The Word of the Lord: Genesis 30.14-17: Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” But she said to her, “Wasn’t it enough that you took away my husband? Will you take my son’s mandrakes too?” “Very well,” Rachel said, “he can sleep with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.”
So when Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him. “You must sleep with me,” she said. “I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he slept with her that night.
God listened to Leah, and she became pregnant and bore Jacob another son.
Meditation: The patriarch Jacob married two sisters: Leah and Rachel. Leah birthed four sons, then stopped conceiving children. Rachel had no children even though Jacob spent his nights with her.
When Leah’s son brought mandrakes to his mother, Rachel proposed a trade to Leah: Jacob will spend the night with Leah in return for Leah giving Rachel the mandrakes. Leah agreed and gave the mandrakes to Rachel. Leah informed Jacob that per the agreement with Rachel, Jacob would spend the night with her.
Jacob appeared powerless in this Bible story. No questions or push-back from Jacob were recorded in the Bible. His wives dictated Jacob’s actions, at least in this episode.
Leah conceived another child as a result of Jacob spending the night with her. Acquiring and somehow using mandrakes didn’t result in Rachel conceiving.
The long mandrake root is shaped like two legs descending from a trunk. The root is most often associated with fertility and conception.
The story of Jacob’s wives and mandrakes showed that both Leah and Rachel were superstitious. Before we are too critical of these two women, think about individuals today who read their horoscope daily. Believing that mandrakes promoted conception and that a horoscope foretells type of day are attempts to circumvent God’s will. Both actions reflect a dependence on something other than the God of the universe.
Christians don’t believe in superstition or search for omens in the sky as with a horoscope. Christians have the Holy Spirit to instruct and guide them. God’s Word itself, the Bible, is our source of spiritual insight.
Reflection: Have you ever used superstitious behavior to achieve something you wanted? Why don’t you turn your problems over to God and allow him to handle them?
Copyright: 9/28/2020: Carolyn A. Roth