Jacob, who seems to have a weak character anyway, can just be used as a bet in the quarrel between his two wives. Nowhere do we read of a powerful action to call them to order, he does not say a word. He neglects his position as head of the family. He avoids the problems in this whole unsavory history. If you do not take God’s institution seriously, you also have no regard for other responsibilities.
The wives and children do not go to Jacob with their difficulties. They do everything themselves. Rachel applies a new trick. In her superstition, she believes that the mandrakes or love-apples help to achieve her coveted goal of having children. This is what Reuben, the son of Leah, brings home. It is possible that it has been thought that erotic feelings and fertility are created when eating these apples.
Who educated Reuben about this, what does he intend to do with it? Do we educate our children, or do they get it on the street? Let us have an open ear for what our children come home with, with what kind of talk, and take that as an opportunity to educate them. From Genesis 35 is the cautious conclusion to be drawn that Reuben has not been able to deal with his sexual feelings as God wants it (Gen 35:2222It came about while Israel was dwelling in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine, and Israel heard [of it]. Now there were twelve sons of Jacob—). In his father’s house he didn’t have the good examples in this either.
Rachel ‘buys’ Leah’s love-apples with the ‘payment’ that Leah can ‘use’ Jacob again. She superstitiously believes that these love-apples will free her from her infertility. Lea also acts out of superstition. Both women are working with tricks to acquire blessings.
When a son is born by Leah’s ‘hired’ sexual intercourse with Jacob, she crookedly argues that God has rewarded her, for “Issachar” means ‘reward’. At the same time God stands above this carnal act and follows His own path of grace. God hears, not because of her way of doing things, but despite her way of doing things. When Leah gets another son, she calls him “Zebulun”, which means “dwell”, in the expectation that Jacob will finally give in and dwell with her.
After six sons, Leah had a daughter as the seventh child. She calls her “Dinah”, which means ‘right’. We don’t hear much about Dinah. She only appears in Genesis 34, in which she plays a leading role (Gen 34:1-341Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the daughters of the land.2When Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he took her and lay with her by force.3He was deeply attracted to Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the girl and spoke tenderly to her.4So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, “Get me this young girl for a wife.”5Now Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter; but his sons were with his livestock in the field, so Jacob kept silent until they came in.6Then Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him.7Now the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard [it]; and the men were grieved, and they were very angry because he had done a disgraceful thing in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, for such a thing ought not to be done.8But Hamor spoke with them, saying, “The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter; please give her to him in marriage.9Intermarry with us; give your daughters to us and take our daughters for yourselves.10Thus you shall live with us, and the land shall be [open] before you; live and trade in it and acquire property in it.”11Shechem also said to her father and to her brothers, “If I find favor in your sight, then I will give whatever you say to me.12Ask me ever so much bridal payment and gift, and I will give according as you say to me; but give me the girl in marriage.”13But Jacob’s sons answered Shechem and his father Hamor with deceit, because he had defiled Dinah their sister.14They said to them, “We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised, for that would be a disgrace to us.15Only on this [condition] will we consent to you: if you will become like us, in that every male of you be circumcised,16then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters for ourselves, and we will live with you and become one people.17But if you will not listen to us to be circumcised, then we will take our daughter and go.”18Now their words seemed reasonable to Hamor and Shechem, Hamor’s son.19The young man did not delay to do the thing, because he was delighted with Jacob’s daughter. Now he was more respected than all the household of his father.20So Hamor and his son Shechem came to the gate of their city and spoke to the men of their city, saying,21“These men are friendly with us; therefore let them live in the land and trade in it, for behold, the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters in marriage, and give our daughters to them.22Only on this [condition] will the men consent to us to live with us, to become one people: that every male among us be circumcised as they are circumcised.23Will not their livestock and their property and all their animals be ours? Only let us consent to them, and they will live with us.”24All who went out of the gate of his city listened to Hamor and to his son Shechem, and every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city.25Now it came about on the third day, when they were in pain, that two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, each took his sword and came upon the city unawares, and killed every male.26They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah from Shechem’s house, and went forth.27Jacob’s sons came upon the slain and looted the city, because they had defiled their sister.28They took their flocks and their herds and their donkeys, and that which was in the city and that which was in the field;29and they captured and looted all their wealth and all their little ones and their wives, even all that [was] in the houses.30Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me odious among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites; and my men being few in number, they will gather together against me and attack me and I will be destroyed, I and my household.”31But they said, “Should he treat our sister as a harlot?”). She does not appear in the blessing of Jacob.