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Genesis 30

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1When Rachel saw that she had not borne children to Jacob, she became envious of her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children or I shall die!”#Prv 30:16. 2Jacob became angry with Rachel and said, “Can I take the place of God, who has denied you the fruit of the womb?”#2 Kgs 5:7. 3She replied, “Here is my maidservant Bilhah. Have intercourse with her, and let her give birth on my knees,#On my knees: in the ancient Near East, a father would take a newborn child in his lap to signify that he acknowledged it as his own; Rachel uses the ceremony in order to adopt the child and establish her legal rights to it. so that I too may have children through her.”#Gn 16:2–4. 4So she gave him her maidservant Bilhah as wife,#As wife: in 35:22 Bilhah is called a “concubine” (Heb. pilegesh). In v. 9, Zilpah is called “wife,” and in 37:2 both women are called wives. The basic difference between a wife and a concubine was that no bride price was paid for the latter. The interchange of terminology shows that there was some blurring in social status between the wife and the concubine. and Jacob had intercourse with her. 5When Bilhah conceived and bore a son for Jacob, 6Rachel said, “God has vindicated me; indeed he has heeded my plea and given me a son.” Therefore she named him Dan.#Dan: explained by the term dannanni, “he has vindicated me.” 7Rachel’s maidservant Bilhah conceived again and bore a second son for Jacob, 8and Rachel said, “I have wrestled strenuously with my sister, and I have prevailed.” So she named him Naphtali.#Naphtali: explained by the Hebrew term naftulim, lit., “contest” or “struggle.”
9When Leah saw that she had ceased to bear children, she took her maidservant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as wife. 10So Leah’s maidservant Zilpah bore a son for Jacob. 11Leah then said, “What good luck!” So she named him Gad.#Gad: explained by the Hebrew term begad, lit., “in luck,” i.e., “what good luck!” 12Then Leah’s maidservant Zilpah bore a second son to Jacob; 13and Leah said, “What good fortune, because women will call me fortunate!” So she named him Asher.#Asher: explained by the term be’oshri, lit., “in my good fortune,” i.e., “what good fortune,” and by the term ye’ashsheruni, “they call me fortunate.”
14One day, during the wheat harvest, Reuben went out and came upon some mandrakes#Mandrakes: an herb whose root was thought to promote conception. The Hebrew word for mandrakes, duda’im, has erotic connotations, since it sounds like the words daddayim (“breasts”) and dodim (“sexual pleasure”). in the field which he brought home to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” 15Leah replied, “Was it not enough for you to take away my husband, that you must now take my son’s mandrakes too?” Rachel answered, “In that case Jacob may lie with you tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.” 16That evening, when Jacob came in from the field, Leah went out to meet him. She said, “You must have intercourse with me, because I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So that night he lay with her, 17and God listened to Leah; she conceived and bore a fifth son to Jacob. 18Leah then said, “God has given me my wages for giving my maidservant to my husband”; so she named him Issachar.#Issachar: explained by the terms, sekari, “my reward,” and in v. 16, sakor sekartika, “I have hired you.” 19Leah conceived again and bore a sixth son to Jacob; 20and Leah said, “God has brought me a precious gift. This time my husband will honor me, because I have borne him six sons”; so she named him Zebulun.#Zebulun: explained by the terms, zebadani…zebed tob, “he has brought me a precious gift,” and yizbeleni, “he will honor me.” 21Afterwards she gave birth to a daughter, and she named her Dinah.
22Then God remembered Rachel. God listened to her and made her fruitful. 23She conceived and bore a son, and she said, “God has removed my disgrace.”#Lk 1:25. 24She named him Joseph,#Joseph: explained by the words yosep, “may he add,” and in v. 23, ’asap, “he has removed.” saying, “May the Lord add another son for me!”
Jacob Outwits Laban.#Jacob’s deception of Laban. Jacob has been living in Laban’s household as an indentured worker paying off the bride price. Having paid off all his obligations, he wants to settle his accounts with Laban. His many children attest to the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise of numerous progeny; the birth of Joseph to his beloved Rachel signals the fulfillment in a special way. To enter into the Lord’s second promise, the land, he must now return to Canaan. 25After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban: “Allow me to go to my own region and land. 26Give me my wives and my children for whom I served you and let me go, for you know the service that I rendered you.” 27Laban answered him: “If you will please! I have learned through divination that the Lord has blessed me because of you.” 28He continued, “State the wages I owe you, and I will pay them.” 29Jacob replied: “You know what work I did for you and how well your livestock fared under my care; 30the little you had before I came has grown into an abundance, since the Lord has blessed you in my company. Now, when can I do something for my own household as well?” 31Laban asked, “What should I give you?” Jacob answered: “You do not have to give me anything. If you do this thing for me, I will again pasture and tend your sheep. 32Let me go through your whole flock today and remove from it every dark animal among the lambs and every spotted or speckled one among the goats.#Dark…lambs…spotted or speckled…goats: in the Near East the normal color of sheep is light gray, whereas that of goats is dark brown or black. A minority of sheep in that part of the world have dark patches, and a minority of goats, white markings. Laban is quick to agree to the offer, for Jacob would have received only a few animals. But Jacob gets the better of him, using two different means: (1) he separates out the weaker animals and then provides visual impressions to the stronger animals at mating time (a folkloric belief); (2) in 31:8–12, he transmits the preferred characteristics through controlled propagation. It should be noted that Jacob has been told what to do in a dream (31:10) and that God is behind the increase in his flocks. These will be my wages. 33In the future, whenever you check on my wages, my honesty will testify for me: any animal that is not speckled or spotted among the goats, or dark among the lambs, got into my possession by theft!” 34Laban said, “Very well. Let it be as you say.”
35That same day Laban removed the streaked and spotted he-goats and all the speckled and spotted she-goats, all those with some white on them, as well as every dark lamb, and he put them in the care of his sons.#By giving the abnormally colored animals to his sons, Laban not only deprived Jacob of his first small wages, but he also schemed to prevent the future breeding of such animals in the flock entrusted to Jacob. 36Then he put a three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, while Jacob was pasturing the rest of Laban’s flock.
37Jacob, however, got some fresh shoots of poplar, almond and plane#Plane: also called the Oriental Plane, a deciduous tree found in riverine forests and marshes. trees, and he peeled white stripes in them by laying bare the white core of the shoots. 38The shoots that he had peeled he then set upright in the watering troughs where the animals came to drink, so that they would be in front of them. When the animals were in heat as they came to drink, 39the goats mated by the shoots, and so they gave birth to streaked, speckled and spotted young. 40The sheep, on the other hand, Jacob kept apart, and he made these animals face the streaked or completely dark animals of Laban. Thus he produced flocks of his own, which he did not put with Laban’s flock. 41Whenever the hardier animals were in heat, Jacob would set the shoots in the troughs in full view of these animals, so that they mated by the shoots; 42but with the weaker animals he would not put the shoots there. So the feeble animals would go to Laban, but the hardy ones to Jacob. 43So the man grew exceedingly prosperous, and he owned large flocks, male and female servants, camels, and donkeys.
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1 WHEN RACHEL saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister, and said to Jacob, Give me children, or else I will die!
2 And Jacob became very angry with Rachel and he said, Am I in God's stead, Who has denied you children?
3 And she said, See here, take my maid Bilhah and have intercourse with her; and [when the baby comes] she shall deliver it upon my knees, that I by her may also have children.
4 And she gave him Bilhah her maid as a [secondary] wife, and Jacob had intercourse with her.
5 And Bilhah became pregnant and bore Jacob a son.
6 And Rachel said, God has judged and vindicated me, and has heard my plea and has given me a son; so she named him Dan [judged].
7 And Bilhah, Rachel's maid, conceived again and bore Jacob a second son.
8 And Rachel said, With mighty wrestlings [in prayer to God] I have struggled with my sister and have prevailed; so she named him [this second son Bilhah bore] Naphtali [struggled].
9 When Leah saw that she had ceased to bear, she gave Zilpah her maid to Jacob as a [secondary] wife.
10 And Zilpah, Leah's maid, bore Jacob a son.
11 Then Leah said, Victory and good fortune have come; and she named him Gad [fortune].
12 Zilpah, Leah's maid, bore Jacob [her] second son.
13 And Leah said, I am happy, for women will call me blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied); and she named him Asher [happy].
14 Now Reuben went at the time of wheat harvest and found some mandrakes (love apples) in the field and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray you, some of your son's mandrakes.
15 But [Leah] answered, Is it not enough that you have taken my husband without your taking away my son's mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Jacob shall sleep with you tonight [in exchange] for your son's mandrakes.
16 And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him and said, You must sleep with me [tonight], for I have certainly paid your hire with my son's mandrakes. So he slept with her that night.
17 And God heeded Leah's [prayer], and she conceived and bore Jacob [her] fifth son.
18 Leah said, God has given me my hire, because I have given my maid to my husband; and she called his name Issachar [hired].
19 And Leah became pregnant again and bore Jacob [her] sixth son.
20 Then Leah said, God has endowed me with a good marriage gift [for my husband]; now will he dwell with me [and regard me as his wife in reality], because I have borne him six sons; and she named him Zebulun [dwelling].
21 Afterwards she bore a daughter and called her Dinah.
22 Then God remembered Rachel and answered her pleading and made it possible for her to have children.
23 And [now for the first time] she became pregnant and bore a son; and she said, God has taken away my reproach, disgrace, and humiliation.
24 And she called his name Joseph [may he add] and said, May the Lord add to me another son.
25 When Rachel had borne Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, Send me away, that I may go to my own place and country.
26 Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served you, and let me go; for you know the work which I have done for you.
27 And Laban said to him, If I have found favor in your sight, I pray you [do not go]; for I have learned by experience and from the omens in divination that the Lord has favored me with blessings on your account.
28 He said, State your salary and I will give it.
29 Jacob answered him, You know how I have served you, and how your possessions, your cattle and sheep and goats, have fared with me.
30 For you had little before I came, and it has increased and multiplied abundantly; and the Lord has favored you with blessings wherever I turned. But now, when shall I provide for my own house also?
31 [Laban] said, What shall I give you? And Jacob said, You shall not give me anything, if you will do this one thing for me [of which I am about to tell you], and I will again feed and take care of your flock.
32 Let me pass through all your flock today, removing from it every speckled and spotted animal and every black one among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and such shall be my wages.
33 So later when the matter of my wages is brought before you, my fair dealing will be evident and answer for me. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats and black among the sheep, if found with me, shall be counted as stolen.
34 And Laban said, Good; let it be done as you say.
35 But that same day [Laban] removed the he-goats that were streaked and spotted and all the she-goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white on it, and every black lamb, and put them in charge of his sons.
36 And he set [a distance of] three days' journey between himself and Jacob; and Jacob was then left in care of the rest of Laban's flock.
37 But Jacob took fresh rods of poplar and almond and plane trees and peeled white streaks in them, exposing the white in the rods.
38 Then he set the rods which he had peeled in front of the flocks in the watering troughs where the flocks came to drink. And since they bred and conceived when they came to drink,
39 The flocks bred and conceived in sight of the rods and brought forth lambs and kids streaked, speckled, and spotted.
40 Jacob separated the lambs, and [as he had done with the peeled rods] he also set the faces of the flocks toward the streaked and all the dark in the [new] flock of Laban; and he put his own droves by themselves and did not let them breed with Laban's flock.
41 And whenever the stronger animals were breeding, Jacob laid the rods in the watering troughs before the eyes of the flock, that they might breed and conceive among the rods.
42 But when the sheep and goats were feeble, he omitted putting the rods there; so the feebler animals were Laban's and the stronger Jacob's.
43 Thus the man increased and became exceedingly rich, and had many sheep and goats, and maidservants, menservants, camels, and donkeys.