Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 49:29-31, 33

29 And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,

30 In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a buryingplace.

31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah.

33 And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.

At the end of blessing his sons Jacob once again returns to the matter of where he ought to be buried. Previously he had made a request of Joseph that his remains be buried in the land of Canaan, but now he repeats that charge to everyone else.

And not just any place in Canaan, specifically the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, where his father and grandfather, mother and grandmother, and even his first wife are buried. Which, by the way, this is the first we have heard of Leah’s passing. Perhaps it occurred when the narrative focus was on Joseph sold into Egypt? Presumably it was at some point before the exodus into Egypt. In any case, she was apparently buried in this special cave, where all the patriarchs and their spouses had previously been laid to rest.

The relationship between Jacob and Leah had been a strange one. The man had been tricked into marrying her in the first place and at the time was unable to bring himself to truly love her. But where she had a complicated status as a wife, she had absolutely no difficulty in being a mother, providing Jacob son after son. Thus, she and Jacob had reason to delight together, but also reason to feel intensely awkward.

In the end, though, Jacob showed her great respect, selecting her to be by his side in the grave. We have mentioned Rachel’s burial place previously, and it is notably not in the cave of Machpelah. Why she was not buried there? No explanation is given. I can’t see it being a sign of disrespect on the part of Jacob, I can only assume that there were reasons that we do not know of. But, in any case, the end result is that Leah was the wife that Jacob first lay beside, and she would be the last.

Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 31:14-16

14 And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father’s house? 

15 Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money.

16 For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is ours, and our children’s: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do.

If Jacob had been concerned about how Rachel and Leah would feel about leaving their father’s household, it turns out that he didn’t need to be. Rachel and Leah felt that Laban did not view them as his daughters anymore, and they in turn left off viewing him as their father. After all, he had sold each of them to Jacob for seven years’ service and had never so much as given them a marriage dowry.

But just as God had taken from Laban and given to Jacob, He had also been accounting for Rachel and Leah. For through Jacob they had received all of Laban’s wealth anyway. Jacob had provided for them in the place of their father, and God had provided for him. Thus, they did not need their old father any longer, they only needed God, and in a declaration of faith they encouraged their husband to follow the Lord in whatever He required.