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Genesis 30

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1When Rachel realized that she could bear Jacob no children, Rachel became jealous of her sister and said to Jacob, “Give me children! If you don’t, I may as well be dead.”
2Jacob was angry at Rachel and said, “Do you think I’m God? God alone has kept you from giving birth!”
3She said, “Here’s my servant Bilhah. Sleep with her, and she will give birth for me. Because of her, I will also have children.” 4So Rachel gave her servant Bilhah to Jacob as his wife, and he slept with her. 5Bilhah became pregnant and gave birth to a son for Jacob. 6Rachel said, “God has judged in my favor, heard my voice, and given me a son.” So she named him Dan.#30.6 Or he judged 7Rachel’s servant Bilhah became pregnant again and gave birth to a second son for Jacob. 8Rachel said, “I’ve competed fiercely with my sister, and now I’ve won.” So she named him Naphtali.#30.8 Or my competition or my wrestling
9When Leah realized that she had stopped bearing children, she took her servant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as his wife. 10Leah’s servant Zilpah gave birth to a son for Jacob, 11and Leah said, “What good luck!” So she named him Gad.#30.11 Or good fortune 12Leah’s servant Zilpah gave birth to a second son for Jacob, 13and Leah said, “I’m happy now because women call me happy.” So she named him Asher.#30.13 Or happy
14During the wheat harvest, Reuben found some erotic herbs#30.14 Or mandrakes in the field and brought them to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, “Give me your son’s erotic herbs.”
15Leah replied, “Isn’t it enough that you’ve taken my husband? Now you want to take my son’s erotic herbs too?”
Rachel said, “For your son’s erotic herbs, Jacob#30.15 Or he may sleep with you tonight.”
16When Jacob came back from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must sleep with me because I’ve paid for you with my son’s erotic herbs.” So he slept with her that night.
17God responded to Leah. She became pregnant and gave birth to a fifth son for Jacob. 18Leah said, “God gave me what I paid for, what I deserved for giving my servant to my husband.” So she named him Issachar.#30.18 Or there is payment 19Leah became pregnant again and gave birth to a sixth son for Jacob, 20and she said, “God has given me a wonderful gift. Now my husband will honor me since I’ve borne him six sons.” So she named him Zebulun.#30.20 Or honor 21After this, she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.
22Then God remembered Rachel, responded to her, and let her conceive. 23She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and said, “God has taken away my shame.” 24She named him Joseph,#30.24 Or he adds saying to herself, May the LORD give me another son.
God blesses Jacob and Laban
25After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me off so that I can go to my own place and my own country. 26Give me my wives and children whom I’ve worked for, and I will go. You know the work I’ve done for you.”
27Laban said to him, “Do me this favor. I’ve discovered by a divine sign that the LORD has blessed me because of you, 28so name your price and I will pay it.”
29Jacob said to him, “You know how I’ve worked for you, and how well your livestock have done with me. 30While in my care, what little you had has multiplied a great deal. The LORD blessed you wherever I took your livestock.#30.30 Or them Now, when will I be able to work for my own household too?”
31Laban said, “What will I pay you?”
Jacob said, “Don’t pay me anything. If you will do this for me, I will take care of your flock again, and keep a portion.#30.31 Heb uncertain 32I will go through the entire flock today, taking out all of the speckled and spotted sheep, all of the black male lambs, and all of the spotted and speckled female goats. That will be my price. 33I will be completely honest with you: when you come to check on our agreement, every female goat with me that isn’t speckled or spotted and every male lamb with me that isn’t black will be considered stolen.”
34Laban said, “All right; let’s do it.” 35However, on that very day Laban took out the striped and spotted male goats and all of the speckled and spotted female goats—any with some white in it—and all of the black male lambs, and gave them to his sons. 36He put a three-day trip between himself and Jacob, while Jacob was watching the rest of Laban’s flock.
37Then Jacob took new branches from poplar, almond, and plane trees; and he peeled white stripes on them, exposing the branches’ white color. 38He set the branches that he had peeled near the watering troughs so that they were in front of the flock when they drank, because they often mated when they came to drink. 39When the flock mated in front of the branches, they gave birth to striped, speckled, and spotted young. 40Jacob sorted out the lambs, turning the flock to face the striped and black ones in Laban’s flock but keeping his flock separate, setting them apart from Laban’s flock. 41Whenever the strongest of the flock mated, Jacob put the branches in front of them near the watering troughs so that they mated near the branches. 42But he didn’t put branches up for the weakest of the flock. So the weakest became Laban’s and the strongest Jacob’s. 43The man Jacob became very, very rich: he owned large flocks, female and male servants, camels, and donkeys.
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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.