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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 could not have children for Jacob, and she became jealous of her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!”
2Jacob became angry with Rachel and asked, “Can I take the place of God, who has kept you from having children?”
3She said, “Here’s my servant Bilhah. Sleep with her. She can have children for me, and I can build a family for myself through her.” 4So she gave him her slave Bilhah as his wife, and Jacob slept with her. 5Bilhah became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Jacob. 6Rachel said, “Now God has judged in my favor. He has heard my prayer and has given me a son.” So she named him Dan [He Judges].
7Rachel’s slave Bilhah became pregnant again and gave birth to a second son for Jacob. 8Rachel said, “I have had a great struggle  #30:8 Or “I have struggled the struggles of God.” with my sister, and I have won!” So she named him Naphtali [My Struggle].
9When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she took her slave Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as his wife. 10Leah’s slave Zilpah gave birth to a son for Jacob. 11Leah said, “I’ve been lucky!” So she called him Gad [Luck].
12Leah’s slave Zilpah gave birth to her second son for Jacob. 13Leah said, “I’ve been blessed! Women will call me blessed.” So she named him Asher [Blessing].
14During the wheat harvest Reuben went out into the fields and found some mandrakes.#30:14 Mandrakes were considered a source of fertility for women. He brought them to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”
15Leah replied, “Isn’t it enough that you took my husband? Are you also going to take my son’s mandrakes?”
Rachel said, “Very well, Jacob can go to bed with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.”
16As Jacob was coming in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him. “You are to sleep with me,” she said. “You are my reward for my son’s mandrakes.” So he went to bed with her that night. 17God answered Leah’s prayer. She became pregnant and gave birth to her fifth son for Jacob. 18Leah said, “God has given me my reward because I gave my slave to my husband.” So she named him Issachar [Reward].
19She became pregnant again and gave birth to her sixth son for Jacob. 20Leah said, “God has presented me with a beautiful present. This time my husband will honor me because I have given him six sons.” So she named him Zebulun [Honor].
21Later she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.
22Then God remembered Rachel. God answered her prayer and made it possible for her to have children. 23So she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. Then she said, “God has taken away my disgrace.” 24She named him Joseph [May He Give Another] and said, “May the Lord give me another son.”
Jacob’s Flocks Prosper
25After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Let me go home to my own country. 26Give me my wives and my children for whom I’ve worked, and let me go. You know how much work I’ve done for you.”
27Laban replied, “Listen to me. I’ve learned from the signs I’ve seen that the Lord has blessed me because of you.” 28So he offered, “Name your wages, and I’ll pay them.”
29Jacob responded, “You know how much work I’ve done for you and what has happened to your livestock under my care. 30The little that you had before I came has grown to a large amount. The Lord has blessed you wherever I’ve been. When can I do something for my own family?”
31Laban asked, “What should I give you?”
“Don’t give me anything,” Jacob answered. “Instead, do something for me, then I’ll go back to taking care of and watching your flocks again. 32Let me go through all of your flocks today and take every speckled or spotted sheep, every black lamb, and every spotted or speckled goat. They will be my wages. 33My honesty will speak for itself whenever you come to check on my wages. Any goat I have that isn’t speckled or spotted or any lamb that isn’t black will be considered stolen.”
34Laban answered, “Agreed. We’ll do as you’ve said.” 35However, that same day Laban took out the striped and spotted male goats, all the speckled and spotted female goats (every one with white on it), and every black lamb. He had his sons take charge of them. 36He traveled three days away from Jacob. Jacob continued to take care of the rest of Laban’s flocks.
37Then Jacob took fresh-cut branches of poplar, almond, and plane trees and peeled the bark on them in strips of white, uncovering the white which was on the branches. 38He placed the peeled branches in the troughs directly in front of the flocks, at the watering places where the flocks came to drink. When they were in heat and came to drink, 39they mated in front of the branches. Then they gave birth to young that were striped, speckled, or spotted.
40Jacob separated the rams from the flock and made the rest of the sheep face any that were striped or black in Laban’s flocks. So he made separate herds for himself and did not add them to Laban’s flocks. 41Whenever the stronger of the flocks were in heat, Jacob would lay the branches in the troughs in front of them so that they would mate by the branches. 42But when the flocks in heat were weak, he didn’t lay down the branches. So the weaker ones belonged to Laban and the stronger ones to Jacob. 43As a result, Jacob became very wealthy. He had large flocks, male and female slaves, camels, and donkeys.