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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
The Sons of Jacob
1Now when Rachel saw that she had not borne Jacob any children, #Lit Rachelshe became jealous of her sister; and she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I am going to die.” 2Then Jacob’s anger burned against 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 female slave Bilhah: have relations with her that she may give birth #I.e., Prob. referring to a ritual of adoptionon my knees, so that #Lit from her I too may be builtby her I too may obtain a child.” 4So she gave him her slave Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob had relations with her. 5Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. 6Then Rachel said, “God has #Lit judgedvindicated me, and has indeed heard my voice and has given me a son.” Therefore she named him #I.e., He judgedDan. 7And Rachel’s slave Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. 8So Rachel said, “With #Lit wrestlings of Godmighty wrestling I have #Heb niphtal, related to Naphtaliwrestled with my sister, and I have indeed prevailed.” And she named him Naphtali.
9When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she took her slave Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10And Leah’s slave Zilpah bore Jacob a son. 11Then Leah said, “#Lit With fortune! Some ancient versions Fortune has comeHow fortunate!” So she named him #I.e., FortuneGad. 12And Leah’s slave Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. 13Then Leah said, “#Lit With my happiness!Happy am I! For women will call me happy.” So she named him #I.e., happyAsher.
14Now in the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found mandrake fruits in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” 15But she said to her, “Is it a small matter for you to take my husband? And would you take my son’s mandrakes also?” So Rachel said, “Therefore he may sleep with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.” 16When Jacob came in from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must have relations with me, for I have indeed hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he slept with her that night. 17God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18Then Leah said, “God has given me my #Heb sachar, related to Issacharreward, because I gave my slave to my husband.” So she named him Issachar. 19And Leah conceived again and bore a sixth son to Jacob. 20Then Leah said, “God has endowed me with a good gift; finally my husband #Heb zabal, related to Zebulunwill acknowledge me as his wife, because I have borne him six sons.” So she named him Zebulun. 21Afterward she gave birth to a daughter, and named her Dinah.
22Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. 23So she conceived and gave birth to a son, and said, “God has taken away my disgrace.” 24And she named him Joseph, saying, “May the Lord #Lit add to me; Heb Josephgive me another son.”
Jacob Prospers
25Now it came about, when Rachel had given birth to Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, so that I may go to my own place and to my own country. 26Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me go; for you yourself know my service which I have #Lit servedrendered you.” 27But Laban said to him, “If #Lit I have found favor in your eyesit pleases you at all, stay with me; I have determined by divination that the Lord has blessed me on your account.” 28He #Lit saidcontinued, “Name me your wages, and I will give them.” 29But Jacob said to him, “You yourself know how I have served you and how your livestock have #Lit beenfared with me. 30For you had little before #Lit meI came, and it has #Lit broken forthincreased to a multitude, and the Lord has blessed you #Lit at my footwherever I turned. But now, when shall I provide for my own household also?” 31So he said, “What shall I give you?” And Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything. If you will do this one thing for me, I will again pasture and keep your flock: 32let me pass through your entire flock today, removing from there every speckled or spotted sheep and every black sheep among the lambs, and the spotted or speckled among the goats; and those shall be my wages. 33So my #Lit righteousnesshonesty will answer for me later, when you come concerning my #Lit wages which are before youwages. Every one that is not speckled or spotted among the goats, or black among the lambs, if found with me, will be considered stolen.” 34Laban said, “#Lit Behold, would that it might beGood, let it be according to your word.” 35So he removed on that day the striped or spotted male goats, and all the speckled or spotted female goats, every one with white on it, and all the black ones among the sheep, and put them in the #Lit handcare of his sons. 36And he put a distance of three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks.
37Then Jacob #Lit took to himselftook fresh rods of poplar, almond, and plane trees, and peeled white stripes in them, exposing the white that was #Lit onin the rods. 38He set the rods which he had peeled in front of the flocks in the drinking troughs, that is, in the watering channels where the flocks came to drink; and they mated when they came to drink. 39So the flocks mated by the rods, and the flocks delivered striped, speckled, and spotted offspring. 40Then Jacob separated the lambs, and #Lit set the facesmade the flocks face toward the striped and all the black in the flock of Laban; and he put his own herds apart, and did not put them with Laban’s flock. 41Moreover, whenever the stronger of the flock were mating, Jacob would place the rods in the sight of the flock in the drinking troughs, so that they would mate by the rods; 42but when the flock was sickly, he did not put them in; so the sickly were Laban’s, and the stronger were Jacob’s. 43So the man #Lit broke forthbecame exceedingly prosperous, and had large flocks, and female and male servants, and camels and donkeys.