Rachel, envious of her sister’s births, angers Jacob by demanding he give her children, when Jacob lays the blame for her closed womb on God. In another common occurrence, Rachel demands that Jacob impregnate her hand maid, and now we are told that Jacob has lain with a woman for the purpose of bearing children.
Sons of Bilnah and Jacob (Words of Rachel who named the sons):
5. Dan – “God hath judge me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son”
6. Naphtali – “With mighty wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and have prevailed”
Rachel claims she has prevailed over Leah despite having to resort to her handmaid for her sons and being outnumbered 4 to 2. Leah, who had left off bearing, answers back by having Jacob impregnate her handmaid, Zilpah.
Son of Zilpah and Jacob (Words of Rachel who named the son):
7. Gad – “Fortunate!”
Reuben, the oldest son, finds mandrakes in the field during wheat harvest and brings them to his mother Leah. His aunt Rachel demands Leah give them to her (they must have had some serious value) and Leah refuses, telling Rachel that not only has she taken her husband, now she wants to take her sons mandrakes. In a telling verse, Rachel offers a trade: Reuben’s mandrakes and Leah is allowed to sleep with Jacob (does this answer the previous question: Was Jacob the father of the first four sons of Leah?)
Genesis 30:16 And Jacob came from the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for I have surely hired thee with my son’s mandrakes. And he lay with her that night.
We are told God hearkened unto Leah (who was no longer able to give birth aka “left off bearing” but now she was?)
Sons of Leah with Jacob (Words of Leah who named the sons:)
8. Issachar – “God hath given me my hire, because I gave my handmaid to my husband”
9. Zebulun – “God hath endowed me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have borne him six sons”
Daughter of Leah (no indication Jacob was the father): Dinah.
God “remembers” Rachel, who has been barren all this time, and opens her womb (no indication Jacob was the father though it’s a good assumption).
10. Joseph – “God hath taken away my reproach; Jehovah add to me another son”
Back to mandrakes: can also be translated as “man dragons”, they seem to be a plant found in parts of the middle east. It could also be a general term for a group of hallucinogenic plants. An internet search will show that some of these tubers called mandrakes actually look like humans. The context of it in this book is unknown, however the idea that Leah would trade mandrakes to Rachel for the privilege of sleeping with her/their husband means that these items were highly valuable to Rachel, enough where she’d let another woman (even though it was his wife) sleep with him. Twice.