A small, perennial plant (Manhydrahygora officinarum) native to the Middle East. Although not grown for food, its root and berries are edible. The Ancient Near East viewed it as an aphrodisiac and fertility drug. It is often called love apple or devil's apple. According to
Genesis 30:14-16, a barren Rachel bargained with Reuben (Leah's oldest son) for some mandrakes which he had found. Leah, however, produced the children (Genesis 30:17-21). Only when God “remembered Rachel” did she bear Joseph (Genesis 30:24). Thus Israel learned that God controlled fertility; superstition and human manipulation cannot supply what God chooses not to.
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'MANDRAKE'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".