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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
1When Rachel saw that she bore no children for Jacob, Rachel was jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, “Give me sons—if there are none, I’ll die!”
2But Jacob became furious with Rachel and said, “Am I, instead of God, the one who withheld from you the fruit of the womb?”
3So she said, “Here’s my maid-servant Bilhah. Go to her and let her give birth on my knees, so that from her I may also build a family.”
4Then she gave her maid-servant Bilhah to him for a wife, and Jacob went to her.
5Bilhah became pregnant and gave birth to a son for Jacob.
6So Rachel said, “God has judged my cause and also heard my voice—and given me a son.” Therefore she named him Dan.
7Then Rachel’s female servant became pregnant again and gave birth to a second son for Jacob.
8So Rachel said, “I’ve surely wrestled greatly with my sister — also I’ve won.” So she named him Naphtali.
9Now Leah saw that she stopped having children, so she took Zilpah her female servant and gave her to Jacob as a wife.
10Then Zilpah, Leah’s female servant, gave birth to a son for Jacob.
11Leah said, “How fortunate!” So she named him Gad.
12Then Zilpah, Leah’s female servant, gave birth to a second son for Jacob.
13Leah said, “How happy am I, for daughters have called me happy.” So she named him Asher.
14Now during the days of the wheat harvest, Reuben went and found mandrakes in the field and he 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, “Wasn’t it enough that you took my husband away? You’d also take away my son’s mandrakes?” So Rachel said, “That being so, let him lie with you tonight, in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.”
16So when Jacob came from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him, and she said, “You must come to me. For I’ve actually hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he lay with her that very night.
17Moreover, God heard Leah, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a fifth son for Jacob.
18Leah said, “God gave me my reward because I gave my female servant to my husband.” So she named him Issachar.
19Then Leah became pregnant again and gave birth to a sixth son for Jacob.
20Leah said, “God has presented me a good gift. This time my husband will honor me for I’ve borne six sons for him.” So she named him Zebulun.
21Afterwards she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.
22Then God remembered Rachel and God listened to her and opened her womb.
23Then she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. So she said, “God has taken away my disgrace.”
24She named him Joseph saying, “May Adonai add another son for me.”
Jacob Outwits Laban
25Now it was after Rachel gave birth to Joseph that Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away so that I can go to my place and to my land.
26Give me my wives and my children for whom I’ve served you, and let me go. For you yourself know my labor—that I’ve served you.”
27But Laban said to him, “If I’ve found favor in your eyes—I’ve looked for good omens, and Adonai has blessed me because of you.”
28Moreover he said, “Name your own price and I’ll pay it.”
29Then he said to him, “You yourself know how I’ve served you and how your livestock fared with me.
30For you had very little before I came, and it has been busting at the seams in abundance. So Adonai blessed you with my every step. So now, when am I myself going to make something for my household also?”
31Then he said, “What can I pay you?” Jacob said, “You don’t need to pay me anything. If you will do this one thing for me, I will shepherd your flock again and watch it:
32let me pass through your flock today, removing every colorfully spotted lamb from there and every dark-colored lamb among the sheep as well as the colorfully spotted among the goats—and that will be my salary.
33So tomorrow my honesty will testify on my behalf when you come to check on my salary you agreed to. Every one that isn’t colorfully spotted among the goats or dark-colored among the sheep with me, it is stolen.”
34So Laban said, “All right! May it be according to your word.”
35On that day he removed the colorfully striped and colorful billy goats as well as all the colorfully spotted goats—everyone with white on it—and every dark-colored one among the lambs, and he put them in the hand of his sons.
36Then he put a three-day’s journey between them and Jacob, while Jacob was shepherding Laban’s remaining flocks.
37But Jacob took fresh white poplar, almond, and plane tree branches, peeled away white stripped sections on them, exposing the white of the branches.
38Then he set the branches he had peeled in front of the flocks in the drinking troughs and watering channels where the flocks come to drink. Since they were in heat when they came to drink,
39the flocks mated near the branches, and the flocks gave birth to striped, spotted and colorful ones.
40Now Jacob separated the lambs and set the faces of the flocks toward the striped ones as well as all the dark-colored ones among Laban’s flocks. Then he set aside the herds for himself and did not put them with Laban’s flocks.
41Whenever the strong flocks mated, Jacob put the branches in the watering troughs before the eyes of the flocks, to have them mate near the branches.
42But when the flocks were sickly, he did not put the branches down—so the sickly ones became Laban’s and the stronger ones became Jacob’s.
43And the man grew exceedingly prosperous and had numerous flocks, along with female and male servants, camels and donkeys.