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Genesis 30

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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 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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Jacob’s Children
1When Rachel saw that she could not bear children to Jacob, Rachel envied her sister. And she said to Jacob, “Give me children—if not, I will die!” 2And Jacob became angry#Literally “became hot of nose” with Rachel. And he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” 3Then she said, “Here is my servant girl Bilhah; go in to her that she may bear children as my surrogate.#Literally “upon my knees” Then I will even have children#Literally “be built up” by her.” 4Then she gave him Bilhah, her female servant, as a wife, and Jacob went in to her 5And Bilhah conceived and gave birth to a son for Jacob. 6Then Rachel said, “God has judged me, and has also heard my voice, and has given me a son.” Therefore she called his name Dan. 7And Bilhah, Rachel’s servant, conceived again and bore a second son to Jacob. 8And Rachel said, “I have struggled a mighty struggle with my sister and have prevailed.” And she called his name Naphtali. 9When Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children, she took Zilpah her female servant and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10And Zilpah, the female slave of Leah, bore a son to Jacob. 11Then Leah said, “Good fortune!” And she called his name Gad. 12And Zilpah, Leah’s female servant, bore a second son to Jacob. 13Then Leah said, “How happy am I! For women have called me happy.” So she called his name Asher.
14And in the days of the wheat harvest, Reuben went and found mandrakes in the field and he brought them to Leah his mother. And Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” 15And she said to her, “Is your taking my husband such a small thing that you will also take the mandrakes of my son?” Then Rachel said, “Then he may sleep with you tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.” 16When Jacob came in from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him. And she said, “Come in to me, for I have hired#Literally “I have fully paid for” you with my son’s mandrakes.” And he slept with her that night. 17And God listened to Leah and she conceived and gave birth to a fifth son for Jacob. 18Then Leah said, “God has given me my wage since I gave my servant girl to my husband.” And she called his name Issachar. 19And Leah conceived again and gave birth to a sixth son for Jacob. 20And Leah said, “God has endowed me with a good gift. This time my husband will acknowledge me, because I bore him six sons.” And she called his name Zebulun. 21And afterward she gave birth to a daughter. And she called her name Dinah. 22Then God remembered Rachel and listened to her, and God opened her womb. 23And she conceived and gave birth to a son. And she said, “God has taken away my disgrace.” 24And she called his name Joseph, saying, “Yahweh has added to me another son.”
Jacob’s Prosperity
25And it happened that as soon as Rachel had given birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away that I may go to my place and my land. 26Give me my wives and my children for which I have served you, and let me go. For you yourself know my service that I have rendered to you.” 27But Laban said to him, “Please, if I have found favor in your eyes, I have learned by divination that Yahweh has blessed me because of you.” 28And he said, “Name your wage to me and I will give it.” 29Then he said to him, “You yourself know how I have served you and how your livestock have been with me.#I.e., “How well they have done under my care” 30For you had little before me, and it has increased abundantly. And Yahweh has blessed you wherever I turned.#Literally “to my foot” So then, when shall I provide for my own family also?” 31And he said, “What shall I give you?” And Jacob said, “Do not give me anything. If you will do this thing for me, I will again feed your flocks and keep them. 32Let me pass through all your flocks today, removing all the speckled and spotted sheep from them, along with#Or “and” every dark-colored sheep among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats. That#Or “it” shall be my wages. 33And my righteousness will answer for me later#Literally “on the day tomorrow” when you come concerning my wages before you. Every one that is not speckled or spotted among the goats, or dark-colored among the sheep shall be stolen if it is with me.” 34Then Laban said, “Look! Very well. It shall be according to your word.” 35But that day he#That is, Laban removed the streaked and spotted male goats and all the speckled and spotted female goats, all that had white on it, and every dark-colored ram, and put them in the charge of his sons.#Literally “he gave into the hands of his sons” 36And he put a journey of three days between him and Jacob, and Jacob pastured the remainder of Laban’s flock. 37Then Jacob took fresh branches of poplar, almond, and plane trees and peeled white strips on them, exposing the white which was on the branches. 38And he set the branches that he had peeled in front of the flocks, in the troughs and in the water containers. And they were in heat when they came to drink. 39And the flocks mated by the branches, so the flocks bore streaked, speckled, and spotted. 40And Jacob separated the lambs and turned the faces of the flocks toward the streaked and all the dark-colored in Laban’s flocks. And he put his own herds apart, and did not put them with the flocks of Laban. 41And whenever any of the stronger of the flocks were in heat, Jacob put the branches in full view#Literally “before the eyes of” of the flock in the troughs that they might mate among the branches. 42But with the more feeble of the flock he would not put them there. So the feebler were Laban’s and the stronger were Jacob’s. 43And the man became exceedingly#Literally “very, very” rich and had large flocks, female slaves, male slaves, camels, and donkeys.