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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 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.
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1#Ge 29:31; 37:11When Rachel saw that she could not give Jacob children, she became jealous of her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I will die.”
2#Ge 16:2; 1Sa 1:5Jacob became angry with Rachel and said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?”
3#Ge 50:23; Job 3:12Then she said, “Here is my maid Bilhah. Have relations with her so that she may bear a child on my knees,#From the Septuagint, a cloak with long sleeves, a full-length cloak, or an embroidered cloak, showing favoritism. so that I may also have children through her.”
4So she gave him Bilhah her maidservant as a wife, and Jacob had relations with her. 5Bilhah conceived and gave Jacob a son. 6#Ps 35:24; 43:1Rachel said, “God has vindicated me, and He has also heard my voice and has given me a son.” Therefore she called his name Dan.
7Bilhah, Rachel’s maid, conceived again and gave Jacob a second son. 8#Ge 49:21; Mt 4:13Then Rachel said, “With great wrestling have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed.” So she called his name Naphtali.
9#Ge 30:4When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she took Zilpah her maid and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10Zilpah, Leah’s maid, gave Jacob a son. 11#Ge 49:19Then Leah said, “How fortunate!” So she called his name Gad.
12Zilpah, Leah’s maid, gave Jacob a second son. 13#Lk 1:48; Ge 49:20Then Leah said, “Happy am I, for women will call me happy.” So she called his name Asher.
14#SS 7:13At the time of the wheat harvest, Reuben went and found mandrakes in the field and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”
15#Nu 16:13Leah said to her, “Is it a small matter that you have taken my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes also?”
So Rachel said, “All right, he may lie with you tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.”
16When Jacob came out of the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must sleep with me, because I have paid for you with my son’s mandrakes.” And he slept with her that night.
17God listened to Leah, and she conceived and gave Jacob a fifth son. 18Leah said, “God has given me my reward because I have given my maid to my husband.” So she called his name Issachar.
19Leah conceived again and gave Jacob a sixth son. 20#Mt 4:13; Ge 35:23Leah said, “God has given me a good gift. Now my husband will dwell with me, because I have given him six sons.” So she called his name Zebulun.
21Afterwards she gave birth to a daughter and called her name Dinah.
22#Ge 29:31; 8:1; 1Sa 1:19–20Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. 23#Isa 4:1; Lk 1:25She conceived and gave birth to a son and said, “God has taken away my reproach.” 24#Ge 35:24; 37:2And she called his name Joseph, saying, “The Lord will add to me another son.”
Jacob’s Agreement With Laban
25#Ge 24:54; 24:56When Rachel had given birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, so that I may go to my own place, to my country. 26#Ge 29:30; Hos 12:12Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served you, and let me go. For you know the service that I have given you.”
27#Ge 26:24; Isa 61:9Laban said to him, “If I have found favor in your eyes, please stay. For I have learned by divination that the Lord has blessed me on account of you.” 28#Ge 29:15He said, “Name me your wages, and I will give it.”
29#Ge 31:6; 31:38–40Jacob said to him, “You know how I have served you, and how your livestock have fared with me. 30#1Ti 5:8For you had little before I came, and it is now increased to a multitude. The Lord has blessed you since I came, and now when may I also provide for my own house?”
31Laban said, “What may I give you?”
And Jacob said, “You may not give me anything, but if you will do this one thing for me, I will continue to feed and keep your flock. 32#Ge 31:8I will pass through all your flock today, removing from it all the speckled and spotted sheep, and every brown sheep from among the lambs, and the spotted and speckled among the goats. These shall be my wages. 33So my integrity will answer for me in time to come. When you come to examine my wages, every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and brown among the sheep that are with me will be considered stolen.”
34Laban said, “Agreed. Let it be according to your word.” 35He removed that day the male goats that were striped and spotted and all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had some white in it, and all the brown ones among the sheep, and gave them into the care of his sons. 36He put three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks.
37Then Jacob took rods of fresh-cut poplar, almond, and plane trees, and peeled white streaks in them, exposing the white which was in the rods. 38He set the rods which he had peeled before the flocks in the troughs, that is, the watering places, where the flocks came to drink, so that they would mate when they came to drink. 39The flocks mated before the rods and gave birth to young that were striped, speckled, and spotted. 40Jacob separated the lambs and made the flocks face toward the striped and all the brown in the flock of Laban. He put his own flocks by themselves and did not put them with Laban’s sheep. 41Whenever the stronger sheep mated, Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the sheep in the troughs, so that they might mate among the rods. 42But when the livestock were feeble, he did not put them in. So the weaker were Laban’s and the stronger Jacob’s. 43#Ge 24:35; 26:13–14The man became exceedingly prosperous and had many sheep and female servants and male servants and camels and donkeys.