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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 Rachel saw that she did not bear [banim] to Ya'akov, Rachel had kina toward her achot; and said unto Ya'akov, Give me banim, or else I die. 2And af Ya'akov was kindled against Rachel; and he said, Am I in place of Elohim, Who hath withheld from thee p'ri beten? 3And she said, Hinei my amah (maidservant) Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my birkayim, that I may also build up through her. 4And she gave him Bilhah her shifchah (slave woman, maidservant) as isha; and Ya'akov went in unto her. 5And Bilhah conceived, and bore Ya'akov ben. 6And Rachel said, Elohim danani (G-d hath judged me), and hath also heard my voice, and hath given to me ben: therefore called she shmo Dan. 7And Bilhah shifchat Rachel conceived again, and bore Ya'akov ben sheni. 8And Rachel said, With naftulei Elohim niflalti (with wrestlings of G-d have I wrestled) with my achot, and I have prevailed: and she called shmo Naphtali. 9When Leah saw that she had stopped bearing, she took Zilpah her shifchah, and gave her to Ya'akov as isha. 10And Zilpah shifchat Leah bore Ya'akov ben. 11And Leah said, BaGad (What Good Fortune!) And she called shmo Gad. 12And Zilpah shifchat Leah bore Ya'akov ben sheni. 13And Leah said, B'Ashri (Happy am I), for the banot will call me asher (blessed): so she called shmo Asher. 14And Reuven went in the yemei ketzir chittim, and found duda'im (mandrakes) in the sadeh, and brought them unto Leah immo. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, now, of the duda'im of thy ben. 15And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my ish? And wouldest thou take away the duda'im of beni also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee halailah (tonight) for the duda'im of thy ben. 16And Ya'akov came in from the sadeh ba'erev, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with duda'im of beni. And he lay with her that night. 17And Elohim paid heed unto Leah, and she conceived, and bore Ya'akov ben chamishi. 18And Leah said, Elohim hath given me my hire, because I have given my shifchah to my ish; and she called shmo Yissakhar. 19And Leah conceived again, and bore Ya'akov ben shishi. 20And Leah said, Elohim hath endued me with a zeved tov (good endowment); now will my ish zabal (honor) me, because I have born him shisha banim; and she called shmo Zevulun. 21And afterwards she bore a bat, and called her shem Dinah. 22And Elohim remembered Rachel, and Elohim paid heed to her, and opened her rekhem (womb). 23And she conceived, and bore ben; and said, Elohim hath taken away my cherpah (shame, disgrace, reproach); 24And she called shmo Yosef; and said, yosef (may He add), may Hashem add me ben acher (another son). 25And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Yosef, that Ya'akov said unto Lavan, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own makom (place, home) and to my eretz. 26Give me my nashim and my yeladim, for whom I have served thee, and let me go: for thou knowest my avodah which I have done thee. 27And Lavan said unto him, Now, if I have found chen (favor, grace) in thine eyes, tarry; for I have learned by nachash (divination) that Hashem hath made a berakhah upon me for thy sake. 28And he said, Specify thy sachar (wages, reward), and I will pay it. 29And he said unto him, Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy mikneh fared with me 30For it was me'at (little) which thou hadst before I came, and it is now increased unto a multitude; and Hashem hath made a berakhah upon thee since my coming; and now when shall I do for mine own bais also? 31And he said, What shall I give thee? And Ya'akov said, Thou shalt not give me any thing; if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again tend and be shomer over thy tzon. 32I will pass through all thy tzon today, removing from there speckled and spotted seh, and every dark seh among the kesavim, and the spotted and speckled among the izzim; and of such shall be my sachar. 33So shall my tzedakah answer for me in time to come, when it shall come for my sachar before thy face; every one that is not speckled and spotted among the izzim, and dark among the kesavim, that shall be counted a ganav's with me. 34And Lavan said, Agreed, I would it might be according to thy davar. 35And he removed that day the male goats that were streaked and spotted, and all the izzim that were speckled and spotted, and every one that had some lavan in it, and all the dark among the kesavim, and gave them into the yad of his banim. 36And he set a derech shloshet yamim between himself and Ya'akov; and Ya'akov tended the rest of the tzon Lavan. 37And Ya'akov took him fresh cut makal (rod, branch) of poplar and of almond and plane tree; and peeled strips of bark in them, and made the lavan (white) appear which was in the maklot (rods, branches). 38And he set the maklot which he had peeled before the flocks in the small channels of the shikatot mayim (watering troughs) when the tzon came to drink. And since they bred when they came to drink, 39And the flocks bred before the maklot, and brought forth tzon streaked, speckled, and spotted. 40And Ya'akov did separate the kesavim, and set the faces of the tzon toward the streaked, and all the dark in the tzon Lavan; and he put his own adarim (flocks) by themselves, and put them not unto the tzon Lavan. 41And it came to pass, whensoever tzon hamekusharot (the stronger flock) did breed, that Ya'akov set the maklot before the eyes of the tzon in the trough channels, that they might breed among the maklot. 42But when the tzon were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler would belong to Lavan, and the stronger to Ya'akov. 43And the ish increased exceedingly, and had much tzon, and shefachot, and avadim, and gemalim, and chamorim.