meaning of the name

For the derivation of the name Lea, there are different views. He usually is understood as the Hebrew term for "( Wild) cow ", to which reference Akkadian, Ugaritic and Arabic roots. In Akkadian the use of animals as personal names is not uncommon. On the other hand, the name could be found on the Hebrew root word לאה ( la'ah, " tired ", " strive in vain " ) return ( cf. Gen 29.17 EU).

In the Greek-speaking Bible translation of the Tanakh, the Septuagint, the name Λεία ( Leia ).

Biblical narrative

The patriarchs narrative to Lea found in the book of Genesis ( 29,16 EU -49, 31 EU). Lea is the older sister of Rachel, her father Laban of Harran. According to Gen 30,36 EU Lea also had brothers. Lea is represented in the biblical narrative as unattractive woman (the " Leah's eyes were weak " ), while her sister Rachel is described as " fair of face and figure " (Gen 29,17 EU).

Jacob, a nephew of Laban loves Rachel, whom he had already met before. He is ready to serve you seven years for Laban. At the end of this period Laban leads him on the wedding night the older sister Leah, so that the marriage is consummated with her. Laban justified this procedure with the custom to marry first, the older sister (Gen 29.20 to 26 EU). After fulfillment of her week with Leah Jacob and Rachel gets to wife, but has to serve another seven years for them with Laban.

In God's intervention back and to compensate for their neglect by Jacob Lea is very fertile in contrast to Rachel and initially gives birth to Jacob, sons of Reuben, Shimon, Levi, and Judah. When she could no longer sell child gets, she sends her maid Zilpah, who is also a daughter of Laban to Jacob, who bears him Gad and Asher ( Bible ). Since, according to Israelite law idea the maid has been deputy to her mistress, these two sons of Leah as children are. Later Lea gives birth to Jacob, nor the sons of Issachar and Zebulun and the daughter Dinah (Gen 29,31 EU-21 EU).

Lea accompanied Jacob on his return to Canaan. They will honor the reconciliation with his twin brother Esau and grief over the supposed loss of his second youngest son, Joseph, who is sold by his brothers to Egypt. Lea was buried after her death, as well as Jacob and his ancestors in the cave of Machpelah at Mamre.

The biblical fathers story is now in the exegetical science largely as a legend and severally; Therefore, Lea is not understood as a historical person.


March 22 is celebrated as does not go back directly to the one described here biblical person, but to the Catholic saints Lea of Rome.


In The Bible - Jacob (1994 ) Juliet Aubrey Lea embodied in The Bible - Joseph in 1995 Dominique Sanda.