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Summary: The story of Rachel and Leah's fight over mandrakes can teach us an important lesson about avoiding conflict!

My wife asked me “What is your sermon on?”

I told her “Rachel and Leah and their argument over Mandrakes” Her response was “Well, How does that apply to my life?”

That's a good question, but I can assure you that the story of Rachel and Leah's fight over mandrakes can teach us an important lesson about avoiding conflict!

Leah responds to Rachel’s request by attacking her for stealing Jacob’s love. We must learn to forgive and not store up our anger in a poison box, waiting to be unleashed.

The TEXT: Read Genesis 30:14-18


Reuben (Leah’s son – the OLDEST). Somewhere between 7-14 years old. Perhaps Leah is already worried that Reuben’s birthright would be stolen. He finds some MANDRAKES:

1. Thought of as an aphrodisiac and aid to fertility.

2. Mentioned only Song of Solomon 7:13 “The mandrakes send out their fragrance, and at our door is every delicacy, both new and old, that I have stored up for you, my lover.” (Song of Solomon 7:13)

3. The Arabs called it the “devil’s apples” and the Greeks nicknamed it “love apple” because of its legendary reputation as an aphrodisiac.

4. Mandrakes are part of SHAKESPEARE PLAYS where they are given mystical or occultic powers.

5. Spoken of in HARRY POTTER –

6. JOSEPHUS – reflects the first century idea that digging when you dig up the root of a mandrake, a demon like character lets out a scream that kills anyone who hears it. Josephus recommended securing a rope around the mandrake and tying it around a dog’s neck. When the dog follows his master, the mandrake will be removed and if the screech is heard, it will kill the dog while saving the master. (Josephus, B. J. vii. 6, ยง 3), quoted in http://www.theodora.com/encyclopedia/m/mandrake.html.

RACHEL thought the MANDRAKES would help her get pregnant.

RACHEL embraces CULTURAL VALUES over God’s Word. This is not the only time that Rachel embraces cultural ideas over confidence in God. In Genesis 31:34 she takes the “household gods.” when leaving for BerSheba

Rachel trusts in good luck charms but NOT in God.

LEAH’S ACCUSATION: Gen 30:15. “Wasn’t it enough that you took away my husband, will you take my son’s mandrakes too?”

YEARS of frustration and anger

RACHEL controlled the bedroom rights.

LEAH is angry and manipulates Jacob’s love.

JUST LIKE US, RACHEL – trusting in her own ways.

LEAH – Waiting for an opportunity and lashing out.

LEAH unleashes her POISON BOX

Reuben is now a young boy or teenager

Leah has not forgotten that she is not loved

She has STORED UP her anger and it comes out when provoked. I call the place in our hearts where we store the hurts and pains of the past our POISON BOX.


Past Hurts


Wounded Pride



“Like a madman shooting firebrands or deadly arrows is a man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I was only joking!” Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down. As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.” (Proverbs 26:18–21)

“The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position.” (James 1:9)

“Do you see a man who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” (Proverbs 29:20)

The Danger of Keeping a POISON BOX

The darts that we store away will eventually be used

When you throw your poison arrows you cannot control where they land or how much damage they cause. “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” (James 3:6)

Once thrown, you cannot take them back. Ben Franklin is attributed with saying, “A slip of the foot you will soon recover, but a slip of the tongue you may never get over.”

The longer you hold your poison, the more it takes control of your life.

But we don't have to keep a poison box! Here are some God Honoring alternatives to storing up past offenses.

1. Overlook Offenses

Proverbs 19:11 A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.

Proverbs 20:3 It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.

Things that should NOT be overlooked (Ken Sande)

Is it (the offense) dishonoring to God?

Is it damaging your relationship? Matt 18:15-20

Is it hurting others? 2 Tim 2:24-26

Is it hurting the offender? Gal 6:1-2; James 5:19-20

Reconciliation. Matt 5:21-24 (you and your brother/ sister)

Negotiation. “A mutually agreed upon third party or method.”

When the two in the dispute attempt to work things out themselves.

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