Mandrakes are the roots of the Mandragora officinarum, a member of the potato family. It is a common plant all over Palestine, growing particularly in the spring and ripening about the time of the wheat harvest.
The meanings of Jacob's old and new names may give us a clue as to why his name was changed. Jacob means heel catcher or supplanter. It implies getting the better of someone else by devious means.
In Jacob's early life we can see this trait in him. His brother Esau complained about him:
In ancient Egypt, it was thought that the future could be foretold by looking at how liquids move in a cup.
So it would have been regarded as a serious offence to steal the means whereby a ruler of Egypt could foretell the future.
There is no hint in the record that Joseph ever did use his cup for this purpose. From what we are told about Joseph it is highly unlikely.
Jacob had two wives, Leah and Rachel. Leah had Zilpah as a maid and Rachel had Bilhah. The chart below shows the order in which Jacob's sons were born to Jacob by his wives and their maids.
The word Hebrew comes from a root word meaning to stand on the other side. Some scholars think that the term was applied to Abram because he crossed the River Euphrates to come to the land of Canaan.
Joshua's review of Israel's history would seem to support this idea as he mentions crossing rivers several times:
The word Antichrist occurs four times in the Bible. The first occurence tells us that there were many antichrists around in John's time in the first century. These antichrists were originally part of the first-century community of believers:
In both the Old and New Testaments, the original Hebrew and Greek words for "spirit" mean "wind" or "breath". The original words are "ruach" and "pneuma". Spirit in the Bible is an unseen power that does things in the same way that wind is unseen, but it makes things move.
The Bible uses the idea of an unseen power in several ways:.
God's Spirit is the unseen power that sustains all life: