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Genesis 30

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.
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 judged in my favor and has 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 says he found this out by some kind of magic, such as fortunetelling. 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 out for 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 color 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 of 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.