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Genesis 30

30
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

Genesis 30

30
Chapter 30
Jacob's family
1Rachel now knew that she could not give birth to any children for Jacob. So, she became jealous of her sister. Rachel said to Jacob, ‘Please give me children. If not, I will die.’ #30:1 In Old Testament times, it was very important for women to have children. 2Jacob became angry with Rachel. He said, ‘Am I God? God has stopped you from giving birth to children!’ 3Rachel said, ‘Take my servant Bilhah and have sex with her. Then she can have children on my behalf. Through her, I can have a family.’ #30:3 This is like what Sarah did with Hagar.
4So Rachel gave her servant Bilhah to Jacob to become his wife. 5Bilhah became pregnant and she gave birth to a son for Jacob. 6Rachel said, ‘God has shown that I am right. He has listened to me and he has given a son to me.’ Because of this, she called the boy Dan. 7Rachel's servant Bilhah became pregnant again. She gave birth to another son for Jacob. 8Rachel said, ‘I have fought with my sister and I have won.’ She called this son Naphtali.
9Leah saw that she had stopped having children. So she gave her servant Zilpah to Jacob as a wife. 10Zilpah became pregnant and she gave birth to a son for Jacob. 11Leah said, ‘This is very good.’ She called the boy Gad. 12Leah's servant Zilpah gave Jacob another son. 13Leah said, ‘I am very happy! Women will call me happy.’ So she called this boy Asher.
14It was the time to get the wheat in from the fields. Reuben went out and he found some mandrake plants in a field. He took them to his mother, Leah. Rachel said to Leah, ‘Please give me some of the mandrake plants that your son gave to you.’ #30:14 Rachel thought that the mandrake plants would help her to have a child. That is why she wanted them. But only God could give her a child. 15But Leah said to Rachel, ‘You took my husband from me. That was bad enough! Now you want to take my son's mandrakes too!’ Rachel said, ‘OK. If you give me some of your son's mandrakes, Jacob can sleep with you tonight.’
16In the evening, Jacob came in from the fields. Leah went out to meet him. She said, ‘You must sleep with me tonight. I have paid for you with my son's mandrakes.’ So Jacob slept with Leah that night. 17God listened to Leah and she became pregnant again. She gave birth to a fifth son for Jacob. 18Leah said, ‘God has helped me because I gave my servant to Jacob as a wife.’ She called her son Issachar.
19Leah became pregnant again and she gave Jacob a sixth son. 20Leah said, ‘God has given me this valuable gift. Now my husband will respect me because I have given him six sons.’ She called this son Zebulun.
21Some time passed and Leah became pregnant again. She gave birth to a daughter. She called her daughter Dinah.
22Then God decided to help Rachel. He listened to her and he let her become pregnant. 23She became pregnant and she gave birth to a son. Rachel said, ‘I am not ashamed any more because God has given me a son.’ 24Rachel called her son Joseph. She said, ‘I pray that the Lord will give me another son.’
Jacob's sheep
25After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob spoke to Laban. He said, ‘Let me go away now. I want to go home to my own land. 26Let me take my wives and my children with me. I have worked for you so that I could have them. You must let me leave, because you know how much I have worked for you.’
27Laban said to Jacob, ‘If you are happy with me then please stay here. I know that the Lord has blessed me because you are here with me. I have used magic to know that.’ 28Laban also said to Jacob, ‘Tell me how much I should pay you for your work. I will pay whatever you want.’
29Jacob replied, ‘You know how much I have worked for you. You know that you have many more animals now, because I have taken care of them. 30Before I came, you had only a few sheep and goats. Now you have many more valuable things. Wherever I have worked for you, the Lord has blessed you. But now I want to work to help my own family. I must do that soon.’
31Laban asked, ‘What must I give to you?’ Jacob replied, ‘You do not need to give me anything. But just do one thing for me. Then I will still take care of your animals. I will make sure that nothing bad happens to them. 32Do this: Let me go among all your animals today. Let me remove any animal that has a mark on it or that has more than one colour on its skin. I will also take any black lambs. That is what you will give me for my work. 33In the future, this will show that I am honest. You can check on my animals whenever you want to. I will only have sheep or goats that have marks on their skin, or black lambs. If I have any other animals, you may call me a robber.’ 34Laban said, ‘I agree to this. It will be as you have said.’
35On that same day, Laban went to his animals. He quickly removed all the goats that had marks, both male and female goats. He also removed all the black lambs. He gave these animals to his sons to take care of. #30:35 Laban has deceived Jacob. He has taken all the animals that should be Jacob's. He has given them to his own sons to take care of. He sends them away before Jacob knows what he has done. 36He sent those animals a long way away. It would take Jacob 3 days to reach them. While this was happening, Jacob was taking care of Laban's other animals.
37Jacob took branches that he had cut from trees. He took them from poplar trees, almond trees and plane trees. He cut white lines on the branches. He stripped off the outside part of the wood to show white lines. 38Then he put the branches in the place where there were big bowls of water for the animals to drink. They were in front of the animals when they came to drink. The animals could see the branches when it was the right time for them to have sex together. 39When they had sex in front of the branches, they gave birth to babies that had skin with marks. 40Jacob kept these lambs separate from Laban's animals. He took the rest of Laban's female animals to join with the animals that had marks or were black. In that way he got more animals that would belong to him. He kept them separate from Laban's animals.
41Jacob waited until the stronger female animals were ready to have sex. Then he put the special branches in front of them, near the big bowls of water. Then these animals would see the branches when they had sex together. 42But if the female animals were weak, he did not put the branches in front of them when they had sex. As a result, the weak animals would belong to Laban, but Jacob would keep the strong animals.
43In this way, Jacob became very rich. Many sheep and goats belonged to him. He also had female servants and male servants, as well as camels and donkeys.