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Approx 1890 B.C.:  Rachael Purchases A Mandrake From Her Sister Leah

  It is one of the strange little gems in Genesis that the two wives of Jacob, Leah and Rachael, who were sisters to each other, got into a breeding war with each other out of jealousy over Jacobs affections, and also perhaps because it's got to be very hard to be sisters and married to the same man. 

  Leah was the older, but the less preferred by Jacob.  She wanted her husband to favor her though, and she surely did produce a lot of babies for Jacob (who was renamed Israel later in his life, by God.)  She became mother to Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulon, Issachar, and to Jacob's only daughter Dinah as well.  Leah had seven children directly for Jacob, whereas her beautiful sister Rachael only ever had two children directly.  They both had their handmaids produce children for Jacob in this breeding war.  That's how Jacob ended up with 12 sons that became the founders of the 12 tribes of Israel.  Six were from Leah and two from her handmaid Zilpah.  Eventually, two other sons were from Rachael and two more from her hand maid Bilhah.

  But at one point  (Genesis 30:14) a distraught Rachael, faring badly in the breeding war, talked her sister into selling her a plant that Leah's oldest son Reuben had found.  It was a mandrake, and they were supposed to make you more fertile!  Jacob was apparently sleeping with Rachael because he liked her best.  But she couldn't have a baby!  And Leah could have babies, but she could apparently not often get her husband to stay at her tent.  So, Leah made a deal.  In exchange for Jacob staying at her tent for the night, she would allow Rachael to have the mandrake plant, and perhaps increase her chances of getting pregnant, but in the meantime, Leah got a night with Jacob out of the deal.  It worked out for Leah...she got pregnant that night with a 5th son, named Issachar.  Some of the Swiss can count this a lucky break, according to those who say they descend from Issachar!

 I always feel bad for Leah....she tried so hard, it seems, and was appreciated so little.  But, I wasn't there.  And one thing is for sure...Leah had a good number of children, and became the ancestral mother of millions!

  But the mandrake seems to possibly have been a good thing also, though not right away.  Or perhaps it had no affect, but Rachael's luck changed some.  But by the time that a couple of years had gone by, God remembered Rachael and opened her womb.  She became pregnant with her first son, Joseph, through whom all of Jacob's sons would one day be blessed.  Joseph's descendents would become the most blessed of all of Jacob's progeny.  But, Joseph would also  have a hand in bringing all of Egypt into financial bondage to Pharoah one day. 

 Leah's 4th son, Judah, would be the leadership of the Israelites...the strongest from among his  brothers.  His hand would be on his enemies neck, the prophecy in chapter 49 of Genesis said. 

  Joseph would be well advised to defer to Judah in leadership matters, according to some old Jewish writings not in the Bible.  But both Joseph and Judah were to acknowledge the tribe of Levi, and give them obedience in many areas having to do with God, for they...the Levites...had been chosen by God to serve God, and that trumped all things.  But these three, Joseph, the blesssed, Judah, the strong, and Levi, the tribe set aside for God, were chief among equals concerning the sons of Jacob.  Reuben would have been named, since he was first borne, but he made the unfortunate choice of sleeping with Rachael's handmaid Bilhah at a certain point in his life.  She was the concubine of Jacob, and Reuben's brothers Dan and Naphtali were Bilhah's sons.  For this sin...for 'crawling up upon Jacob's couch ' as Jacob phrased it, Reuben lost his place as firstborn and did not prosper as much after that. (Genesis 49:3) 

  But, what are those mysterious mandrake plants?  Do we know?  The answer is that yes, it appears that we probably know what plant it was.  And it is still used today in much the same way in certain places.  It's a 'poisonous' member of the nightshade family.  And it has a nefarious side:  it has been used in witchcraft and by certain false religions at times!  And if you are not familiar with mandrakes you may be surprised.  It is one very strange plant.  They have a root somewhat like multiple carrots growing outwards and downwards, nearly joined at the top.  Sometimes they have the most peculiar resemblance to human beings (who, coincidentally, were also formed from the dirt!) 

  Here's a picture of a mandrake that I found on the internet.  Is this picture altered?  I don't know, but I don't think so.  Even though you'd think it has to be altered, if you look at a lot of pictures of mandrake roots you truly see what an odd...almost creepy looking...root that it is.  Look for yourself!  I can easily understand why they might have thought that this plant might affect fertility!  It's one of nature's truly strange marvels.  But again...it's poisonous, so don't be making any home fertility concoctions! 

 A mandrake root

Below is another picture whose history I do not know, and I do not know if people somehow fashion the human facial features onto them, or if a certain number of them just grow to become this way. But they're an extremely peculiar plant in either case.

Three mandrakes

 

 

Hello,

    I personally believe that realizing how many great deeds of God have actually occurred through out history will lead some people to be saved giving their life to Christ.  If you agree, then please, take the time to be a 'missionary', to love your neighbor enough to care about their soul.  Please mention and recommend visiting the Deeds of God website on any social media sites that you belong to.  Tell a favorite account to your friends or family, and tell them where you read it.  To know God is to stand in awe of Him, but too few people know Him today.  Accounts like these are yet another way to come to know Jesus and the Holy Father, and the Spirit of Truth that helps us understand.  Thank you.  Dan Curry

 

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