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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.

Mandrake plants

Joseph's cup

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's family

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.

Jacob's family tree


The Bible use of the word spirit

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:

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