Exit Parallel Mode
 

Genesis 30

30
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.
30
1When Rachel realized that she could bear Jacob no children, Rachel became jealous of her sister and said to Jacob, “Give me children! If you don’t, I may as well be dead.”
2Jacob was angry at Rachel and said, “Do you think I’m God? God alone has kept you from giving birth!”
3She said, “Here’s my servant Bilhah. Sleep with her, and she will give birth for me. Because of her, I will also have children.” 4So Rachel gave her servant Bilhah to Jacob as his wife, and he slept with her. 5Bilhah became pregnant and gave birth to a son for Jacob. 6Rachel said, “God has judged in my favor, heard my voice, and given me a son.” So she named him Dan.#30.6 Or he judged 7Rachel’s servant Bilhah became pregnant again and gave birth to a second son for Jacob. 8Rachel said, “I’ve competed fiercely with my sister, and now I’ve won.” So she named him Naphtali.#30.8 Or my competition or my wrestling
9When Leah realized that she had stopped bearing children, she took her servant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as his wife. 10Leah’s servant Zilpah gave birth to a son for Jacob, 11and Leah said, “What good luck!” So she named him Gad.#30.11 Or good fortune 12Leah’s servant Zilpah gave birth to a second son for Jacob, 13and Leah said, “I’m happy now because women call me happy.” So she named him Asher.#30.13 Or happy
14During the wheat harvest, Reuben found some erotic herbs#30.14 Or mandrakes in the field and brought them to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, “Give me your son’s erotic herbs.”
15Leah replied, “Isn’t it enough that you’ve taken my husband? Now you want to take my son’s erotic herbs too?”
Rachel said, “For your son’s erotic herbs, Jacob#30.15 Or he may sleep with you tonight.”
16When Jacob came back from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must sleep with me because I’ve paid for you with my son’s erotic herbs.” So he slept with her that night.
17God responded to Leah. She became pregnant and gave birth to a fifth son for Jacob. 18Leah said, “God gave me what I paid for, what I deserved for giving my servant to my husband.” So she named him Issachar.#30.18 Or there is payment 19Leah became pregnant again and gave birth to a sixth son for Jacob, 20and she said, “God has given me a wonderful gift. Now my husband will honor me since I’ve borne him six sons.” So she named him Zebulun.#30.20 Or honor 21After this, she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.
22Then God remembered Rachel, responded to her, and let her conceive. 23She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and said, “God has taken away my shame.” 24She named him Joseph,#30.24 Or he adds saying to herself, May the LORD give me another son.
God blesses Jacob and Laban
25After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me off so that I can go to my own place and my own country. 26Give me my wives and children whom I’ve worked for, and I will go. You know the work I’ve done for you.”
27Laban said to him, “Do me this favor. I’ve discovered by a divine sign that the LORD has blessed me because of you, 28so name your price and I will pay it.”
29Jacob said to him, “You know how I’ve worked for you, and how well your livestock have done with me. 30While in my care, what little you had has multiplied a great deal. The LORD blessed you wherever I took your livestock.#30.30 Or them Now, when will I be able to work for my own household too?”
31Laban said, “What will I pay you?”
Jacob said, “Don’t pay me anything. If you will do this for me, I will take care of your flock again, and keep a portion.#30.31 Heb uncertain 32I will go through the entire flock today, taking out all of the speckled and spotted sheep, all of the black male lambs, and all of the spotted and speckled female goats. That will be my price. 33I will be completely honest with you: when you come to check on our agreement, every female goat with me that isn’t speckled or spotted and every male lamb with me that isn’t black will be considered stolen.”
34Laban said, “All right; let’s do it.” 35However, on that very day Laban took out the striped and spotted male goats and all of the speckled and spotted female goats—any with some white in it—and all of the black male lambs, and gave them to his sons. 36He put a three-day trip between himself and Jacob, while Jacob was watching the rest of Laban’s flock.
37Then Jacob took new branches from poplar, almond, and plane trees; and he peeled white stripes on them, exposing the branches’ white color. 38He set the branches that he had peeled near the watering troughs so that they were in front of the flock when they drank, because they often mated when they came to drink. 39When the flock mated in front of the branches, they gave birth to striped, speckled, and spotted young. 40Jacob sorted out the lambs, turning the flock to face the striped and black ones in Laban’s flock but keeping his flock separate, setting them apart from Laban’s flock. 41Whenever the strongest of the flock mated, Jacob put the branches in front of them near the watering troughs so that they mated near the branches. 42But he didn’t put branches up for the weakest of the flock. So the weakest became Laban’s and the strongest Jacob’s. 43The man Jacob became very, very rich: he owned large flocks, female and male servants, camels, and donkeys.