Reuben finds some mandrakes for Leah

Genesis 30:14-18. The oldest son of Leah, Reuben, found some mandrakes. The roots of the plants were used to help women conceive. He found them in late spring – early summer, May-June, the time of Pentecost or Shavuot, which was when the wheat harvest was.

There was sister rivalry for Jacob’s affection between the two sisters Leah the older and Rachel the younger and much loved of Jacob. At this point, Leah had given Jacob four sons and was about to add one more, while Rachel was still barren, a great disgrace to a woman in this culture.

All during this time Jacob and his family were working for Laban, the son of Bethuel the Aramean, who lived in the area of Haran, Northwest Mesopotamia, which was a long way from Jacob’s homeland, a long way south in Canaan or Israel.

Rachel was one of the daughters of Laban and a younger sister to Leah.

Background Reading:

Outcome of the Mandrakes found by Reuben

30:14 Some time later, during the wheat harvest season, Reuben went out and found some mandrakes in the field and brought them back for his mother Leah. Then Rachel told Leah, “Please give me your son’s mandrakes.”

15 In response, Leah asked her, “Wasn’t it enough that you’ve taken away my husband? Now you also want to take my son’s mandrakes!”

But Rachel replied, “Okay, let’s let Jacob sleep with you tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.”

16 When Jacob came in from the field that evening, Leah went to meet him and told him, “You’re having sex with me tonight. I traded my son’s mandrakes for you!” So he slept with her that night.

17 God heard what Leah had said, so she conceived and bore a fifth son for Jacob. 18 Then Leah said, “God has paid me for giving my servant to my husband as his wife.” So she named him Issachar.[a]
Genesis 30:14-18
Footnotes: [a] Genesis 30:18 Issachar sounds like the Hebrew for reward.

Other slides in this module: