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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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1And Rachel, seeing herself without children, envied her sister, and said to her husband: Give me children, otherwise I shall die.
2And Jacob being angry with her answered: Am I as God, who hath deprived thee of the fruit of thy womb?
3But she said: I have here my servant Bala. Go in unto her, that she may bear upon my knees, and I may have children by her.
4And she gave him Bala in marriage: who,
5When her husband had gone in unto her, conceived and bore a son.
6And Rachel said: The Lord hath judged for me, and hath heard my voice, giving me a son. And therefore she called his name Dan.
7And again Bala conceived and bore another,
8For whom Rachel said: God hath compared me with my sister, and I have prevailed. And she called him Nephtali.
9Lia, perceiving that she had left off bearing, gave Zelpha her handmaid to her husband.
10And when she had conceived and brought forth a son,
11She said: Happily. And therefore called his name Gad.
12Zelpha also bore another.
13And Lia said: This is for my happiness: for women will call me blessed. Therefore she called him Aser.
14And Ruben, going out in the time of the wheat harvest into the field, found mandrakes: which he brought to his mother Lia. And Rachel said: Give me part of thy son's mandrakes.
15She answered: Dost thou think it a small matter, that thou hast taken my husband from me, unless thou take also my son's mandrakes? Rachel said: He shall sleep with thee this night, for thy son's mandrakes.
16And when Jacob returned at even from the field, Lia went out to meet him, and said: Thou shalt come in unto me, because I have hired thee for my son's mandrakes. And he slept with her that night.
17And God heard her prayers: and she conceived and bore the fifth son,
18And said: God hath given me a reward, because I gave my handmaid to my husband. And she called his name Issachar.
19And Lia conceived again, and bore the sixth son,
20And said: God hath endowed me with a good dowry: this turn also my husband will be with me, because I have borne him six sons. And therefore she called his name Zabulon.
21After whom she bore a daughter, named Dina.
22The Lord also remembering Rachel heard her, and opened her womb,
23And she conceived, and bore a son, saying: God hath taken away my reproach.
24And she called his name Joseph, saying: The Lord give me also another son.
25And when Joseph was born, Jacob said to his father-in-law: Send me away that I may return into my country, and to my land.
26Give me my wives, and my children, for whom I have served thee, that I may depart: thou knowest the service that I have rendered thee.
27Laban said to him: Let me find favour in thy sight: I have learned by experience, that God hath blessed me for thy sake:
28Appoint thy wages which I shall give thee.
29But he answered: Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how great thy possession hath been in my hands.
30Thou hadst but little before I came to thee, and now thou art become rich: and the Lord hath blessed thee at my coming. It is reasonable therefore that I should now provide also for my own house.
31And Laban said: What shall I give thee? But he said: I require nothing. But if thou wilt do what I demand, I will feed, and keep thy sheep again.
32Go round through all thy flocks, and separate all the sheep of divers colours, and speckled: and all that is brown and spotted, and of divers colours, as well among the sheep, as among the goats, shall be my wages.
33And my justice shall answer for me tomorrow before thee when the time of the bargain shall come: and all that is not of divers colours, and spotted, and brown, as well among the sheep as among the goats, shall accuse me of theft.
34And Laban said: I like well what thou demandest.
35And he separated the same day the she-goats, and the sheep, and the he-goats, and the rams of divers colours, and spotted: and all the flock of one colour, that is, of white and black fleece, he delivered into the hands of his sons.
36And he set the space of three days' journey betwixt himself and his son-in-law, who fed the rest of his flock.
37And Jacob took green rods of poplar, and of almond, and of plane trees, and pilled them in part: so when the bark was taken off, in the parts that were pilled, there appeared whiteness: but the parts that were whole remained green. And by this means the colour was divers.
38And he put them in the troughs, where the water was poured out: that when the flocks should come to drink, they might have the rods before their eyes, and in the sight of them might conceive.
39And it came to pass that in the very heat of coition, the sheep beheld the rods, and brought forth spotted, and of divers colours, and speckled.
40And Jacob separated the flock, and put the rods in the troughs before the eyes of the rams. And all the white and the black were Laban's: and the rest were Jacob's, when the flocks were separated one from the other.
41So when the ewes went first to ram, Jacob put the rods in the troughs of water before the eyes of the rams, and of the ewes, that they might conceive while they were looking upon them.
42But when the latter coming was, and the last conceiving, he did not put them. And those that were lateward, become Laban's: and they of the first time, Jacob's.
43And the man was enriched exceedingly: and he had many flocks, maid-servants and men-servants, camels and asses.