Genesis 30:14-24 (NKJV)
Now Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”
But she said to her, “Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes also?”
And Rachel said, “Therefore he will lie with you tonight for your son’s mandrakes.”
When Jacob came out of the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must come in to me, for I have surely hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” And he lay with her that night.
And God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. Leah said, “God has given me my wages, because I have given my maid to my husband.” So she called his name Issachar. Then Leah conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son. And Leah said, “God has endowed me with a good endowment; now my husband will dwell with me, because I have borne him six sons.” So she called his name Zebulun. Afterward she bore a daughter, and called her name Dinah.
Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. And she conceived and bore a son, and said, “God has taken away my reproach.” So she called his name Joseph, and said, “The LORD shall add to me another son.”
Rachel and Leah think mandrakes cure infertility. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandrake
Reuben’s mandrakes are a major find for momma. Maybe now she’ll start bearing again. This plays perfectly into Rachel’s fertility rivalry with Leah.
Not surprisingly, when Rachel asks for some of the mandrakes Leah gets upset. Apparently, Jacob is now sleeping with Rachel every night. That’s not surprising given that Leah has stopped bearing while the younger Rachel never started. Rachel longs to get pregnant, and Jacob is still head over heels in love with her. Yet again, Leah’s heart gets hammered.
So Rachel offers to trade a night with Jacob for some mandrakes. Leah accepts the deal and orders Jacob to her bed. That’s right; Leah and Rachel can dictate who Jacob sleeps with. Go figure.
This all works out perfectly for Leah. She bears another son and this causes her access to Jacob to be restored. So, the mandrakes help her fertility after all – just not in the way she expected. The text clearly gives God all the credit. The mandrakes don’t do squat.
Thank God our marriages don’t have the strife this one has. Marriage is tricky enough without two wives bargaining for their husband’s affections.
Every marriage is basically two sinners living together trying to make a go of it. Pray for the couples you know who are struggling. Ask the Lord to redirect their focus to Him. Pray they will find His peace.
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