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Genesis 30

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1When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she envied her sister. “Give me sons, or I will die!” #1Sm 1:5–6 she said to Jacob.
2Jacob became angry with Rachel and said, “Am I in the place of God? He has withheld offspring#30:2 Lit the fruit of the womb from you!”
3Then she said, “Here is my maid Bilhah. Go sleep with her, and she’ll bear children for me#30:3 Lit bear on my knees#Gn 50:23 so that through her I too can build a family.” 4So Rachel gave her slave Bilhah to Jacob as a wife, and he slept with her. 5Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. 6Rachel said, “God has vindicated me; yes, he has heard me and given me a son,” so she named him Dan.#30:6 In Hb, the name Dan sounds like “has vindicated,” or “has judged.”
7Rachel’s slave Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. 8Rachel said, “In my wrestlings with God,#30:8 Or “With mighty wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister and won,” and she named him Naphtali.#30:8 In Hb, the name Naphtali sounds like “my wrestling.”
9When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she took her slave Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10Leah’s slave Zilpah bore Jacob a son. 11Then Leah said, “What good fortune!” #30:11 Alt Hb tradition, LXX, Vg read “Good fortune has come!” and she named him Gad.#30:11 = Good Fortune
12When Leah’s slave Zilpah bore Jacob a second son, 13Leah said, “I am happy that the women call me happy,”#Lk 1:48 so she named him Asher.#30:13 = Happy
14Reuben went out during the wheat harvest and found some mandrakes in the field.#Sg 7:13 When he brought them to his mother Leah, Rachel asked, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”
15But Leah replied to her, “Isn’t it enough that you have taken my husband? Now you also want to take my son’s mandrakes?”
“Well then,” Rachel said, “he can sleep with you tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.”
16When Jacob came in from the field that evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must come with me, for I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So Jacob slept with her that night.
17God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18Leah said, “God has rewarded me for giving my slave to my husband,” and she named him Issachar.#30:18 In Hb, the name Issachar sounds like “reward.”
19Then Leah conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son. 20“God has given me a good gift,” Leah said. “This time my husband will honor me because I have borne six sons for him,” and she named him Zebulun.#30:20 In Hb, the name Zebulun sounds like “honored.” 21Later, Leah bore a daughter and named her Dinah.
22Then God remembered Rachel. He listened to her and opened her womb.#Gn 29:31 23She conceived and bore a son, and she said, “God has taken away my disgrace.”#Is 4:1; Lk 1:25 24She named him Joseph#30:24 = He Adds and said, “May the Lord add another son to me.”#Gn 35:17
Jacob’s Flocks Multiply
25After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me on my way so that I can return to my homeland. 26Give me my wives and my children that I have worked for, and let me go.#Gn 29:18,20,27; Hs 12:12 You know how hard I have worked for you.”
27But Laban said to him, “If I have found favor with you, stay. I have learned by divination that the Lord has blessed me because of you.” 28Then Laban said, “Name your wages, and I will pay them.”#Gn 29:15; 31:7,41
29So Jacob said to him, “You know how I have served you and how your herds have fared with me.#Gn 31:6,38–40 30For you had very little before I came, but now your wealth has increased. The Lord has blessed you because of me. And now, when will I also do something for my own family?”
31Laban asked, “What should I give you?”
And Jacob said, “You don’t need to give me anything. If you do this one thing for me, I will continue to shepherd and keep your flock. 32Let me go through all your sheep today and remove every sheep that is speckled or spotted, every dark-colored sheep among the lambs, and the spotted and speckled among the female goats. Such will be my wages. 33In the future when you come to check on my wages, my honesty will testify for me. If I have any female goats that are not speckled or spotted, or any lambs that are not black, they will be considered stolen.”
34“Good,” said Laban. “Let it be as you have said.”
35That day Laban removed the streaked and spotted male goats and all the speckled and spotted female goats — every one that had any white on it — and every dark-colored one among the lambs, and he placed his sons in charge of them. 36He put a three-day journey between himself and Jacob. Jacob, meanwhile, was shepherding the rest of Laban’s flock.
37Jacob then took branches of fresh poplar, almond, and plane wood, and peeled the bark, exposing white stripes on the branches. 38He set the peeled branches in the troughs in front of the sheep — in the water channels where the sheep came to drink. And the sheep bred when they came to drink. 39The flocks bred in front of the branches and bore streaked, speckled, and spotted young.#Gn 31:10–12 40Jacob separated the lambs and made the flocks face the streaked sheep and the completely dark sheep in Laban’s flocks. Then he set his own stock apart and didn’t put them with Laban’s sheep.
41Whenever the stronger of the flock were breeding, Jacob placed the branches in the troughs, in full view of the flocks, and they would breed in front of the branches. 42As for the weaklings of the flocks, he did not put out the branches. So it turned out that the weak sheep belonged to Laban and the stronger ones to Jacob. 43And the man became very rich.#30:43 Lit The man spread out very much, very much He had many flocks, female and male slaves, and camels and donkeys.#Gn 12:16; 13:2; 24:35; 26:13–14; 30:30
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The Sons of Jacob
1When Rachel saw that she conceived no children for Jacob, she envied her sister, and said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I will die.” 2Then Jacob became furious with Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has denied you children?” 3She said, “Here, take my maid Bilhah and go in to her; and [when the baby comes] she shall #This ritual symbolized that the wife was providing the child for her husband through a surrogate mother.deliver it [while sitting] on my knees, so that by her I may also have children [to count as my own].” 4So she gave him Bilhah her maid as a [#I.e. concubine (see note 22:24).secondary] wife, and Jacob went in to her. 5Bilhah conceived and gave birth to a son for Jacob. 6Then Rachel said, “God has judged and vindicated me, and has heard my plea and has given me a son [through my maid].” So she named him Dan (He judged). 7Bilhah, Rachel’s maid, conceived again and gave birth to a second son for Jacob. 8So Rachel said, “With mighty wrestlings [in prayer to God] I have struggled with my sister and have prevailed.” So she named him Naphtali (my wrestlings).
9When Leah saw that she had stopped bearing [children], she took Zilpah her maid and gave her to Jacob as a [#I.e. concubine (see note 22:24).secondary] wife. 10Zilpah, Leah’s maid, gave birth to a son for Jacob. 11Then Leah said, “How fortunate!” So she named him Gad (good fortune). 12Zilpah, Leah’s maid, gave birth to a second son for Jacob. 13Then Leah said, “I am happy! For women will call me happy.” So she named him Asher (happy).
14Now at the time of wheat harvest Reuben [the eldest child] went and found some #A narcotic plant thought by ancient peoples to be an aphrodisiac or cure for infertility.mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” 15But Leah answered, “Is it a small thing that you have taken my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes also?” So Rachel said, “Jacob shall sleep with you tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.” 16When Jacob came in from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must sleep with me [tonight], for I have in fact hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he slept with her that night. 17God listened and answered [the prayer of] Leah, and she conceived and gave birth to a fifth son for Jacob. 18Then Leah said, “God has given me my reward because I have given my maid to my husband.” So she named him #Related to Hebrew for “reward.”Issachar. 19Leah conceived again and gave birth to a sixth son for Jacob. 20Then Leah said, “God has endowed me with a good [marriage] gift [for my husband]; now he will live with me [regarding me with honor as his wife], because I have given birth to six sons.” So she named him #Possibly related to Hebrew for “home” or “elevated place.”Zebulun. 21Afterward she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.
22Then God remembered [the prayers of] Rachel, and God thought of her and opened her womb [so that she would conceive]. 23So she conceived and gave birth to a son; and she said, “God has taken away my disgrace and humiliation.” 24She named him Joseph (may He add) and said, “May the Lord add to me another son.”
Jacob Prospers
25Now when Rachel had given birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, that I may go back to my own place and to my own country. 26Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me go; for you know the work which I have done for you.” 27But Laban said to him, “If I have found favor in your sight, stay with me; for I have learned [from the omens in divination and by experience] that the Lord has blessed me because of you.” 28He said, “Name your wages, and I will give it [to you].” 29Jacob answered him, “You know how I have served you and how your possessions, your cattle and sheep and goats, have fared with me. 30For you had little before I came and it has increased and multiplied abundantly, and the Lord has favored you with blessings wherever I turned. But now, when shall I provide for my own household?” 31Laban asked, “What shall I give you?” Jacob replied, “You shall not give me anything. But if you will do this one thing for me [which I now propose], I will again pasture and keep your flock: 32Let me pass through your entire flock today, removing from it every speckled and spotted sheep and every dark or black one among the lambs and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and those shall be my wages. 33So my honesty will be evident for me later, when you come [for an accounting] concerning my wages. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats and dark among the young lambs, if found with me, shall be considered stolen.” 34And Laban said, “Good! Let it be done as you say.” 35So on that same day Laban [secretly] removed the male goats that were streaked and spotted and all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one with white on it, and all the dark ones among the sheep, and put them in the care of his sons. 36And he put [a distance of] three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob was then left in care of the rest of Laban’s flock.
37Then Jacob took branches of fresh poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white stripes in them, exposing the white in the branches. 38Then he set the branches which he had peeled in front of the flocks in the watering troughs, where the flocks came to drink; and they mated and conceived when they came to drink. 39So the flocks mated and conceived by the branches, and the flocks #The success of Jacob’s action was undoubtedly the answer to an unrecorded prayer. Later (31:7-12), Jacob gives God the credit for what happened, citing a special dream that he had from God.gave birth to streaked, speckled, and spotted offspring. 40Jacob separated the lambs, and [as he had done with the peeled branches] he made the flocks face toward the streaked and all the dark or black in the [new] flock of Laban; and he put his own herds apart by themselves and did not put them [where they could breed] with Laban’s flock. 41Furthermore, whenever the stronger [animals] of the flocks were breeding, Jacob would place the branches in the sight of the flock in the watering troughs, so that they would mate and conceive among the branches; 42but when the flock was sickly, he did not put the branches there; so the sicker [animals] were Laban’s and the stronger Jacob’s. 43So Jacob became exceedingly prosperous, and had large flocks [of sheep and goats], and female and male servants, and camels and donkeys.