A Daily Genesis

Genesis 30:7-16

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 30:7-8 . . Rachel's maid Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. And Rachel said; A fateful contest I waged with my sister; yes, and I have prevailed. So she named him Naphtali.[/B]

rayyyrrr! scratch! Man that woman was scrappy! No second place winner; Rachel would keep kicking at you even if her arms were pinned down on the mat. Move over Chyna! (Chyna used to be a WWF professional female wrestler)

"Naphtali" is from [I]Naphtaliy[/I] (naf-taw-lee') which means: my wrestling. Not just any wrestling, but "my" wrestling. Apparently Rachel took things very personal. The bitter rivalry between her and Leah had become the total focus of Rachel's life.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 30:9 . .When Leah saw that she had stopped bearing, she took her maid Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as concubine.[/B]

Since Jacob favored Rachel, when did he find time for Leah and Zilpah? Well; don't women have a certain time of the month? It was very unsanitary in those days to sleep with women during their period and, in fact, was later forbidden by the laws of the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God. (Lev 15:19-24, 18:19)

So every month, like clockwork, Jacob was forced to sleep with Leah whether he liked it or not. I guess he could have slept on the couch, but that would look stupid. So Leah got a shot at him at least one week a month. And she made the most of it, you can be sure of that! So now she farmed him out to Zilpah's bed for that week to see what would happen. If Rachel could have children by her maid, then by golly Leah was going to do it too. Boy, those sisters were really at war!

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 30:10-11 . . And when Leah's maid Zilpah bore Jacob a son, Leah said: What luck! So she named him Gad.[/B]

Gad is from [I]gad[/I] (gawd) which means: a troop. (chuckle) Leah was having enough boys to field a recon squad.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 30:12-13 . .When Leah's maid Zilpah bore Jacob a second son, Leah declared: What fortune! meaning, Women will deem me fortunate. So she named him Asher.[/B]

Well; what had the local women been deeming her up till then? Women can be so cruel to each other. Leah wasn't attractive, and she was getting up in years before she met Jacob. Women in Leah's neighborhood very likely made her the object of sneering gossip: "Oh, here comes that old maid. Hasn't she found a husband yet? Poooooor thing; tsk." And they would put on their best pity faces for Leah as she walked by.

The name "Asher" is from [I]'Asher [/I](aw-share') which means: happy.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 30:14 . . Once, at the time of the wheat harvest, Reuben came upon some mandrakes in the field and brought them to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah: Please give me some of your son's mandrakes.[/B]

Mandrake is the common name for any of a genus of herbs. The species to which the name is particularly applied has two varieties, vernal and autumnal, both native to the Mediterranean and Himalayan regions and especially to Greece. The whole plant has a fetid odor. As late as the Middle Ages, a dose of the oddly shaped root was sometimes given to patients as a narcotic before surgical operations. In the United States, mayapple is often called mandrake.

The mandrake has traditionally been an object of superstition, largely because of the resemblance of its forked root to the human figure. Used as an aphrodisiac, the mandrake was also variously regarded as a charm for pregnancy-- a sort of fertility drug --also for invulnerability, and for discovering treasure.

Leah certainly didn't need mandrakes to have children. She was doing just fine without a charm or a fertility drug. But she may have wanted them around the house for medicinal purposes and home remedies. Rueben was trained to recognize mandrakes and he brought them home because he knew his mom would want them: and of course Rachel would want them too because she was infertile.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 30:15a . . But she said to her: Was it not enough for you to take away my husband, that you would also take my son's mandrakes?[/B]

Of the two sisters, Leah is the only one to label Jacob "my" husband. Personally, I don't think Rachel ever really thought too much of Jacob.

One of the very first social skills children learn from their parents is sharing. Jacob's family was so bitterly divided that his wives, two blood kin sisters, were not even disposed to display even the simplest of graces towards each other. In other words, Leah was saying: if you want some mandrakes, go out and find your own!

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 30:15b-16 . . Rachel replied: I promise, he shall sleep with you tonight, in return for your son's mandrakes. When Jacob came home from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said: You are to sleep with me, for I have hired you with my son's mandrakes. And he lay with her that night.[/B]

Haw! Jacob became a gigolo in his own home. His wives were not only fighting amongst themselves because of him, but they were bartering for him like a commodity too. Jacob was sure in a pickle. He was probably like most men; just wanting peace and quiet in his own home. If that's what the women arranged for him that night, well alright; if it made them happy and kept the noise down then what the hey.

You would think the home life of the patriarchs would be the most sterling role models you could ever want. But no. They were actually pretty disappointing. And why was that? Becuz they were people. They weren't a celestial breed of supernatural beings whose home planet was located out in space somewhere between the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud.

No, the patriarchs didn't fall down from Jupiter as a superior race of extragalactic agents, not did they draft in on the tail of a comet and drop off in the land of Palestine. None of that. They were just as human as anybody else and they were all slaves to human proclivities and predilections right along with the rest of the Adams' family.

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