There is a lot of trickery going on between wives and wives, Jacob and his father-in-law/uncle and just in general. We find Rachel and Leah both take on the practice of their grandmother-in-law Sarah by offering their slave women to their husband in order to produce children. The difference, though, is that these children who are produced are counted in as part of the twelve tribes of Israel. For me it is completely fascinating that we know that many of these women probably came from Egypt, which was a region then, as it is now, of people who have very dark skin compared to our European ancestry. So these children of Jacob would have been the color of the rainbow and it must have been a beautiful sight to see as they represented all the people of the world. But it also reminds us that the Jewish people represent not just those from European descent, but most of whom come from African descent.
The story of the mandrakes is one of my favorite non-sequitur events in all of Scripture, especially how Leah comes out to Jacob and explains it. So here is Jacob who has been hard at work all day and is coming home for his dinner when his wife comes out to him and states: “You must come in to me for I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” It worked, he went in with her and lay with her, so I guess she won that round. But that is what is depicted, this competition between wives so that the husband would be more pleased with them than the other one.
Then we find the competition between Jacob and Laban. Laban is shifty, I told you liked him, and he takes away all of the livestock that were supposed to go to Jacob. But Jacob was not about to be outdone so he arranges it so that all of the livestock would become his. He especially arranged it so that the strongest and the best of the livestock would become his. He also ends up winning this round and becomes extraordinarily wealthy. We do not hear that it is at the expense of Laban, I think he also has become wealthy by then.
The stage is set for Jacob to leave.