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Genesis 30

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1 Then Rachel, discerning that she was infertile, envied her sister, and so she said to her husband, "Give me children, otherwise I will die."
2 Jacob, being angry, responded to her, "Am I in the place of God, who has deprived you of the fruit of your womb?"
3 But she said: "I have a handmaid Bilhah. Go in to her, so that she may give birth upon my knees, and I may have sons by her."
4 And she gave him Bilhah in marriage.
5 And when her husband had gone in to her, she conceived and bore a son.
6 And Rachel said, "The Lord has judged for me, and he has heeded my voice, giving me a son." And because of this, she called his name Dan.
7 And conceiving again, Bilhah bore another,
8 about whom Rachel said, "God has compared me with my sister, and I have prevailed." And she called him Naphtali.
9 Leah, perceiving that she had desisted from child-bearing, delivered Zilpah, her handmaid, to her husband.
10 And she, after having borne a son with difficulty,
11 said: "Happiness!" And for this reason, she called his name Gad.
12 Likewise, Zilpah bore another.
13 And Leah said, "This one is for my happiness. Indeed, women will call me blessed." Because of this, she called him Asher.
14 Then Reuben, going out into the field at the time of the wheat harvest, found mandrakes. These he brought to his mother Leah. And Rachel said, "Give me a portion of your son's mandrakes."
15 She responded, "Does it seem like such a small matter to you, that you have usurped from me my husband, unless you will also take my son's mandrakes?" Rachel said, "He will sleep with you this night because of your son's mandrakes."
16 And when Jacob returned from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him, and she said, "You will enter to me, because I have hired you for the reward of my son's mandrakes." And he slept with her that night.
17 And God heard her prayers. And she conceived and bore a fifth son.
18 And she said, "God has given a reward to me, because I gave my handmaid to my husband." And she called his name Issachar.
19 Conceiving again, Leah bore a sixth son.
20 And she said: "God has endowed me with a good dowry. And now, at this turn, my husband will be with me, because I have conceived six sons for him." And therefore she called his name Zebulun.
21 After him, she bore a daughter, named Dinah.
22 The Lord, likewise remembering Rachel, heeded her and opened her womb.
23 And she conceived and bore a son, saying, "God has taken away my reproach."
24 And she called his name Joseph, saying, "The Lord has added to me another son."
25 But when Joseph was born, Jacob said to his father-in-law: "Release me, so that I may return to my native country and to my land.
26 Give me my wives, and my children, for whom I have served you, so that I may depart. You know the servitude with which I have served you."
27 Laban said to him: "May I find grace in your sight. I have learned by experience that God has blessed me because of you.
28 Choose your wages, which I will give you."
29 But he responded: "You know how I have served you, and how great your possession became in my hands.
30 You had little before I came to you, and now you have achieved riches. And the Lord has blessed you since my arrival. It is just, therefore, that at sometime I also should provide for my own house."
31 And Laban said, "What shall I give to you?" But he said, "I want nothing. But if you will do what I ask, I will feed and guard your sheep again.
32 Go around through all your flocks and separate all the sheep of variegated or spotted fleece; and whatever will be darkened or blemished or variegated, as much among the sheep as among the goats, will be my wages.
33 And my justice will answer on my behalf tomorrow, when the time of settlement arrives before you. And all that is not variegated or blemished or darkened, as much among the sheep as among the goats, these will prove me to be a thief."
34 And Laban said, "I hold favor for this request."
35 And on that day he separated the she-goats, and the sheep, and the he-goats, and the rams with variegations or with blemishes. But every one of the flock which was of one color, that is, of white or of black fleece, he delivered into the hands of his sons.
36 And he established a distance of three days journey between himself and his son-in-law, who pastured the remainder of his flock.
37 Then Jacob, taking green branches of poplar, and almond, and sycamore trees, debarked them in part. And when the bark was pulled off, in the parts that were stripped, there appeared whiteness, yet the parts that were left whole, remained green. And so, in this way the color was made variegated.
38 And he placed them in the troughs, where the water was poured out, so that when the flocks had arrived to drink, they would have the branches before their eyes, and in their sight they might conceive.
39 And it happened that, in the very heat of joining together, the sheep looked upon the branches, and they bore the blemished and the variegated, those speckled with diverse color.
40 And Jacob divided the flock, and he set the branches in the troughs before the eyes of the rams. Now whatever was white or black belonged to Laban, but, in truth, the others belonged to Jacob, for the flocks were dispersed among one another.
41 Therefore, when the first to arrive were climbing on the ewes, Jacob placed the branches in the troughs of water before the eyes of the rams and the sheep, so that they might conceive while they were gazing upon them.
42 Yet when the late arrivals and the last to conceive were let in, he did not place these. And so those that arrived late became Laban's, and those that arrived first became Jacob's.
43 And the man was enriched beyond limit, and he had many flocks, women servants and men 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 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.