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Genesis 30

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1When Rachel realized she was unable to give Jacob any children she was jealous of her sister. She complained to Jacob, “I'll die if you don't give me children!”
2Jacob became angry with Rachel and told her, “Am I God? Do you think I'm the one stopping you having children?”
3“Here's my personal maid Bilhah,” Rachel replied. “Sleep with her and she can have children for me so I'll have a family too.” 4She gave her personal maid Bilhah to him as a wife and Jacob slept with her. 5Bilhah became pregnant and had a son for Jacob. 6Rachel said, “God has judged in my favor! He listened to me and gave me a son.” So she named him Dan.#30:6. Dan means “judge.” 7Rachel's personal maid Bilhah became pregnant again and had second son for Jacob. 8Rachel said, “I've had a hard struggle with my sister, but I've won.” So she named him Naphtali.#30:8. Naphtali means “struggle.”
9Leah realized she wasn't having any more children, so she gave her personal maid Zilpah to Jacob as a wife. 10Zilpah had a son for Jacob. 11Leah said, “I'm really fortunate!” So she named him Gad.#30:11. Gad means “fortunate.” 12Leah's personal maid Zilpah became pregnant again and had a second son for Jacob. 13Leah said, “I'm so happy, and the other women will say I'm happy too!” So she named him Asher.#30:13. Asher means “happy.”
14At the time of the wheat harvest Reuben found some mandrake plants when he was out in the fields. He took them back to his mother Leah. Rachel asked Leah, “Please give me some of the mandrakes your son found.”
15“Aren't you satisfied with stealing my husband?” Leah replied. “Are you going to take my son's mandrakes too?”
“Fine, he can sleep with you tonight if you give me some mandrakes in return,” Rachel responded.
16When Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him. “You have to sleep with me because I've paid for you with my son's mandrakes,” she told him. So he slept with her that night. 17God heard Leah's request, and she became pregnant and had a fifth son for Jacob. 18Leah said, “The Lord has rewarded me for giving my personal maid to my husband.” So she named him Issachar.#30:18. Issachar means “reward.” 19Then Leah became pregnant again and had a sixth son for Jacob. 20Leah said, “God has given me a good gift. Now my husband will honor me because I've given him six sons.” So she named him Zebulun.#30:20. Zebulun is related to both the words for “gift” and “honor.” 21Later she had a daughter she named Dinah.
22Then God paid attention to Rachel and listened to her appeals, and helped her to have children. 23She became pregnant and had a son. “God has removed my disgrace,” she said. 24She named him Joseph,#30:24. Joseph may mean both “may he add,” and “he takes away,” referring to Rachel's “disgrace.” saying, “May the Lord give me an additional son.”
25Once Rachel had given birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Let me leave so I can return to my home and my own country. 26Give me my wives and children because I worked for you to have them. Let me go now because you know very well how much work I've done for you.”
27“Please be so kind as to stay,” Laban replied, “because I have discovered#30:27. “Discovered”: or “learned by divination.” that the Lord has blessed me because of you.” 28Then Laban continued, “Tell me how much to pay you and I'll give it to you.”
29“You certainly know how much work I've done for you, and how well your flocks have done under my care. 30You hardly had anything before I arrived, but now you have so much! The Lord has blessed you through what I've done. When am I going to be able to provide for my own family?”
31“Well, what do you propose I give you?” Laban asked again.
“You don't have to give me anything,” Jacob replied. “If you want to do something for me, then how about this: I'll go on looking after your flocks, making sure they're fed. 32Let me go through your flocks today and take all the sheep that are speckled or spotted, and all the dark ones, as well as all the speckled and spotted goats. They'll be my wages. 33In the future you'll be able to prove that I've been honest. When you check my flock, any goats that don't have speckles or spots, or any sheep that aren't dark will be considered stolen from you.”
34“Very good,” Laban agreed. “We'll do as you say.” 35However, the same day Laban went and removed all the striped and spotted male goats, all the speckled and spotted female goats, and all the dark sheep. He had his sons look after them and sent them away— 36a three day journey between them and Jacob, while Jacob was looking after the rest of Laban's flocks.
37Then Jacob cut some sticks from poplar, almond, and plane trees that had white wood under the bark. He peeled off some of the bark, making the sticks look streaked with white. 38He put the sticks he'd peeled in the water troughs where the flocks came to drink because that's where they mated. 39The flocks mated in front of the sticks and gave birth to young that were streaked, speckled, and spotted. 40Jacob separated all these ones out. Then he made his flock face towards those in Laban's flock that were streaked and dark. This is the way he kept his flocks apart from Laban's flock.
41When the strong females were ready to breed, Jacob put the sticks in the troughs where the flocks could see them when they mated. 42He didn't do this for the weaker females. The weaker ones went to Laban, and the strong ones went to Jacob. 43In this way Jacob became an extremely rich man with large flocks, and many male and female slaves, camels, and donkeys.
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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.