Rachel

The last of the matriarchs was Jacob's true love.

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Jacob did not hide the fact that he loved Rachel and hated Leah; but it was Leah who gave him sons, while Rachel remained barren. Rachel, childless, became envious of her sister and said to Jacob, "Give me children, or I shall die."

Jacob was angry and answered, "Can I take the place of God, who has denied you fruit of the womb?" Rachel said, "Here is my maid Bilhah. Consort with her, that she may bear on my knees and that through her I too may have children (Genesis 30:1–3)."

Jacob took Bilhah as a concubine; she became pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy to whom Rachel gave the name of Dan. Bilhah became pregnant a second time, and she had another boy, whom Rachel named Naphtali.

One day, Reuben, Leah's eldest son, brought some mandrakes from the field and gave them to his mother. Rachel saw the mandrakes and said to Leah, "Please give me some of your son's mandrakes." Leah answered, "Was it not enough for you to take away my husband, that you would also take my son's mandrakes?"

Rachel replied, "I promise, he shall lie with you tonight, in return for your son's mandrakes." That evening when Jacob returned from working in the field, Leah told him, "You are to sleep with me, for I have hired you with my son's mandrakes (Genesis 30:14–16)."

Leah conceived that night; and when the time came, she gave birth to Issachar, giving him that name, because, she said, "God has given me my reward for having given my maid to my husband (Genesis 30:18)."

Much to her surprise Rachel also became pregnant and gave birth to a son, whom she named Joseph, "God will add," hoping that she would have more children (Genesis 30:24).

Taking Leave of Laban

After the second seven years were over Jacob told Laban, "Give me leave to go back to my own homeland. Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served you, that I may go; for well you know what services I have rendered you."

All the young animals that were born were streaked, speckled, and spotted. In this way, he built up his own flock and became a very wealthy man.

Laban's sons noticed the wealth of Jacob and were jealous. Even Laban, Jacob felt, started treating him differently. Jacob called his wives, Leah and Rachel, and told them that he had dreamed an angel of God appeared to him and told him that God had noticed all that Laban was doing to him and that the time had come for him to return to his native land.

Leah and Rachel answered, "Have we still a share in the inheritance of our father's house? Surely, he regards us as outsiders, now that he has sold us and has used up our purchase price. Truly, all the wealth that God has taken away from our father belongs to us and to our children. Now then, do just as God has told you (Genesis 31:14–16)."

Rachel and the Idols

Jacob gathered all his possessions and his flocks, put his sons and his wives on the camels, and left Paddan-aram. Rachel secretly took her father's idols, taking advantage of the fact that Laban had gone to shear his sheep.

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David Mandel studied at the University of Pennsylvania under Bible scholar Moshe Greenberg, and moved to Israel in 1970, where he founded Computronic Corporation, an Israeli software development company that specializes in biblical software.