I can’t imagine all Jacob went through with the mess he had on his hands with all his baby mamas! As I mentioned in my previous post, Jasher indicates that Leah and Rachel were twins. To complicate matters more, the book of Jubilee indicates that their handmaidens – Bilhah (Rachel) and Zilpah (Leah) – were also sisters (not twins though). So Jacob was married to two sets of sister. Talk about family drama!
But I have to be honest, I feel like Jacob brought some of it on himself. It feels a bit like he allows them to run rampant over him. Let me show you what I mean, but before I do it helps to know mandrakes were supposed to help with conception. With that said, here we are in Genesis 30:14-16 (VOICE) [emphasis mine].
14 When it came time to harvest the wheat, Reuben went out and found some mandrakes in the field and brought them to his mother Leah. Rachel heard about this and approached her sister.
Rachel: Would you please give me some of the mandrakes your son found?
Leah: 15 You know it is no small matter that you’ve stolen the attentions of my husband. Now you want my son’s mandrakes too?
Rachel: Then he can sleep with you tonight in exchange for some of your son’s mandrakes!
16 So when Jacob came from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him.
Leah: Tonight you must sleep with me because I have hired you for a good price—some of my son’s mandrakes.
So he slept with her that night…
Ok so I’m not even addressing the fact that he’s gone along with this excessive rivalry that included him bedding not just both sisters, but both their maids too. But what on earth is Jacob thinking here? Rachel essentially just whored him out and he just goes along with it? What is he thinking? I can’t help feeling like things in his household would’ve gone a LOT smoother if he’d taken the lead and laid down the law stopping the petty rivalries (which then extended to the sons). It brings to mind this verse in Titus 2:4-5 (NIV):
Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
Of course to be subject would imply the husband is doing some leading, which it doesn’t seem like Jacob is in this chapter. But again, I am grateful God likes to remind us through these stories of imperfect humans that He is able to achieve His purposes in spite of our humanness complete with crazy mistakes and misunderstandings. So grateful for His grace!
And I’ll end on this thought, this story is also a reminder of the truth of Psalm 133:1 (NIV):
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!