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Genesis 30

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1Rachel saw that she was not giving Jacob any children. She became jealous of her sister Leah. So Rachel said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I will die!”
2Jacob became angry with Rachel and said, “I am not God. He is the one who has caused you to not have children.”
3Then Rachel said, “You can have my maid Bilhah. Sleep with her, and she will have a child for me.#30:3 she will have a child for me Literally, “she will give birth on my knees, and I, too, will have a son through her.” Then I can be a mother through her.”
4So Rachel gave Bilhah to her husband Jacob. He had sexual relations with Bilhah. 5She became pregnant and gave birth to a son for Jacob.
6Rachel said, “God has listened to my prayer. He decided to give me a son.” So she named this son Dan.#30:6 Dan This is like the Hebrew word meaning “to decide” or “to judge.”
7Bilhah became pregnant again and gave Jacob a second son. 8Rachel said, “I have fought hard to compete with my sister, and I have won.” So she named that son Naphtali.#30:8 Naphtali This is like the Hebrew word meaning “my struggle.”
9Leah saw that she could have no more children. So she gave her slave girl Zilpah to Jacob. 10Then Zilpah had a son. 11Leah said, “I am lucky.” So she named the son Gad.#30:11 Gad This is like the Hebrew word meaning “lucky” or “fortunate.” 12Zilpah gave birth to another son. 13Leah said, “I am very happy! Now women will call me happy.” So she named that son Asher.#30:13 Asher This is like the Hebrew word meaning “blessed” or “happy.”
14During the wheat harvest Reuben went into the fields and found some special flowers.#30:14 special flowers Or “mandrakes.” The Hebrew word means “love plant.” People thought these plants could help women have babies. He brought them to his mother Leah. But Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s flowers.”
15Leah answered, “You have already taken away my husband. Now you are trying to take away my son’s flowers.”
But Rachel answered, “If you will give me your son’s flowers, you can sleep with Jacob tonight.”
16Jacob came in from the fields that night. Leah saw him and went out to meet him. She said, “You will sleep with me tonight. I have paid for you with my son’s flowers.” So Jacob slept with Leah that night.
17Then God allowed Leah to become pregnant again. She gave birth to a fifth son. 18She said, “God has given me a reward because I gave my slave to my husband.” So she named her son Issachar.#30:18 Issachar This is like the Hebrew word meaning “reward” or “salary.”
19Leah became pregnant again and gave birth to a sixth son. 20She said, “God has given me a fine gift. Now surely Jacob will accept me, because I have given him six sons.” So she named this son Zebulun.#30:20 Zebulun This is like the Hebrew word meaning “praise” or “honor.”
21Later, Leah gave birth to a daughter. She named her Dinah.
22Then God heard Rachel’s prayer and made it possible for Rachel to have children. 23She became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She said, “God has taken away my shame.” 24Rachel named the son Joseph,#30:23-24 Joseph This is like the Hebrew word meaning “to add.” saying, “May the Lord give me another son.”
Jacob Tricks Laban
25After the birth of Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Now let me go back to my own homeland. 26Give me my wives and my children. I have earned them by working for you. You know that I served you well.”
27Laban said to him, “Please, let me say something. I know#30:27 know Or “guessed,” “divined,” or “concluded.” that the Lord has blessed me because of you. 28Tell me what I should pay you, and I will give it to you.”
29Jacob answered, “You know that I have worked hard for you. Your flocks have grown and been well while I cared for them. 30When I came, you had little. Now you have much, much more. Every time I did something for you, the Lord blessed you. Now it is time for me to work for myself—it is time to do things for my family.”
31Laban asked, “Then what should I give you?”
Jacob answered, “I don’t want you to give me anything! I only want you to let me do this one thing: I will go back and take care of your sheep. 32But let me go through all your flocks today and take every lamb with spots or stripes. Let me take every black young goat and every female goat with stripes or spots. That will be my pay. 33In the future you can easily see if I am honest. You can come to look at my flocks. If I have any goat that isn’t spotted or any sheep that isn’t black, you will know that I stole it.”
34Laban answered, “I agree to that. We will do what you ask.” 35But that day Laban hid all the male goats that had spots. And he hid all the female goats that had spots on them. He also hid all the black sheep. Laban told his sons to watch these sheep. 36So the sons took all the spotted animals and led them to another place. They traveled for three days. Jacob stayed and took care of all the animals that were left.
37Then Jacob cut green branches from poplar and almond trees. He stripped off some of the bark so that the branches had white stripes on them. 38He put the branches in front of the flocks at the watering places. When the animals came to drink, they also mated in that place. 39Then when the goats mated in front of the branches, the young that were born were spotted, striped, or black.
40Jacob separated the spotted and the black animals from the other animals in the flock. He kept his animals separate from Laban’s. 41Any time the stronger animals in the flock were mating, Jacob put the branches before their eyes. The animals mated near those branches. 42But when the weaker animals mated, Jacob did not put the branches there. So the young animals born from the weak animals were Laban’s. And the young animals born from the stronger animals were Jacob’s. 43In this way Jacob became very rich. He had large flocks, many servants, camels, and donkeys.
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The Sons of Jacob
1Now when Rachel saw that she had not borne Jacob any children, #Lit Rachelshe became jealous of her sister; and she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I am going to die.” 2Then Jacob’s anger burned against 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 female slave Bilhah: have relations with her that she may give birth #I.e., Prob. referring to a ritual of adoptionon my knees, so that #Lit from her I too may be builtby her I too may obtain a child.” 4So she gave him her slave Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob had relations with her. 5Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. 6Then Rachel said, “God has #Lit judgedvindicated me, and has indeed heard my voice and has given me a son.” Therefore she named him #I.e., He judgedDan. 7And Rachel’s slave Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. 8So Rachel said, “With #Lit wrestlings of Godmighty wrestling I have #Heb niphtal, related to Naphtaliwrestled with my sister, and I have indeed prevailed.” And she named him Naphtali.
9When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she took her slave Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10And Leah’s slave Zilpah bore Jacob a son. 11Then Leah said, “#Lit With fortune! Some ancient versions Fortune has comeHow fortunate!” So she named him #I.e., FortuneGad. 12And Leah’s slave Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. 13Then Leah said, “#Lit With my happiness!Happy am I! For women will call me happy.” So she named him #I.e., happyAsher.
14Now in the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found mandrake fruits in the field, and 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, “Is it a small matter for you to take my husband? And would you take my son’s mandrakes also?” So Rachel said, “Therefore he may sleep with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.” 16When Jacob came in from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must have relations with me, for I have indeed hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he slept with her that night. 17God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18Then Leah said, “God has given me my #Heb sachar, related to Issacharreward, because I gave my slave to my husband.” So she named him Issachar. 19And Leah conceived again and bore a sixth son to Jacob. 20Then Leah said, “God has endowed me with a good gift; finally my husband #Heb zabal, related to Zebulunwill acknowledge me as his wife, because I have borne him six sons.” So she named him Zebulun. 21Afterward she gave birth to a daughter, and named her Dinah.
22Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. 23So she conceived and gave birth to a son, and said, “God has taken away my disgrace.” 24And she named him Joseph, saying, “May the Lord #Lit add to me; Heb Josephgive me another son.”
Jacob Prospers
25Now it came about, when Rachel had given birth to Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, so that I may go to my own place and to my own country. 26Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me go; for you yourself know my service which I have #Lit servedrendered you.” 27But Laban said to him, “If #Lit I have found favor in your eyesit pleases you at all, stay with me; I have determined by divination that the Lord has blessed me on your account.” 28He #Lit saidcontinued, “Name me your wages, and I will give them.” 29But Jacob said to him, “You yourself know how I have served you and how your livestock have #Lit beenfared with me. 30For you had little before #Lit meI came, and it has #Lit broken forthincreased to a multitude, and the Lord has blessed you #Lit at my footwherever I turned. But now, when shall I provide for my own household also?” 31So he said, “What shall I give you?” And Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything. If you will do this one thing for me, I will again pasture and keep your flock: 32let me pass through your entire flock today, removing from there every speckled or spotted sheep and every black sheep among the lambs, and the spotted or speckled among the goats; and those shall be my wages. 33So my #Lit righteousnesshonesty will answer for me later, when you come concerning my #Lit wages which are before youwages. Every one that is not speckled or spotted among the goats, or black among the lambs, if found with me, will be considered stolen.” 34Laban said, “#Lit Behold, would that it might beGood, let it be according to your word.” 35So he removed on that day the striped or spotted male goats, and all the speckled or spotted female goats, every one with white on it, and all the black ones among the sheep, and put them in the #Lit handcare of his sons. 36And he put a distance of three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks.
37Then Jacob #Lit took to himselftook fresh rods of poplar, almond, and plane trees, and peeled white stripes in them, exposing the white that was #Lit onin the rods. 38He set the rods which he had peeled in front of the flocks in the drinking troughs, that is, in the watering channels where the flocks came to drink; and they mated when they came to drink. 39So the flocks mated by the rods, and the flocks delivered striped, speckled, and spotted offspring. 40Then Jacob separated the lambs, and #Lit set the facesmade the flocks face toward the striped and all the black in the flock of Laban; and he put his own herds apart, and did not put them with Laban’s flock. 41Moreover, whenever the stronger of the flock were mating, Jacob would place the rods in the sight of the flock in the drinking troughs, so that they would mate by the rods; 42but when the flock was sickly, he did not put them in; so the sickly were Laban’s, and the stronger were Jacob’s. 43So the man #Lit broke forthbecame exceedingly prosperous, and had large flocks, and female and male servants, and camels and donkeys.