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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.
30
1Rachel saw that she was not giving Jacob any children. She became jealous of her sister Leah. So Rachel said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I will die!”
2Jacob became angry with Rachel and said, “I am not God. He is the one who has caused you to not have children.”
3Then Rachel said, “You can have my maid Bilhah. Sleep with her, and she will have a child for me.#30:3 she will have a child for me Literally, “she will give birth on my knees, and I, too, will have a son through her.” Then I can be a mother through her.”
4So Rachel gave Bilhah to her husband Jacob. He had sexual relations with Bilhah. 5She became pregnant and gave birth to a son for Jacob.
6Rachel said, “God has listened to my prayer. He decided to give me a son.” So she named this son Dan.#30:6 Dan This is like the Hebrew word meaning “to decide” or “to judge.”
7Bilhah became pregnant again and gave Jacob a second son. 8Rachel said, “I have fought hard to compete with my sister, and I have won.” So she named that son Naphtali.#30:8 Naphtali This is like the Hebrew word meaning “my struggle.”
9Leah saw that she could have no more children. So she gave her slave girl Zilpah to Jacob. 10Then Zilpah had a son. 11Leah said, “I am lucky.” So she named the son Gad.#30:11 Gad This is like the Hebrew word meaning “lucky” or “fortunate.” 12Zilpah gave birth to another son. 13Leah said, “I am very happy! Now women will call me happy.” So she named that son Asher.#30:13 Asher This is like the Hebrew word meaning “blessed” or “happy.”
14During the wheat harvest Reuben went into the fields and found some special flowers.#30:14 special flowers Or “mandrakes.” The Hebrew word means “love plant.” People thought these plants could help women have babies. He brought them to his mother Leah. But Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s flowers.”
15Leah answered, “You have already taken away my husband. Now you are trying to take away my son’s flowers.”
But Rachel answered, “If you will give me your son’s flowers, you can sleep with Jacob tonight.”
16Jacob came in from the fields that night. Leah saw him and went out to meet him. She said, “You will sleep with me tonight. I have paid for you with my son’s flowers.” So Jacob slept with Leah that night.
17Then God allowed Leah to become pregnant again. She gave birth to a fifth son. 18She said, “God has given me a reward because I gave my slave to my husband.” So she named her son Issachar.#30:18 Issachar This is like the Hebrew word meaning “reward” or “salary.”
19Leah became pregnant again and gave birth to a sixth son. 20She said, “God has given me a fine gift. Now surely Jacob will accept me, because I have given him six sons.” So she named this son Zebulun.#30:20 Zebulun This is like the Hebrew word meaning “praise” or “honor.”
21Later, Leah gave birth to a daughter. She named her Dinah.
22Then God heard Rachel’s prayer and made it possible for Rachel to have children. 23She became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She said, “God has taken away my shame.” 24Rachel named the son Joseph,#30:23-24 Joseph This is like the Hebrew word meaning “to add.” saying, “May the Lord give me another son.”
Jacob Tricks Laban
25After the birth of Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Now let me go back to my own homeland. 26Give me my wives and my children. I have earned them by working for you. You know that I served you well.”
27Laban said to him, “Please, let me say something. I know#30:27 know Or “guessed,” “divined,” or “concluded.” that the Lord has blessed me because of you. 28Tell me what I should pay you, and I will give it to you.”
29Jacob answered, “You know that I have worked hard for you. Your flocks have grown and been well while I cared for them. 30When I came, you had little. Now you have much, much more. Every time I did something for you, the Lord blessed you. Now it is time for me to work for myself—it is time to do things for my family.”
31Laban asked, “Then what should I give you?”
Jacob answered, “I don’t want you to give me anything! I only want you to let me do this one thing: I will go back and take care of your sheep. 32But let me go through all your flocks today and take every lamb with spots or stripes. Let me take every black young goat and every female goat with stripes or spots. That will be my pay. 33In the future you can easily see if I am honest. You can come to look at my flocks. If I have any goat that isn’t spotted or any sheep that isn’t black, you will know that I stole it.”
34Laban answered, “I agree to that. We will do what you ask.” 35But that day Laban hid all the male goats that had spots. And he hid all the female goats that had spots on them. He also hid all the black sheep. Laban told his sons to watch these sheep. 36So the sons took all the spotted animals and led them to another place. They traveled for three days. Jacob stayed and took care of all the animals that were left.
37Then Jacob cut green branches from poplar and almond trees. He stripped off some of the bark so that the branches had white stripes on them. 38He put the branches in front of the flocks at the watering places. When the animals came to drink, they also mated in that place. 39Then when the goats mated in front of the branches, the young that were born were spotted, striped, or black.
40Jacob separated the spotted and the black animals from the other animals in the flock. He kept his animals separate from Laban’s. 41Any time the stronger animals in the flock were mating, Jacob put the branches before their eyes. The animals mated near those branches. 42But when the weaker animals mated, Jacob did not put the branches there. So the young animals born from the weak animals were Laban’s. And the young animals born from the stronger animals were Jacob’s. 43In this way Jacob became very rich. He had large flocks, many servants, camels, and donkeys.