ESV - 16 When Jacob came from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, "You must come in to me, for I have hired you with my son's mandrakes." So he lay with her that night.
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According to Ancient beliefs of the time as I have read from a Jewish resource, mandrakes were thought to enhance fertility. Leah's son Reuben found the mandrakes in a field and gave them to his mother. So because Rachel was desperate for them as she was childless, she was willing to let Jacob spend a night with Leah to try and enhance her own chances of falling pregnant if she ate the mandrakes. Jacob obviously favored Rachel over Leah. But because Rachel had not yet conceived and Leah had several children, Jacob probably spent all his nights with Rachel and was no longer visiting Leah because she already had kids. So Rachel in desperation for the fertility enhancing mandrakes, allowed Jacob to spend a night with Leah in exchange for them. These two sisters were jealous of each other over Jacob. Leah was the first wife but unloved by Jacob. Rachel was the favorite wife but childless. So you can imagine that Jacob probably did not want to add to his beloved Rachel's childless anguish by spending any more time with Leah than necessary, since she continued to bear children with ease while Rachel didn't.
The Bible tells us that Leah was not loved, as Jacob had had no intention of marrying her, but was duped by his uncle/father-in-law. He obviously spent time in her bed, as she had 6 of his 12 sons. Most likely, when she bargained with her sister on this occasion, Jacob had been long-absent from her bed, so she made a deal with Rachel for the night.
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