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Genesis 30

30
Problems between Rachel and Leah
1Rachel was very jealous of Leah for having children, and she said to Jacob, “I'll die if you don't give me some children!”
2But Jacob became upset with Rachel and answered, “Don't blame me! I'm not God.”
3“Here, take my servant Bilhah,” Rachel told him. “Have children by her, and I'll let them be born on my knees to show that they are mine.”
4Then Rachel let Jacob marry Bilhah, 5and they had a son. 6Rachel named him Dan,#30.6 Dan: In Hebrew “Dan” means “judge”. because she said, “God has answered my prayers. He has judged me and given me a son.” 7When Bilhah and Jacob had a second son, 8Rachel said, “I've struggled hard with my sister, and I've won!” So she named the boy Naphtali.#30.8 Naphtali: In Hebrew “Naphtali” means “struggle” or “contest”.
9When Leah realized she could not have any more children, she let Jacob marry her servant Zilpah, 10and they had a son. 11“I'm really lucky,” Leah said, and she named the boy Gad.#30.11 Gad: In Hebrew “Gad” means “lucky”. 12When they had another son, 13Leah exclaimed, “I'm happy now, and all the women will say how happy I am.” So she named him Asher.#30.13 Asher: In Hebrew “Asher” means “happy”.
Love flowers
14During the time of the wheat harvest, Reuben found some love flowers#30.14 love flowers: Also called “mandrakes”, a flowering plant that was thought to give sexual powers. and took them to his mother Leah. Rachel asked Leah for some of them, 15but Leah said, “It's bad enough that you stole my husband! Now you want my son's love flowers too.”
“All right,” Rachel answered. “Let me have the flowers, and you can sleep with Jacob tonight.”
16That evening when Jacob came in from the fields, Leah told him, “You're sleeping with me tonight. I hired you with my son's love flowers.”
They slept together that night, 17and God answered Leah's prayers by giving her a fifth son. 18Leah shouted, “God has rewarded me for letting Jacob marry my servant,” and she named the boy Issachar.#30.18 Issachar: In Hebrew “Issachar” sounds like “reward”.
19When Leah had another son, 20she exclaimed, “God has given me a wonderful gift, and my husband will praise me for giving him six sons.” So she named the boy Zebulun.#30.20 Zebulun: In Hebrew “Zebulun” sounds like “give” and “praise”. 21Later, Leah had a daughter and named her Dinah.
22-23Finally, God remembered Rachel—he answered her prayer by giving her a son. “God has taken away my disgrace,” she said. 24“I'll name the boy Joseph,#30.24 Joseph: In Hebrew “Joseph” sounds like “take away” and “add”. and I'll pray that the LORD will give me another son.”
Jacob and Laban
25After Joseph was born, Jacob said to Laban, “Release me from our agreement#30.25 Release…agreement: Jacob had agreed to work seven years for each of Laban's two daughters (see 29.18). and let me return to my own country. 26You know how hard I've worked for you, so let me take my wives and children and leave.”
27-28But Laban told him, “If you really are my friend, stay on, and I'll pay whatever you ask. I'm sure#30.27,28 I'm sure: The Hebrew text means to find out by some kind of magic, such as fortune-telling. the LORD has blessed me because of you.”
29Jacob answered:
You've seen how hard I've worked for you, and you know how your flocks and herds have grown under my care. 30You didn't have much before I came, but the LORD has blessed everything I have ever done for you. Now it's time for me to start looking after my own family.
31“How much do you want me to pay you?” Laban asked.
Then Jacob told him:
I don't want you to pay me anything. Just do one thing, and I'll take care of your sheep and goats. 32Let me go through your flocks and herds and take the sheep and goats that are either spotted or speckled#30.32 spotted or speckled: In ancient times sheep were usually white, and goats were usually black or dark brown; only a few sheep would have black spots, and only a few goats would have white spots. and the black lambs. That's all you need to give me. 33In the future you can easily find out if I've been honest. Just look and see if my animals are either spotted or speckled, or if the lambs are black. If they aren't, they've been stolen from you.
34“I agree to that,” was Laban's response. 35Before the end of the day, Laban had separated his spotted and speckled animals and the black lambs from the others and had put his sons in charge of them. 36Then Laban made Jacob keep the rest of the sheep and goats at a distance of three days' journey.
37Jacob cut branches from some poplar trees and from some almond and evergreen trees. He peeled off part of the bark and made the branches look spotted and speckled. 38Then he put the branches where the sheep and goats would see them#30.38 would see them: It was believed by some that what sheep and goats saw at the time of breeding would determine the colour of their young. while they were drinking from the water trough. The goats mated there 39in front of the branches, and their young were spotted and speckled.
40Some of the sheep that Jacob was keeping for Laban were already spotted. And when the others were ready to mate, he made sure that they faced in the direction of the spotted and black ones. In this way, Jacob built up a flock of sheep for himself and did not put them with the other sheep.
41When the stronger sheep were mating near the drinking place, Jacob made sure that the spotted branches were there. 42But he would not put out the branches when the weaker animals were mating. So Jacob got all the healthy animals, and Laban got what was left. 43Jacob soon became rich and successful. He owned many sheep, goats, camels, and donkeys, as well as a lot of slaves.
30
1And Rachel, seeing herself without children, envied her sister, and said to her husband: Give me children, otherwise I shall die.
2And Jacob being angry with her answered: Am I as God, who hath deprived thee of the fruit of thy womb?
3But she said: I have here my servant Bala. Go in unto her, that she may bear upon my knees, and I may have children by her.
4And she gave him Bala in marriage: who,
5When her husband had gone in unto her, conceived and bore a son.
6And Rachel said: The Lord hath judged for me, and hath heard my voice, giving me a son. And therefore she called his name Dan.
7And again Bala conceived and bore another,
8For whom Rachel said: God hath compared me with my sister, and I have prevailed. And she called him Nephtali.
9Lia, perceiving that she had left off bearing, gave Zelpha her handmaid to her husband.
10And when she had conceived and brought forth a son,
11She said: Happily. And therefore called his name Gad.
12Zelpha also bore another.
13And Lia said: This is for my happiness: for women will call me blessed. Therefore she called him Aser.
14And Ruben, going out in the time of the wheat harvest into the field, found mandrakes: which he brought to his mother Lia. And Rachel said: Give me part of thy son's mandrakes.
15She answered: Dost thou think it a small matter, that thou hast taken my husband from me, unless thou take also my son's mandrakes? Rachel said: He shall sleep with thee this night, for thy son's mandrakes.
16And when Jacob returned at even from the field, Lia went out to meet him, and said: Thou shalt come in unto me, because I have hired thee for my son's mandrakes. And he slept with her that night.
17And God heard her prayers: and she conceived and bore the fifth son,
18And said: God hath given me a reward, because I gave my handmaid to my husband. And she called his name Issachar.
19And Lia conceived again, and bore the sixth son,
20And said: God hath endowed me with a good dowry: this turn also my husband will be with me, because I have borne him six sons. And therefore she called his name Zabulon.
21After whom she bore a daughter, named Dina.
22The Lord also remembering Rachel heard her, and opened her womb,
23And she conceived, and bore a son, saying: God hath taken away my reproach.
24And she called his name Joseph, saying: The Lord give me also another son.
25And when Joseph was born, Jacob said to his father-in-law: Send me away that I may return into my country, and to my land.
26Give me my wives, and my children, for whom I have served thee, that I may depart: thou knowest the service that I have rendered thee.
27Laban said to him: Let me find favour in thy sight: I have learned by experience, that God hath blessed me for thy sake:
28Appoint thy wages which I shall give thee.
29But he answered: Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how great thy possession hath been in my hands.
30Thou hadst but little before I came to thee, and now thou art become rich: and the Lord hath blessed thee at my coming. It is reasonable therefore that I should now provide also for my own house.
31And Laban said: What shall I give thee? But he said: I require nothing. But if thou wilt do what I demand, I will feed, and keep thy sheep again.
32Go round through all thy flocks, and separate all the sheep of divers colours, and speckled: and all that is brown and spotted, and of divers colours, as well among the sheep, as among the goats, shall be my wages.
33And my justice shall answer for me tomorrow before thee when the time of the bargain shall come: and all that is not of divers colours, and spotted, and brown, as well among the sheep as among the goats, shall accuse me of theft.
34And Laban said: I like well what thou demandest.
35And he separated the same day the she-goats, and the sheep, and the he-goats, and the rams of divers colours, and spotted: and all the flock of one colour, that is, of white and black fleece, he delivered into the hands of his sons.
36And he set the space of three days' journey betwixt himself and his son-in-law, who fed the rest of his flock.
37And Jacob took green rods of poplar, and of almond, and of plane trees, and pilled them in part: so when the bark was taken off, in the parts that were pilled, there appeared whiteness: but the parts that were whole remained green. And by this means the colour was divers.
38And he put them in the troughs, where the water was poured out: that when the flocks should come to drink, they might have the rods before their eyes, and in the sight of them might conceive.
39And it came to pass that in the very heat of coition, the sheep beheld the rods, and brought forth spotted, and of divers colours, and speckled.
40And Jacob separated the flock, and put the rods in the troughs before the eyes of the rams. And all the white and the black were Laban's: and the rest were Jacob's, when the flocks were separated one from the other.
41So when the ewes went first to ram, Jacob put the rods in the troughs of water before the eyes of the rams, and of the ewes, that they might conceive while they were looking upon them.
42But when the latter coming was, and the last conceiving, he did not put them. And those that were lateward, become Laban's: and they of the first time, Jacob's.
43And the man was enriched exceedingly: and he had many flocks, maid-servants and men-servants, camels and asses.