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The Leah Factor

Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured—Genesis 29:17. This Old Testament Scripture implies that being “tender-eyed” was not a quality to be desired, but Rachel was beautiful. Exactly what is beauty and what was it about Leah’s eyes that disqualified her from being considered beautiful?

In the culture of their day, not only were eyes considered to be the windows to the soul, but also represented a sign of beauty. Rachel was counted among the beautiful, but Leah was not. Rachel was also said to be highly favored, the implication being that Leah did not have such favor. So a comparison of the sisters saw the younger sister Rachel, as the one in possession of physical beauty as well as the favor of people, which her beauty afforded her. Under those circumstances life could not have been easy for Leah. While Rachel was judged favorably, Leah received unfavorable judgment because of her physical appearance, which she had no control over.