7 Rachel’s servant Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. 8 Then Rachel said, “I have had a great struggle with my sister, and I have won.” So she named him Naphtali.
9 When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she took her servant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10 Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a son. 11 Then Leah said, “What good fortune!” So she named him Gad.
12 Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. 13 Then Leah said, “How happy I am! The women will call me happy.” So she named him Asher.
14 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.”
15 But she said to her, “Wasn’t it enough that you took away my husband? Will you take my son’s mandrakes too?”
“Very well,” Rachel said, “he can sleep with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.”
16 So when Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him. “You must sleep with me,” she said. “I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he slept with her that night. Genesis 30:7-16
If by now these characters haven’t embarrassed you, then you’ve been watching too much drama in the movies.
You need a diagramming chart to figure out who’s who.
You have sisters at each other’s throats, wives trading roots of a plant for sexual favors, and an obedient husband who just goes with the flow.
Unfortunately I don’t remember reading about all of this when I was growing up. Or perhaps fortunately.
Once again, I ask, what are we to do with this mess? How do we sort it all out in our minds?
Fortunately, that’s not our job to figure it all out and determine who are the good and bad guys in all of this.
Making sausage is extremely messy and most people do not want to know how it is made. They just want it cooked and on the dinner table at the right time.
So it is with the making of the nation of Israel. These are quite literally the 12 tribes we will hear about over and over again throughout Scriptures. They had flaws, blemishes, and outright sins on their record. They are not the picture we have of a model family in any sense of the word, but they were chosen people. We would do well to remind ourselves of their failings, and later we’ll see many of their triumphs.
But for now, they are in the making a ton of sausage, much like we experience in our lives. We’re at different stages of the process, but none of us ready to be packaged and taken home.