At the end of Jacob’s life, he only had curses for his firstborn, Reuben. And rightly so, because Reuben slept with one of his father’s wives– Bilhah. We blame Reuben for doing such a horrible thing. However, a tiny – not often talked about – incident in Reuben’s childhood shows that Reuben’s failure as an adult is a result of failed parenting.
Genesis 30:14 | “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 your son’s mandrakes.'”
The above scripture looks harmless. Until you realise that mandrakes here means “love plants”. A herbal drug which is an aphrodisiac – that is, stimulates sexual desire – and also a fertility drug. Hence barren Rachel’s request for it.
As a child, Reuben handled love potions and we don’t see Leah or even Jacob rebuke him for it. Little wonder, his crime against his father was of a sexual nature. Train up your child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.