Genesis 30 – 31
These chapters are reasonably self explanatory, the two wives compete to make children for Jacob, Leah pretty much wins and so Rachel sends in the servant to do it for her, just like Sarah did, and of course Leah responds in kind.
We see Jacob doing some pretty odd stuff to make speckled spotted and striped goats so he can prosper of the deal he made with Laban. Laban obviously tried to make the deal nul and void by sending all the relevant sheep off with his sons.
Rachel steals the household god’s of her father when they run away. She then sits on them and tells them she’s menstruating so they won’t expect her to stand up. All in all, it doesn’t seem like Rachel and Jacob are what you’d expect from God’s chosen people. Of course as we carry on, we see that God’s chosen people get worse, if anything.
While God seems to condone the polygamy of the Old Testament, we can see from what is included in the text that polygamous families do seem to have their own special version of dysfunctional. So it’s no surprise when we find Jesus condemning the practise later on.
Mandrake root is shaped like a male sexual organ, and the idea that such things act as an aphrodisiac is quite common, and even found it’s way into medieval herbal medicine. Asparagus and rhino horn as aphrodisiacs show that the idea hasn’t really gone anywhere.
The importance of the mandrake root to Rebekah is obvious and she ends up trading sex with Jacob for it. The plan backfires and Leah has more children. Eventually (probably without the mandrake root’s help) manages to have Joseph who becomes Jacob’s favourite and ends up being a bit of a spoilt brat.
Jacob and Laban make a treaty and agreee to leave each other alone. It’s odd that they even got the chance, since Laban was told to say nothing to Jacob, which of course he does. We, of course, don’t know if anything bad befell Laban because the story then follows Jacob.
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