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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
1Rachel saw that she could not have children for Jacob, and she became jealous of her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!”
2Jacob became angry with Rachel and asked, “Can I take the place of God, who has kept you from having children?”
3She said, “Here’s my servant Bilhah. Sleep with her. She can have children for me, and I can build a family for myself through her.” 4So she gave him her slave Bilhah as his wife, and Jacob slept with her. 5Bilhah became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Jacob. 6Rachel said, “Now God has judged in my favor. He has heard my prayer and has given me a son.” So she named him Dan [He Judges].
7Rachel’s slave Bilhah became pregnant again and gave birth to a second son for Jacob. 8Rachel said, “I have had a great struggle  #30:8 Or “I have struggled the struggles of God.” with my sister, and I have won!” So she named him Naphtali [My Struggle].
9When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she took her slave Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as his wife. 10Leah’s slave Zilpah gave birth to a son for Jacob. 11Leah said, “I’ve been lucky!” So she called him Gad [Luck].
12Leah’s slave Zilpah gave birth to her second son for Jacob. 13Leah said, “I’ve been blessed! Women will call me blessed.” So she named him Asher [Blessing].
14During the wheat harvest Reuben went out into the fields and found some mandrakes.#30:14 Mandrakes were considered a source of fertility for women. He brought them to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”
15Leah replied, “Isn’t it enough that you took my husband? Are you also going to take my son’s mandrakes?”
Rachel said, “Very well, Jacob can go to bed with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.”
16As Jacob was coming in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him. “You are to sleep with me,” she said. “You are my reward for my son’s mandrakes.” So he went to bed with her that night. 17God answered Leah’s prayer. She became pregnant and gave birth to her fifth son for Jacob. 18Leah said, “God has given me my reward because I gave my slave to my husband.” So she named him Issachar [Reward].
19She became pregnant again and gave birth to her sixth son for Jacob. 20Leah said, “God has presented me with a beautiful present. This time my husband will honor me because I have given him six sons.” So she named him Zebulun [Honor].
21Later she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.
22Then God remembered Rachel. God answered her prayer and made it possible for her to have children. 23So she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. Then she said, “God has taken away my disgrace.” 24She named him Joseph [May He Give Another] and said, “May the Lord give me another son.”
Jacob’s Flocks Prosper
25After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Let me go home to my own country. 26Give me my wives and my children for whom I’ve worked, and let me go. You know how much work I’ve done for you.”
27Laban replied, “Listen to me. I’ve learned from the signs I’ve seen that the Lord has blessed me because of you.” 28So he offered, “Name your wages, and I’ll pay them.”
29Jacob responded, “You know how much work I’ve done for you and what has happened to your livestock under my care. 30The little that you had before I came has grown to a large amount. The Lord has blessed you wherever I’ve been. When can I do something for my own family?”
31Laban asked, “What should I give you?”
“Don’t give me anything,” Jacob answered. “Instead, do something for me, then I’ll go back to taking care of and watching your flocks again. 32Let me go through all of your flocks today and take every speckled or spotted sheep, every black lamb, and every spotted or speckled goat. They will be my wages. 33My honesty will speak for itself whenever you come to check on my wages. Any goat I have that isn’t speckled or spotted or any lamb that isn’t black will be considered stolen.”
34Laban answered, “Agreed. We’ll do as you’ve said.” 35However, that same day Laban took out the striped and spotted male goats, all the speckled and spotted female goats (every one with white on it), and every black lamb. He had his sons take charge of them. 36He traveled three days away from Jacob. Jacob continued to take care of the rest of Laban’s flocks.
37Then Jacob took fresh-cut branches of poplar, almond, and plane trees and peeled the bark on them in strips of white, uncovering the white which was on the branches. 38He placed the peeled branches in the troughs directly in front of the flocks, at the watering places where the flocks came to drink. When they were in heat and came to drink, 39they mated in front of the branches. Then they gave birth to young that were striped, speckled, or spotted.
40Jacob separated the rams from the flock and made the rest of the sheep face any that were striped or black in Laban’s flocks. So he made separate herds for himself and did not add them to Laban’s flocks. 41Whenever the stronger of the flocks were in heat, Jacob would lay the branches in the troughs in front of them so that they would mate by the branches. 42But when the flocks in heat were weak, he didn’t lay down the branches. So the weaker ones belonged to Laban and the stronger ones to Jacob. 43As a result, Jacob became very wealthy. He had large flocks, male and female slaves, camels, and donkeys.