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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 when Rahel saw that she bare Iaakob no children, Rahel enuied her sister, and said vnto Iaakob, Giue me children, or els I dye. 2Then Iaakobs anger was kindled against Rahel, and he sayde, Am I in Gods steade, which hath withholden from thee the fruite of the wombe? 3And she said, Behold my maide Bilhah, goe in to her, and she shall beare vpon my knees, and I shall haue children also by her. 4Then shee gaue him Bilhah her mayde to wife, and Iaakob went in to her. 5So Bilhah conceiued and bare Iaakob a sonne. 6Then said Rahel, God hath giuen sentence on my side, and hath also heard my voyce, and hath giuen mee a sonne: therefore called shee his name, Dan. 7And Bilhah Rahels maide coceiued againe, and bare Iaakob the second sonne. 8Then Rahel said, with excellent wrestlings haue I wrestled with my sister, and haue gotten the vpper hande: and shee called his name, Naphtali. 9And when Leah saw that she had left bearing, shee tooke Zilpah her mayde, and gaue her Iaakob to wife. 10And Zilpah Leahs mayde bare Iaakob a sonne. 11Then sayd Leah, A companie commeth: and she called his name, Gad. 12Againe Zilpah Leahs mayde bare Iaakob another sonne. 13Then sayde Leah, Ah, blessed am I, for the daughters will blesse me. and she called his name, Asher. 14Nowe Reuben went in the dayes of the wheateharuest, and founde mandrakes in the fielde and brought them vnto his mother Leah. Then sayde Rahel to Leah, Giue me, I pray thee, of thy sonnes mandrakes. 15But shee answered her, Is it a small matter for thee to take mine husband, except thou take my sonnes mandrakes also? Then sayde Rahel, Therefore he shall sleepe with thee this night for thy sonnes mandrakes. 16And Iaakob came from the fielde in the euening, and Leah went out to meete him, and sayde, Come in to mee, for I haue bought and payed for thee with my sonnes mandrakes: and he slept with her that night. 17And God heard Leah and shee conceiued, and bare vnto Iaakob the fift sonne. 18Then said Leah, God hath giuen me my reward, because I gaue my mayde to my husband, and she called his name Issachar. 19After, Leah conceiued againe, and bare Iaakob the sixt sonne. 20Then Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowrie: nowe will mine husband dwell with me, because I haue borne him sixe sonnes: and she called his name Zebulun. 21After that, shee bare a daughter, and shee called her name Dinah. 22And God remembred Rahel, and God heard her, and opened her wombe. 23So she conceiued and bare a sonne, and said, God hath taken away my rebuke. 24And shee called his name Ioseph, saying, The Lord wil giue me yet another sonne. 25And assoone as Rahel had borne Ioseph, Iaakob said to Laban, Sende me away that I may go vnto my place and to my countrey. 26Giue me my wiues and my children, for whom I haue serued thee, and let me go: for thou knowest what seruice I haue done thee. 27To whom Laban answered, If I haue nowe found fauour in thy sight tarie: I haue perceiued that the Lord hath blessed me for thy sake. 28Also he said, Appoynt vnto me thy wages, and I will giue it thee. 29But he sayd vnto him, Thou knowest, what seruice I haue done thee, and in what taking thy cattell hath bene vnder me. 30For the litle, that thou haddest before I came, is increased into a multitude: and the Lord hath blessed thee by my comming: but nowe when shall I trauell for mine owne house also? 31Then he saide, What shall I giue thee? And Iaakob answered, Thou shalt giue mee nothing at all: if thou wilt doe this thing for mee, I will returne, feede, and keepe thy sheepe. 32I wil passe through all thy flockes this day, and separate from them all the sheepe with litle spots and great spots, and al blacke lambes among the sheepe, and the great spotted, and litle spotted among the goates: and it shalbe my wages. 33So shall my righteousnesse answere for me hereafter, when it shall come for my rewarde before thy face, and euery one that hath not litle or great spots among the goates, and blacke among the sheepe, the same shalbe theft with me. 34Then Laban sayde, Goe to, woulde God it might be according to thy saying. 35Therefore he tooke out the same day the hee goates that were partie coloured and with great spots, and all the shee goates with litle and great spots, and all that had white in them, and all the blacke among the sheepe, and put them in the keeping of his sonnes. 36And hee set three dayes iourney betweene himselfe and Iaakob. And Iaakob kept the rest of Labans sheepe. 37Then Iaakob tooke rods of greene popular, and of hasell, and of the chesnut tree, and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appeare in the rods. 38Then he put the rods, which he had pilled, in the gutters and watering troughes, when the sheepe came to drink, before the sheepe. (for they were in heate, when they came to drinke) 39And the sheepe were in heate before the rods, and afterward brought forth yong of partie colour, and with small and great spots. 40And Iaakob parted these lambes, and turned the faces of the flocke towardes these lambes partie coloured and all maner of blacke, among the sheepe of Laban: so hee put his owne flockes by themselues, and put them not with Labans flocke. 41And in euery ramming time of the stronger sheepe, Iaakob layde the rods before the eyes of the sheepe in the gutters, that they might conceiue before the rods. 42But when the sheepe were feeble, hee put them not in: and so the feebler were Labans, and the stronger Iaakobs. 43So the man increased exceedingly, and had many flockes, and maide seruantes, and men seruants, and camels and asses.