Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 30:29-30, 32-34

29 And he said unto him, Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy cattle was with me.

30 For it was little which thou hadst before I came, and it is now increased unto a multitude; and the Lord hath blessed thee since my coming: and now when shall I provide for mine own house also?

32 I will pass through all thy flock to day, removing from thence all the speckled and spotted cattle, and all the brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and of such shall be my hire.

33 So shall my righteousness answer for me in time to come, when it shall come for my hire before thy face: every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and brown among the sheep, that shall be counted stolen with me.

34 And Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to thy word.

Jacob had wanted to leave Laban’s employ, and Laban instead told him to name his price and stay. Rather than declare a clear sum, Jacob proposed a transaction of uncertain quantities. He would continue to care for and increase Laban’s herd, and after doing so he would separate all of the speckled and striped cattle for himself. If that happened to be a hundredth of the flock he would only have a hundredth, if it was half he would have half.

Laban heard the offer and he agreed. In time he would realize that that was a very poor decision. He had signed a blank check, and Jacob would use cunning tactics to siphon much of the man’s wealth into his own pocket. Laban would have been far better off to just let Jacob go when he first requested it.

And that reveals an important failing in Laban’s reasoning. He saw that Jacob was blessed of God, and he wanted to manipulate that gift for his own benefit. But we should not try to contort the vessels of God to our own will. We will end up worse off than we were before.

Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 30:14-15, 17, 19, 21

14 And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son’s mandrakes.

15 And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son’s mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son’s mandrakes.

17 And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son.

19 And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son.

21 And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah.

This incident of Rachel trading a night with Jacob for Reuben’s mandrakes is very similar to Esau giving up his birthright for Jacob’s mess of pottage. All Rachel wanted was to have a nice fruit, but she ended up extending her sister’s branch beyond her own.

It’s also interesting to note that previously Leah “had left bearing,” but now she was fertile once more. I can’t help but think that this would have been a particularly hard thing for Rachel to witness. Her sister that had initially been able to have children finally came into the same state of no longer being able to, only to have that ability returned to her out of the blue. Leah had twice received that which Rachel longed for even once!

But this humbling experience was the last one Rachel had to endure before finally receiving her own blessing. And while she would never bear as many sons as her sister, she would give birth to the choicest of them all.