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Genesis 30

30
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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Chapter 30
Jacob's family
1Rachel now knew that she could not give birth to any children for Jacob. So, she became jealous of her sister. Rachel said to Jacob, ‘Please give me children. If not, I will die.’ #30:1 In Old Testament times, it was very important for women to have children. 2Jacob became angry with Rachel. He said, ‘Am I God? God has stopped you from giving birth to children!’ 3Rachel said, ‘Take my servant Bilhah and have sex with her. Then she can have children on my behalf. Through her, I can have a family.’ #30:3 This is like what Sarah did with Hagar.
4So Rachel gave her servant Bilhah to Jacob to become his wife. 5Bilhah became pregnant and she gave birth to a son for Jacob. 6Rachel said, ‘God has shown that I am right. He has listened to me and he has given a son to me.’ Because of this, she called the boy Dan. 7Rachel's servant Bilhah became pregnant again. She gave birth to another son for Jacob. 8Rachel said, ‘I have fought with my sister and I have won.’ She called this son Naphtali.
9Leah saw that she had stopped having children. So she gave her servant Zilpah to Jacob as a wife. 10Zilpah became pregnant and she gave birth to a son for Jacob. 11Leah said, ‘This is very good.’ She called the boy Gad. 12Leah's servant Zilpah gave Jacob another son. 13Leah said, ‘I am very happy! Women will call me happy.’ So she called this boy Asher.
14It was the time to get the wheat in from the fields. Reuben went out and he found some mandrake plants in a field. He took them to his mother, Leah. Rachel said to Leah, ‘Please give me some of the mandrake plants that your son gave to you.’ #30:14 Rachel thought that the mandrake plants would help her to have a child. That is why she wanted them. But only God could give her a child. 15But Leah said to Rachel, ‘You took my husband from me. That was bad enough! Now you want to take my son's mandrakes too!’ Rachel said, ‘OK. If you give me some of your son's mandrakes, Jacob can sleep with you tonight.’
16In the evening, Jacob came in from the fields. Leah went out to meet him. She said, ‘You must sleep with me tonight. I have paid for you with my son's mandrakes.’ So Jacob slept with Leah that night. 17God listened to Leah and she became pregnant again. She gave birth to a fifth son for Jacob. 18Leah said, ‘God has helped me because I gave my servant to Jacob as a wife.’ She called her son Issachar.
19Leah became pregnant again and she gave Jacob a sixth son. 20Leah said, ‘God has given me this valuable gift. Now my husband will respect me because I have given him six sons.’ She called this son Zebulun.
21Some time passed and Leah became pregnant again. She gave birth to a daughter. She called her daughter Dinah.
22Then God decided to help Rachel. He listened to her and he let her become pregnant. 23She became pregnant and she gave birth to a son. Rachel said, ‘I am not ashamed any more because God has given me a son.’ 24Rachel called her son Joseph. She said, ‘I pray that the Lord will give me another son.’
Jacob's sheep
25After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob spoke to Laban. He said, ‘Let me go away now. I want to go home to my own land. 26Let me take my wives and my children with me. I have worked for you so that I could have them. You must let me leave, because you know how much I have worked for you.’
27Laban said to Jacob, ‘If you are happy with me then please stay here. I know that the Lord has blessed me because you are here with me. I have used magic to know that.’ 28Laban also said to Jacob, ‘Tell me how much I should pay you for your work. I will pay whatever you want.’
29Jacob replied, ‘You know how much I have worked for you. You know that you have many more animals now, because I have taken care of them. 30Before I came, you had only a few sheep and goats. Now you have many more valuable things. Wherever I have worked for you, the Lord has blessed you. But now I want to work to help my own family. I must do that soon.’
31Laban asked, ‘What must I give to you?’ Jacob replied, ‘You do not need to give me anything. But just do one thing for me. Then I will still take care of your animals. I will make sure that nothing bad happens to them. 32Do this: Let me go among all your animals today. Let me remove any animal that has a mark on it or that has more than one colour on its skin. I will also take any black lambs. That is what you will give me for my work. 33In the future, this will show that I am honest. You can check on my animals whenever you want to. I will only have sheep or goats that have marks on their skin, or black lambs. If I have any other animals, you may call me a robber.’ 34Laban said, ‘I agree to this. It will be as you have said.’
35On that same day, Laban went to his animals. He quickly removed all the goats that had marks, both male and female goats. He also removed all the black lambs. He gave these animals to his sons to take care of. #30:35 Laban has deceived Jacob. He has taken all the animals that should be Jacob's. He has given them to his own sons to take care of. He sends them away before Jacob knows what he has done. 36He sent those animals a long way away. It would take Jacob 3 days to reach them. While this was happening, Jacob was taking care of Laban's other animals.
37Jacob took branches that he had cut from trees. He took them from poplar trees, almond trees and plane trees. He cut white lines on the branches. He stripped off the outside part of the wood to show white lines. 38Then he put the branches in the place where there were big bowls of water for the animals to drink. They were in front of the animals when they came to drink. The animals could see the branches when it was the right time for them to have sex together. 39When they had sex in front of the branches, they gave birth to babies that had skin with marks. 40Jacob kept these lambs separate from Laban's animals. He took the rest of Laban's female animals to join with the animals that had marks or were black. In that way he got more animals that would belong to him. He kept them separate from Laban's animals.
41Jacob waited until the stronger female animals were ready to have sex. Then he put the special branches in front of them, near the big bowls of water. Then these animals would see the branches when they had sex together. 42But if the female animals were weak, he did not put the branches in front of them when they had sex. As a result, the weak animals would belong to Laban, but Jacob would keep the strong animals.
43In this way, Jacob became very rich. Many sheep and goats belonged to him. He also had female servants and male servants, as well as camels and donkeys.