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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 Raḥĕl saw that she bore Ya‛aqoḇ no children, Raḥĕl envied her sister, and said to Ya‛aqoḇ, “Give me children, or else I am going to die!”
2And Ya‛aqoḇ’s displeasure burned against Raḥĕl, and he said, “Am I in the place of Elohim, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?”
3And she said, “See, my female servant Bilhah; go in to her, and let her bear for me, and let me be built up from her as well.”
4So she gave him Bilhah her female servant as wife, and Ya‛aqoḇ went in to her.
5And Bilhah conceived and bore Ya‛aqoḇ a son.
6And Raḥĕl said, “Elohim has rightly ruled my case, and has also heard my voice and given me a son.” So she called his name Dan.
7And Raḥĕl’s female servant Bilhah conceived again and bore Ya‛aqoḇ a second son.
8And Raḥĕl said, “With great wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister, and I have overcome.” So she called his name Naphtali.
9And Lĕ’ah saw that she had ceased bearing, and she took Zilpah her female servant and gave her to Ya‛aqoḇ as wife.
10And Lĕ’ah’s female servant Zilpah bore Ya‛aqoḇ a son.
11And Lĕ’ah said, “Fortune comes!” So she called his name Gaḏ.#Heb. Gaḏ, meaning fortune.
12And Lĕ’ah’s female servant Zilpah bore Ya‛aqoḇ a second son.
13And Lĕ’ah said, “I am happy, for the daughters shall call me happy.” So she called his name Ashĕr.#Heb. - Ashĕr, meaning happy.
14And Re’uḇĕn went in the days of wheat harvest and found love-apples in the field, and brought them to his mother Lĕ’ah. And Raḥĕl said to Lĕ’ah, “Please give me some of your son’s love-apples.”
15But she said to her, “Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s love-apples too?” And Raḥĕl said, “Therefore let him lie with you tonight for your son’s love-apples.”
16And when Ya‛aqoḇ came out of the field in the evening, Lĕ’ah went out to meet him and said, “Do come in to me, for indeed, I have hired you with my son’s love-apples.” And he lay with her that night.
17And Elohim listened to Lĕ’ah, and she conceived and bore Ya‛aqoḇ a fifth son.
18And Lĕ’ah said, “Elohim has given me my hire, because I have given my female servant to my husband.” So she called his name Yissasḵar.
19And Lĕ’ah conceived again and bore Ya‛aqoḇ a sixth son.
20And Lĕ’ah said, “Elohim has presented me with a good present. Now my husband is going to dwell with me, because I have borne him six sons.” So she called his name Zeḇulun.
21And afterward she bore a daughter, and called her name Dinah.
22And Elohim remembered Raḥĕl, and Elohim listened to her and opened her womb.
23And she conceived, and bore a son, and said, “Elohim has taken away my reproach.”
24So she called his name Yosĕph, and said, “יהוה has added to me another son.”
25And it came to be, when Raḥĕl had borne Yosĕph, that Ya‛aqoḇ said to Laḇan, “Send me on my way, to go to my own place and to my land.
26Give my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me go, for you yourself know my service which I have done for you.
27And Laḇan said to him, “If please I have found favour in your eyes, stay, for I have divined that יהוה has blessed me for your sake.”
28And he said, “Name me your wages, and I give it.”
29So he said to him, “You know how I have served you and how your livestock has been with me.
30For the little you had before I came has increased greatly, and יהוה has blessed you since my coming. But now, when am I to provide for my own house too?
31And he said, “What do I give you?” And Ya‛aqoḇ said, “Give me naught! If you do this for me, I shall again feed and guard your flocks:
32“Let me pass through all your flock today, removing from there all the speckled and spotted sheep, and all the black ones among the lambs, and the spotted and speckled among the goats. And these shall be my wages.
33“And my righteousness shall answer for me in time to come, when you come concerning my wages: every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and black among the lambs, it is stolen if it is with me.”
34And Laḇan said, “See, let it be according to your word!”
35And on that day he set aside the male goats that were speckled and spotted, and all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had some white in it, and all the black ones among the lambs, and gave them into the hand of his sons.
36And he put three days’ journey between himself and Ya‛aqoḇ, and Ya‛aqoḇ fed the rest of Laḇan’s flocks.
37And Ya‛aqoḇ took for himself rods of green poplar and of the almond and chestnut trees, peeled white strips in them, and exposed the white which was in the rods.
38And he set the rods which he had peeled before the flocks in the gutters, in the watering troughs where the flocks came to drink, and they conceived when they came to drink.
39So the flocks conceived before the rods, and the flocks brought forth streaked, speckled, and spotted.
40And Ya‛aqoḇ separated the lambs, and made the flocks face toward the streaked and all the black in the flock of Laḇan, but he put his own flocks by themselves and did not put them with Laḇan’s flock.
41And it came to be, whenever the strong ones of the flock conceived, that Ya‛aqoḇ placed the rods before the eyes of the flock in the gutters, so they would conceive among the rods.
42But when the flocks were weak, he did not put them in, so the weak ones were Laḇan’s and the strong ones Ya‛aqoḇ’s.
43Thus the man increased very much, and had many flocks, and female and male servants, and camels and donkeys.