Gen. 30:14-21 Bargaining for Jacob

            Gen. 30:14 “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.”

            In the above passage we see another turn in the war between the sisters as they bargain over a mandrake for the right to sleep with Jacob.  Rachel wanted one of Leah’s sons mandrakes and Leah wanted to sleep with Jacob.  Thus, the bargain was made and Jacob was informed that he was to lay with Leah because of the bargain.  Thus, the intimacies of Jacob were being traded for the carnal desires of the two sisters.  Consequently, Leah bare the fifth son to Jacob.  She called his name, Issachar, meaning “hire” as she had hired Jacob’s affection for a mandrake.  Subsequently, Leah bare the sixth son to Jacob and called his name “Zebulun” which means “dwell” as Leah thought by having the sixth son that surely Jacob would want to dwell with her rather than Rachel.  Finally, Leah had a daughter and called her name “Dinah.”  We are not given the meaning of the name, Dinah.  As we shall see later, Dinah shall not bear children and thus will not be a continuing part of Jacob’s heritage. 

Gen. 30:22-24  God remembers Rachel

            Gen. 30:22 “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.” 

            In the war between the two sisters, Leah had desperately wanted the affection of her husband Jacob and God gave her an abundance of children.  In contrast, Rachel desperately wanted children and God gave her the affections of Jacob.  Now, God remembers Rachel and gives her a son and she named him “Joseph.”  The word “Joseph” means “adding.” 

            God is merciful and manifests his mercy to both sisters, even though they fought against each other.  Yet the mercies of God are great.  God ultimately gave Rachel what see so desperately wanted and would later add a second child, Benjamin.  In child birth, however, Rachel would die.  At that point, Leah, would get what she so desperately wanted and that is the undivided affection of her husband Jacob.  Both women had acted at times in a morally reprehensible manner, yet God in his mercy and by his grace blessed both women.  When I think about God’s dealings with these two sisters, I am made to think of myself and how that at times I have not been what I should have been, yet God has blessed me according to his mercies and according to his grace.