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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 birth to children for Jacob. So she envied her sister Leah. Rachel said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!”
2Jacob became angry with her. He said, “Can I do what only God can do? He is the one who has kept you from having children.”
3Then Rachel said, “Here is my slave girl Bilhah. Have physical relations with her so she can give birth to a child for me. Then I can have my own family through her.”
4So Rachel gave Bilhah, her slave girl, to Jacob as a wife. And he had physical relations with her. 5She became pregnant and gave Jacob a son. 6Rachel said, “God has declared me innocent. He has listened to my prayer and has given me a son.” So Rachel named this son Dan.# This name means “he has declared innocent.”
7Bilhah became pregnant again and gave Jacob a second son. 8Rachel said, “I have struggled hard with my sister. And I have won.” So she named that son Naphtali.# This name sounds like the Hebrew word for “my struggle.”
9Leah saw that she had stopped having children. So she gave her slave girl Zilpah to Jacob as a wife. 10Then Zilpah had a son. 11Leah said, “I am lucky.” So she named her son Gad.# This name may mean “lucky.” 12Zilpah gave birth to another son. 13Leah said, “I am very happy! Now women will call me happy.” So she named that son Asher.# This name may mean “happy.”
14During the wheat harvest Reuben went into the field and found some mandrake# A plant which was believed to cause a woman to become pregnant. plants. He brought them to his mother Leah. But Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”
15Leah answered, “You have already taken away my husband. Now you are trying to take away my son’s mandrakes.”
But Rachel answered, “If you will give me your son’s mandrakes, you may sleep with Jacob tonight.”
16When Jacob came in from the field that night, Leah went out to meet him. She said, “You will have intimate relations with me tonight. I have paid for you with my son’s mandrakes.” So Jacob slept with her that night.
17Then God answered Leah’s prayer, and she became pregnant again. She gave birth to a fifth son. 18Leah said, “God has given me what I paid for, because I gave my slave girl to my husband.” So Leah named her son Issachar.# This name sounds like the Hebrew word for “paid for.”
19Leah became pregnant again and gave birth to a sixth son. 20She said, “God has given me a fine gift. Now surely Jacob will honor me, because I have given him six sons.” So Leah named the son Zebulun.# This name sounds like the Hebrew word for “honor.”
21Later Leah gave birth to a daughter. She named her Dinah.
22Then God remembered Rachel and answered her prayer. God made it possible for her to have children. 23She became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She said, “God has taken away my shame.” 24She named him Joseph.# This name sounds like the Hebrew word for “he adds.” Rachel said, “I wish the Lord would give me another son.”
Jacob Tricks Laban
25After the birth of Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Now let me go to my own home and country. 26Give me my wives and my children, and let me go. I have earned them by working for you. You know that I served you well.”
27Laban said to him, “If I have pleased you, please stay. I know 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 while I cared for them. 30When I came, you had little. Now you have much. Every time I did something for you, the Lord blessed you. But when will I be able to do something for my own family?”
31Laban asked, “Then what should I give you?”
Jacob answered, “I don’t want you to give me anything. Just do this one thing. Then I will come back and take care of your flocks. 32Today let me go through all your flocks of white sheep and black goats. I will take every spotted or speckled lamb. I will take every black lamb and every spotted or speckled goat. 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 speckled or spotted or any sheep that isn’t black, you will know I stole it.”
34Laban answered, “Agreed! We will do what you ask.” 35But that day Laban took away all the male goats that had streaks or spots. And he took all the speckled and spotted female goats (all those that had white on them). And he took all the black sheep. He told his sons to watch over them. 36Laban took these animals to a place that was three days’ journey away from Jacob. Jacob took care of all the animals that were left.
37So Jacob cut green branches from poplar, almond and plane trees. He peeled 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 there. 39So the goats mated in front of the branches. Then the young that were born were streaked, speckled or spotted. 40Jacob separated the young animals from the others. And he made them face the streaked and dark animals in Laban’s flock. Jacob kept his animals separate from Laban’s. 41When the stronger animals in the flock were mating, Jacob put the branches before their eyes. This was so the animals would mate near the branches. 42But when the weaker animals mated, Jacob did not put the branches there. So the animals born from the weaker animals were Laban’s. And the animals born from the stronger animals were Jacob’s. 43In this way Jacob became very rich. He had large flocks, many male and female servants, camels and donkeys.