Genesis 30:14 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 30:14, NIV: "During wheat harvest, Reuben went out into the fields and found some mandrake plants, which he brought to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, 'Please give me some of your son's mandrakes.'"

Genesis 30:14, ESV: "In the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found mandrakes in the field and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”"

Genesis 30:14, KJV: "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."

Genesis 30:14, NASB: "Now in the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found mandrake fruits in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, 'Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.'"

Genesis 30:14, NLT: "One day during the wheat harvest, Reuben found some mandrakes growing in a field and brought them to his mother, Leah. Rachel begged Leah, 'Please give me some of your son's mandrakes.'"

Genesis 30:14, CSB: "Reuben went out during the wheat harvest and found some mandrakes in the field. When he brought them to his mother Leah, Rachel asked, "Please give me some of your son's mandrakes.""

What does Genesis 30:14 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Reuben is Leah's firstborn son (Genesis 29:31–32). It's hard to tell from the chronology how old he is here. Some scholars suggest he may have been less than six years old at this time.

It's possible that Reuben was helping with the wheat harvest when he found these plants known as mandrakes. This perennial plant is thought to be of the mandragora family, with blue flowers and yellow fruit in season. Mandrakes were also thought, apparently, to be an aphrodisiac and perhaps an aid to infertility in women. It's possible that mandrakes were quite rare in this region at this time, making Reuben's discovery quite a find.

This discovery becomes contentious, because sisters Rachel and Leah are engaged in a bitter competition to produce children for their mutual husband, Jacob. Rachel has never herself given birth to children, instead obtaining hers using a cultural law which allowed her to claim the children of her servant, Bilhah (Genesis 30:1–8). Leah, for her part, has stopped conceiving after giving birth to four sons (Genesis 29:31–35). Their interest in these mandrake plants makes perfect sense given their desire to become pregnant, as well as their urge to corner Jacob's affection.

In any case, when Rachel sees or hears that Reuben has brought mandrake plants to his mother Leah, she asks if she can have some of them. Leah's reaction won't be especially polite, but it will reveal just how dysfunctional this family has become.