Let's look again at the desperate situation that Rachel found herself in. . . and how she responded to it.
We're going to see that Rachel was a schemer, just as her dad and her husband were!
Let's dive in!
I hope that you have re-read the passages we are studying . . . if you have time to do so, it will help if you read Genesis 29-31. There's a lot there! I found myself going back to the verses and studying them again and again.
We find in these verses that Leah had borne four sons to Jacob, and Rachel was barren. Jacob spent his nights with Rachel, for she it was that he had loved at the well, and done a "second tour of duty" in order to marry. In spite of her spiteful words to him, saying that he needed to give her children, Jacob understood that it was God who planned those new lives, and that only He could bring that to pass.
One thing that we don't see is Jacob praying for Rachel. Remember how Isaac prayed for Rebekah, and then she conceived? Jacob is a man who has been visited by God. He's had a vision from him, of the angels and the heavens. He will wrestle in the future with an angel (possibly the Lord) for a night, determined to receive a blessing from Him -- and he'll receive it. It's hard to see why he would not naturally think of asking Yahweh to intervene and allow Rachel to become pregnant.
But he didn't.
And she grew more desperate.
We noted yesterday that she gave Jacob her maid to sleep with, and that two sons were born. Leah was not to be outdone -- she gave Jacob her maid, too, and two more sons were born.
I'm sure this didn't help Rachel's state of mind . . . now Jacob had four women he was responsible for.
But at least she could be comforted that night after night, Jacob was "home" in her tent.
Next thing we know, Leah's son Reuben finds some mandrakes in the fields. Some what? A little research reveals that mandrake roots were highly regarded in the ancient world as a help for barren women to conceive. It had been a while since Leah was pregnant, so her son brought those to her.
Rachel heard about it, and asked her for some of the mandrakes. Leah snapped at her and said, why should I give you these? You have my husband every night, and you want the mandrakes, too?
Rachel, in her desperation, bargains with Leah. Oy vey. You remember what happens? Instead of calling to the Lord and trusting in him, she makes a deal with her competitor. You can have Jacob for the night, Leah, and I'll take the mandrakes.
Leah is happy.
Rachel is happy.
Jacob sleeps with Leah and she conceives again.
Rachel has the mandrakes and she remains barren.
Well, that story has ended with a resounding thud.
Or has it?
Look at chapter 30, verse 22: "Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and enabled her to conceive."
Does this mean that God had forgotten about Rachel earlier? Nope. God remembers. It's in His nature to remember, because He is faithful. Many times in the Word He is said to remember His covenant or His promises, and He is aware of our hopes and dreams, our desperation and our contentment. Our Father knows all and never loses track of us, or of our needs. When the Bible says, "He remembered," or "He remembers," it means that God acts according to His promises in a way that is evident to us, the tiny mortals that He created. (Grin) God never has had amnesia. It may seem to us that He does things "just in the nick of time," but we must remember that time is very different in His view. He acts out His promises at just the right time.
For Rachel, His action was to, as the Hebrews would say, open her womb. He allowed her to conceive - why was this at just the right time? Because she had finally done the right thing . . . she had prayed and asked Yahweh for what she longed for. The verse says He "listened to her" and so she must have been praying; she finally poured out her heart to her Creator, and asked Him for the blessing of a child.
Rachel, the desperate housewife, was finally pregnant.
We'll finish this week's study of Rachel tomorrow.