14 And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son’s mandrakes.
15 And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son’s mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son’s mandrakes.
16 And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son’s mandrakes. And he lay with her that night.
17 And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son.
18 And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar.
19 And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son.
20 And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun.
21 And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah.
22 And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.
23 And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach:
24 And she called his name Joseph; and said, The Lord shall add to me another son.
K.J.V. Bible Text
I’m not sure what mandrakes are, but when Leah’s son went out and got some for his mother, Rachel wanted some of them. Leah was angry. (Was this little thing what we would call, the last straw?) Leah was angry that Rachel had taken Jacob’s love and so she was probably not disposed to give her anything. But Rachel must have really wanted those mandrakes because she told Leah that Jacob could sleep with her that night in return for the mandrakes.
Do you think Jacob might have been confused and perhaps a little irritated at the women when he came in from the fields and was informed of their bargain? Whether pleased with the situation or not, Jacob did sleep with Leah and she became pregnant. Apparently, this incident renewed the marital relationship between Jacob and Leah because she later had yet another son and sometime later a daughter.
So Leah had seven children as well as the son’s borne by her handmaid and Rachel had only the sons of Bilbah her maid when at last she became pregnant and gave birth to her own son. This relieved her of the disgrace of being childless, but she immediately began to pray for another son as well.
When I think of the lusty Jacob doing his duty by so many women and being the father of so many sons, it is easy to see the promise God gave him being fulfilled. Jacob is off to a terrific start in having offspring “like the dust of the earth.”
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