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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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Problems between Rachel and Leah
1Rachel was very jealous of Leah for having children, and she said to Jacob, “I'll die if you don't give me some children!”
2But Jacob became upset with Rachel and answered, “Don't blame me! I'm not God.”
3“Here, take my servant Bilhah,” Rachel told him. “Have children by her, and I'll let them be born on my knees to show that they are mine.”
4Then Rachel let Jacob marry Bilhah, 5and they had a son. 6Rachel named him Dan,#30.6 Dan: In Hebrew “Dan” means “judge.” because she said, “God has answered my prayers. He judged in my favor and has given me a son.” 7When Bilhah and Jacob had a second son, 8Rachel said, “I've struggled hard with my sister, and I've won!” So she named the boy Naphtali.#30.8 Naphtali: In Hebrew “Naphtali” means “struggle” or “contest.”
9When Leah realized she could not have any more children, she let Jacob marry her servant Zilpah, 10and they had a son. 11“I'm really lucky,” Leah said, and she named the boy Gad.#30.11 Gad: In Hebrew “Gad” means “lucky.” 12When they had another son, 13Leah exclaimed, “I'm happy now, and all the women will say how happy I am.” So she named him Asher.#30.13 Asher: In Hebrew “Asher” means “happy.”
Love Flowers
14During the time of the wheat harvest, Reuben found some love flowers#30.14 love flowers: Also called “mandrakes,” a flowering plant that was thought to give sexual powers. and took them to his mother Leah. Rachel asked Leah for some of them, 15but Leah said, “It's bad enough that you stole my husband! Now you want my son's love flowers too.”
“All right,” Rachel answered. “Let me have the flowers, and you can sleep with Jacob tonight.”
16That evening when Jacob came in from the fields, Leah told him, “You're sleeping with me tonight. I hired you with my son's love flowers.”
They slept together that night, 17and God answered Leah's prayers by giving her a fifth son. 18Leah shouted, “God has rewarded me for letting Jacob marry my servant,” and she named the boy Issachar.#30.18 Issachar: In Hebrew “Issachar” sounds like “reward.”
19When Leah had another son, 20she exclaimed, “God has given me a wonderful gift, and my husband will praise me for giving him six sons.” So she named the boy Zebulun.#30.20 Zebulun: In Hebrew “Zebulun” sounds like “give” and “praise.” 21Later, Leah had a daughter and named her Dinah.
22-23Finally, God remembered Rachel—he answered her prayer by giving her a son. “God has taken away my disgrace,” she said. 24“I'll name the boy Joseph,#30.24 Joseph: In Hebrew “Joseph” sounds like “take away” and “add.” and I'll pray that the Lord will give me another son.”
Jacob and Laban
25After Joseph was born, Jacob said to Laban, “Release me from our agreement#30.25 Release … agreement: Jacob had agreed to work seven years for each of Laban's two daughters (see 29.18). and let me return to my own country. 26You know how hard I've worked for you, so let me take my wives and children and leave.”
27-28But Laban told him, “If you really are my friend, stay on, and I'll pay whatever you ask. I'm sure#30.27,28 I'm sure: The Hebrew says he found this out by some kind of magic, such as fortunetelling. the Lord has blessed me because of you.”
29Jacob answered:
You've seen how hard I've worked for you, and you know how your flocks and herds have grown under my care. 30You didn't have much before I came, but the Lord has blessed everything I have ever done for you. Now it's time for me to start looking out for my own family.
31“How much do you want me to pay you?” Laban asked.
Then Jacob told him:
I don't want you to pay me anything. Just do one thing, and I'll take care of your sheep and goats. 32Let me go through your flocks and herds and take the sheep and goats that are either spotted or speckled#30.32 spotted or speckled: In ancient times sheep were usually white, and goats were usually black or dark brown; only a few sheep would have black spots, and only a few goats would have white spots. and the black lambs. That's all you need to give me. 33In the future you can easily find out if I've been honest. Just look and see if my animals are either spotted or speckled, or if the lambs are black. If they aren't, they've been stolen from you.
34“I agree to that,” was Laban's response. 35Before the end of the day, Laban had separated his spotted and speckled animals and the black lambs from the others and had put his sons in charge of them. 36Then Laban made Jacob keep the rest of the sheep and goats at a distance of three days' journey.
37Jacob cut branches from some poplar trees and from some almond and evergreen trees. He peeled off part of the bark and made the branches look spotted and speckled. 38Then he put the branches where the sheep and goats would see them#30.38 would see them: It was believed by some that what sheep and goats saw at the time of breeding would determine the color of their young. while they were drinking from the water trough. The goats mated there 39in front of the branches, and their young were spotted and speckled.
40Some of the sheep that Jacob was keeping for Laban were already spotted. And when the others were ready to mate, he made sure that they faced in the direction of the spotted and black ones. In this way, Jacob built up a flock of sheep for himself and did not put them with the other sheep.
41When the stronger sheep were mating near the drinking place, Jacob made sure that the spotted branches were there. 42But he would not put out the branches when the weaker animals were mating. So Jacob got all of the healthy animals, and Laban got what was left. 43Jacob soon became rich and successful. He owned many sheep, goats, camels, and donkeys, as well as a lot of slaves.