There are times in my life when the sparkle left my eyes. When I look at pictures from those times, I see dull, sad eyes. Perhaps no one else notices, but I remember. The writer of Genesis describes Laban’s daughters quite differently. If indeed the writer was contrasting the two daughters, Leah must have been unattractive next to Rachel’s stated beauty.
16Now Laban had two daughters. The older daughter was named Leah, and the younger one was Rachel. 17There was no sparkle in Leah’s eyes but Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face.”Genesis 29:16-17
A footnote tells me that the Hebrew meaning for the phrase, “there was no sparkle in Leah’s eyes,” is uncertain. Was she, indeed, unattractive? Or did it mean she couldn’t see well? Were her eyes a dull color? Was she sad? Or discouraged? The reader just cannot know with certainty what might have spurred this descriptive phrase.
As a curious reader, I did some cross-referencing. Was the phrase used in other places? Do the other uses help bring meaning to this verse? I found it in two other places in scripture.
1O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? 2How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand? 3Turn and answer me, O Lord my God! Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die. 4Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!” Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.Psalm 13:1-4
8“But now we have been given a brief moment of grace, for the Lord our God has allowed a few of us to survive as a remnant. He has given us security in this holy place. Our God has brightened our eyes and granted us some relief from our slavery.Ezra 9:8
In the writing of psalm 13, the psalmist is experiencing a difficult time, perhaps a dream unrealized. In any case, God seemed distant and unreachable. “Restore the sparkle to my eye” is a request for God to intervene, to protect, to change the situation.
In the writing of Ezra, he grieved the propensisty of Israel to forget God’s righteous decrees and go their own way. At this time in history, God brought the people out of captivity in Babylon to live in their homeland. Hence, “God has brightened our eyes,” refers to the opportunity and security God offered the people to realize their dreams, to worship freely, to enjoy relationship with him.
As I look back on my own experiences, difficulties snuffed out the sparkle in my eye. Causes varied from shattered dreams to illness, loss or unexpected changes.
How about you? Have you lost the sparkle in your eye? What might be causing it? Do you feel forgotten in this moment? Perhaps reading the psalmist’s conclusion will be helpful for you on this Monday morning!
5But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. 6I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me.Psalm 13:5-6
Happy Monday, friends! So grateful the Lord’s mercies are new every day!