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Turning to the Mandrake Plant for Help?
"Please give me some of your son's mandrakes." Rachel pleaded with her sister. After hearing Rachel's plea, Leah scoffed: "Wasn't it enough that you took away my husband? Will you now take away my son's mandrakes too?"
(Bible Study Online Article Covers : Genesis 30:14-21)
In the last article we'd learned, how the child-bearing competition between Leah and Rachel had begun to intensified, between the two. And because of this, the competition had eventually reached beyond the two sisters. For we now find, that Leah and Rachel, had eventually brought their maidservants, into their little drama.
And the two would do this, by giving their maidservants over as wives, to Jacob.
Know that they will do this, in the hopes, that one of them would be able to gain an added advantage -- when it came to bearing Jacob children.
"Here is Bilhah, my maidservant. Sleep with her so that she can bear children for me and that through her I too can build a family." -- Genesis 30:3
"When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she took her maidservant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife." -- Genesis 30:9
And because of this, we now find, that Jacob has eight sons between three of his four wives. Keep in mind, that Rachel hasn't yet, had any kids of her own -- for she was found at this time in her life, to be barren. And it was because of her barren condition, that Rachel would eventually become jealous and threaten by Leah. For it was also at this time, that Leah had already, given birth to Jacob's first four sons.
And this is what caused Rachel to panic, and take matters into her own hands. And again, she did this, by providing her husband with her maidservant Bilhah. Know that Rachel had given herself over to the idea, that she could be satisfied, with building a family through her maidservant. And judging by her actions, it would seem -- that Rachel also felt like this was the only way, that she would be able to compete with her sister Leah, when it came to giving Jacob kids.
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However that may have been, it would now seem, that Rachel's plan had produced some success -- for the Sacred Record would reveal, that her maidservant Bilhah, would give birth to Jacob's next two sons: Dan and Naphtali. And because of this, we now find Leah abandoning all good reason, and common sense, by falling deeper into the trap of competing with Rachel?
Leah does this, by making the mistake of panicking -- for she was worried, that she hadn't given Jacob another child, in over a year. And to make matters worse, she now finds, that Rachel is trying to build a family through Bilhah. And because of this, Leah would begin to feel the pressure (and perhaps threaten) when it came to possibly losing her child-bearing advantage, over her sister.
And this is why, we now find Leah countering Rachel's move, by offering her own maidservant Zilpah to her husband. And judging by his response and actions, back when Rachel had presented him with the same offer -- it shouldn't surprise us, that Jacob would accept Leah's offer as well, by making Zilpah his new wife. And just like her sister before her, Leah's plan would end up producing some success -- for the Sacred Record would confirm, that Zilpah would end up bearing Jacob his next two sons. Therefore, giving Jacob eight sons in total, between three of his four wives.
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The Mandrake Plant Option?
Nonetheless, we now move forward. And it's at this point, that we find, that one day during a wheat harvest -- Leah's oldest son Reuben was out and about? And it would be at this time, that he'd found some mandrake plants. Now keep in mind, that it's not actually clear on what type of "mandrake plants" that they actually were? And it's for this reason, we can only assume, that these plants were some type of rare fruit, or flowers, or perhaps a combination of the two.
Now I don't want this page to be completely about "mandrake plants" -- so I won't go into great depth, when it comes to these very interesting species of plants. But keep in mind, that they're many different types of "mandrake plant species" that are found throughout the world. So for the purpose of this article, and for the sake of curiosity, I will list only two.
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The Mandrake Plant : Madragora Officinarum
Now it's very possible that this was the type of "mandrake plant" that Leah's son had found, while he was out and about.
Know that this mandrake plant is very narcotic, and has a long fleshly forked root -- that could at times, resemble a human body.
Know that this plant, is used mainly for medicinal and mystical purposes, and although they are considered poisonous -- they're believed to be very efficient, when it comes to the human body in the medicinal sense. And actually, this plant is still being used in today's modern times -- especially when it comes to revivalism religions like: Odinism (Norse Mythology). Also understand, that the people who practice this particular religion, are known to worship "Odin" -- The god of wisdom and death.
Also know, that this particular "mandrake plant" is also used in neo-pagan religions like: Wicca. Understand that people who take part in this religion, take up the practice of learning spells, herbalism, and divination -- which is also known as "The Old Religion."
And although Wiccans try to separate themselves, by trying to make the claim that they are different, when it comes to the practice of Witchcraft (Witches & Warlocks.) Know that they still incorporate a specific form of witchcraft, in some way or fashion.
F.Y.I. - (This plant has also been featured in popular movies like: "The Harry Potter Series" and "Pan's Labyrinth".)
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The Mandrake Plant : Mayapple
Now it's highly unlikely, that this was the type of "mandrake plant" that was found by Leah's son. But I just wanted to list it, in order to show the stark contrast between the different types of "mandrake plant species" that's known.
Be that as it may, know that this is a Perennial herb, that grows to about one to two feet in height, and bears a fruit that are small and yellow in color.
Now this particular mandrake plant, grows over here in the west (North America) and was used by the Indians for medicinal purposes.
For they would use this herb, when it came to helping with conditions: like worms in the intestines, and the removal of warts and moles.
Now although the plant is considered poisonous, know that the fruit it bears, is considered to have no medicinal benefits -- but it does have a syrupy taste.
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Now as I stated before, it's not clear which mandrake plant was used, and remember I just listed two for the sake of curiosity. However, what we do know, is that the "mandrake plants" were widely used, when it came to helping women with their fertility issues, back during the time of Leah and Rachel. And after Reuben had brought his mother the mandrakes, it would be at this time, that Rachel had seen them. Now with her being barren, Rachel asked her sister if she could have some of her "mandrakes": "Please give me some of your son's mandrakes."
After hearing Rachel's plea, Leah scoffed: "Wasn't it enough that you took away my husband? Will you now take away my son's mandrakes too?" And after hearing this, Rachel responded by saying: "Very well, he [Jacob] can sleep with you tonight in return for your son's mandrakes."
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Good Deal - For Leah?
So Leah would accept this arrangement with her sister. And later on that day, after Jacob had arrived home, Leah went out to meet him: "You must sleep with me tonight, I have hired you with my son's mandrakes." So Jacob slept with his wife Leah that night, and because of this, she would get pregnant. Now this pregnancy, would bring forth Jacob's fifth son with Leah. Which in turn at this point, would give him a total of nine sons overall.
So Leah would name this child "Issachar" -- for his name meant (a hire or my reward): "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." -- Genesis 30:17,18
And as one look deeply upon that statement, we'll also find, that there was some truth in Leah's statement -- being that she did hire her husband (in her own way) for that night, and so therefore, felt like she was rewarded by God for doing so.
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God Continues to Smile on Leah?
But God wouldn't be through with Leah yet, for we'll find -- that sometime later, Leah would conceive again. And it would be at this time, that she'd bored Jacob his sixth son, which in turn, gave him ten sons in total. And Leah would name this child "Zebulun" -- for his name meant (dwelling or honor.) And this is why we now find Leah saying: "God has presented me with a precious gift. This time my husband will treat me with honor because I have borne him six sons." -- Genesis 30:20
And God still wasn't done, for He would also bless Leah with the honor of bearing Jacob a daughter as well. And they would named her "Dinah." Now it's important to remember her name, for she will be involved, in a somewhat tragic account a little later on. But personally, I find it very interesting -- that it was Leah, who ended up giving birth to two more children for Jacob? And that Rachel hasn't yet, given birth to one, that she can actually call her own. Also know, that I believe, that it was a huge mistake for Rachel to turn to the "mandrake plant" for help, instead of trusting on God.
In the next Bible Study Online Article:
Now that Leah holds a significant child-bearing advantage, how will Rachel respond? Know that "Team Leah" now holds an eight to two advantage over "Team Rachel" -- when it comes to sons. "Team Leah" also holds a one to nothing advantage, when it comes to daughters as well. Will God continue to keep Rachel barren, or will He finally answer her prayers, and give her a child that she can call her own?
May God blessings be upon you, and thank you for your support
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