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Genesis 30

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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.
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Jacob’s Children
1When Rachel saw that she could not bear children to Jacob, Rachel envied her sister. And she said to Jacob, “Give me children—if not, I will die!” 2And Jacob became angry#Literally “became hot of nose” with Rachel. And he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” 3Then she said, “Here is my servant girl Bilhah; go in to her that she may bear children as my surrogate.#Literally “upon my knees” Then I will even have children#Literally “be built up” by her.” 4Then she gave him Bilhah, her female servant, as a wife, and Jacob went in to her 5And Bilhah conceived and gave birth to a son for Jacob. 6Then Rachel said, “God has judged me, and has also heard my voice, and has given me a son.” Therefore she called his name Dan. 7And Bilhah, Rachel’s servant, conceived again and bore a second son to Jacob. 8And Rachel said, “I have struggled a mighty struggle with my sister and have prevailed.” And she called his name Naphtali. 9When Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children, she took Zilpah her female servant and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10And Zilpah, the female slave of Leah, bore a son to Jacob. 11Then Leah said, “Good fortune!” And she called his name Gad. 12And Zilpah, Leah’s female servant, bore a second son to Jacob. 13Then Leah said, “How happy am I! For women have called me happy.” So she called his name Asher.
14And in the days of the wheat harvest, Reuben went and found mandrakes in the field and he brought them to Leah his mother. And Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” 15And she said to her, “Is your taking my husband such a small thing that you will also take the mandrakes of my son?” Then Rachel said, “Then he may sleep with you tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.” 16When Jacob came in from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him. And she said, “Come in to me, for I have hired#Literally “I have fully paid for” you with my son’s mandrakes.” And he slept with her that night. 17And God listened to Leah and she conceived and gave birth to a fifth son for Jacob. 18Then Leah said, “God has given me my wage since I gave my servant girl to my husband.” And she called his name Issachar. 19And Leah conceived again and gave birth to a sixth son for Jacob. 20And Leah said, “God has endowed me with a good gift. This time my husband will acknowledge me, because I bore him six sons.” And she called his name Zebulun. 21And afterward she gave birth to a daughter. And she called her name Dinah. 22Then God remembered Rachel and listened to her, and God opened her womb. 23And she conceived and gave birth to a son. And she said, “God has taken away my disgrace.” 24And she called his name Joseph, saying, “Yahweh has added to me another son.”
Jacob’s Prosperity
25And it happened that as soon as Rachel had given birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away that I may go to my place and my land. 26Give me my wives and my children for which I have served you, and let me go. For you yourself know my service that I have rendered to you.” 27But Laban said to him, “Please, if I have found favor in your eyes, I have learned by divination that Yahweh has blessed me because of you.” 28And he said, “Name your wage to me and I will give it.” 29Then he said to him, “You yourself know how I have served you and how your livestock have been with me.#I.e., “How well they have done under my care” 30For you had little before me, and it has increased abundantly. And Yahweh has blessed you wherever I turned.#Literally “to my foot” So then, when shall I provide for my own family also?” 31And he said, “What shall I give you?” And Jacob said, “Do not give me anything. If you will do this thing for me, I will again feed your flocks and keep them. 32Let me pass through all your flocks today, removing all the speckled and spotted sheep from them, along with#Or “and” every dark-colored sheep among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats. That#Or “it” shall be my wages. 33And my righteousness will answer for me later#Literally “on the day tomorrow” when you come concerning my wages before you. Every one that is not speckled or spotted among the goats, or dark-colored among the sheep shall be stolen if it is with me.” 34Then Laban said, “Look! Very well. It shall be according to your word.” 35But that day he#That is, Laban removed the streaked and spotted male goats and all the speckled and spotted female goats, all that had white on it, and every dark-colored ram, and put them in the charge of his sons.#Literally “he gave into the hands of his sons” 36And he put a journey of three days between him and Jacob, and Jacob pastured the remainder of Laban’s flock. 37Then Jacob took fresh branches of poplar, almond, and plane trees and peeled white strips on them, exposing the white which was on the branches. 38And he set the branches that he had peeled in front of the flocks, in the troughs and in the water containers. And they were in heat when they came to drink. 39And the flocks mated by the branches, so the flocks bore streaked, speckled, and spotted. 40And Jacob separated the lambs and turned the faces of the flocks toward the streaked and all the dark-colored in Laban’s flocks. And he put his own herds apart, and did not put them with the flocks of Laban. 41And whenever any of the stronger of the flocks were in heat, Jacob put the branches in full view#Literally “before the eyes of” of the flock in the troughs that they might mate among the branches. 42But with the more feeble of the flock he would not put them there. So the feebler were Laban’s and the stronger were Jacob’s. 43And the man became exceedingly#Literally “very, very” rich and had large flocks, female slaves, male slaves, camels, and donkeys.