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Genesis 30

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1When Rachel saw that #ch. 29:31she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!” 2Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, #[ch. 16:2; 1 Sam. 1:5]who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” 3Then she said, “Here is my servant #ch. 29:29 Bilhah; go in to her, so that she may give birth #ch. 50:23on my behalf,#30:3 Hebrew on my knees that even I may have children#30:3 Hebrew be built up, which sounds like the Hebrew for children through her.” 4So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob went in to her. 5And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. 6Then Rachel said, “God has #[ch. 49:16]judged me, and has also heard my voice and given me a son.” Therefore she called his name Dan.#30:6 Dan sounds like the Hebrew for judged 7Rachel’s servant Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. 8Then Rachel said, “With mighty wrestlings#30:8 Hebrew With wrestlings of God I have wrestled with my sister and have prevailed.” So she called his name #[Matt. 4:13]Naphtali.#30:8 Naphtali sounds like the Hebrew for wrestling
9When Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children, she took her servant Zilpah and #ver. 4; ch. 29:24gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10Then Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a son. 11And Leah said, #[ch. 49:19]“Good fortune has come!” so she called his name #[ch. 49:19]Gad.#30:11 Gad sounds like the Hebrew for good fortune 12Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. 13And Leah said, “Happy am I! For women #[Luke 1:48]have called me happy.” So she called his name Asher.#30:13 Asher sounds like the Hebrew for happy
14In the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found #Song 7:13mandrakes in the field and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” 15But she said to her, “Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes also?” Rachel said, “Then he may lie with you tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.” 16When Jacob came from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must come in to me, for I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he lay with her that night. 17And God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18Leah said, “God has given me my wages because I gave my servant to my husband.” So she called his name Issachar.#30:18 Issachar sounds like the Hebrew for wages, or hire
19And Leah conceived again, and she bore Jacob a sixth son. 20Then Leah said, “God has endowed me with a good endowment; now my husband will honor me, because I have borne him six sons.” So she called his name #[Matt. 4:13]Zebulun.#30:20 Zebulun sounds like the Hebrew for honor 21Afterward she bore a daughter and called her name Dinah.
22Then God #See ch. 8:1 remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and #ch. 29:31; [Ps. 127:3]opened her womb. 23She conceived and bore a son and said, “God has taken away #Luke 1:25; [1 Sam. 1:6; Isa. 4:1]my reproach.” 24And she called his name Joseph,#30:24 Joseph means May he add, and sounds like the Hebrew for taken away saying, #ch. 35:17“May the Lord add to me another son!”
Jacob’s Prosperity
25As soon as Rachel had borne Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, that I may go to my own home and country. 26Give me my wives and my children #ch. 29:20, 30for whom I have served you, that I may go, for you know the service that I have given you.” 27But Laban said to him, “If I have found favor in your sight, I have learned by divination that#30:27 Or have become rich and the Lord has blessed me because of you. 28#ch. 29:15Name your wages, and I will give it.” 29Jacob said to him, #ch. 31:6, 38-40“You yourself know how I have served you, and how your livestock has fared with me. 30For you had little before I came, #ver. 43 and it has increased abundantly, and the Lord has blessed you wherever I turned. But now when shall I #[1 Tim. 5:8]provide for my own household also?” 31He said, “What shall I give you?” Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything. If you will do this for me, I will again pasture your flock and keep it: 32let me pass through all your flock today, removing from it every speckled and spotted sheep and every black lamb, and the spotted and speckled among the goats, and #ch. 31:8they shall be my wages. 33So my honesty will answer for me later, when you come to look into my wages with you. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats and black among the lambs, if found with me, shall be counted stolen.” 34Laban said, “Good! Let it be as you have said.” 35But that day Laban removed the male goats that were striped and spotted, and all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white on it, and every lamb that was black, and put them in the charge of his sons. 36And he set a distance of three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob pastured the rest of Laban’s flock.
37Then #See ch. 31:8-12Jacob took fresh sticks of poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white streaks in them, exposing the white of the sticks. 38He set the sticks that he had peeled in front of the flocks in the troughs, that is, the #[Ex. 2:16]watering places, where the flocks came to drink. And since they bred when they came to drink, 39the flocks bred in front of the sticks and so the flocks brought forth striped, speckled, and spotted. 40And Jacob separated the lambs and set the faces of the flocks toward the striped and all the black in the flock of Laban. He put his own droves apart and did not put them with Laban’s flock. 41Whenever the stronger of the flock were breeding, Jacob would lay the sticks in the troughs before the eyes of the flock, that they might breed among the sticks, 42but for the feebler of the flock he would not lay them there. So the feebler would be Laban’s, and the stronger Jacob’s. 43Thus the man #ver. 30 increased greatly and #ch. 24:35; 26:13, 14had large flocks, female servants and male servants, and camels and donkeys.
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Problems between Rachel and Leah
1Rachel was very jealous of Leah for having children, and she said to Jacob, “I'll die if you don't give me some children!”
2But Jacob became upset with Rachel and answered, “Don't blame me! I'm not God.”
3“Here, take my servant Bilhah,” Rachel told him. “Have children by her, and I'll let them be born on my knees to show that they are mine.”
4Then Rachel let Jacob marry Bilhah, 5and they had a son. 6Rachel named him Dan,#30.6 Dan: In Hebrew “Dan” means “judge.” because she said, “God has answered my prayers. He judged in my favor and has given me a son.” 7When Bilhah and Jacob had a second son, 8Rachel said, “I've struggled hard with my sister, and I've won!” So she named the boy Naphtali.#30.8 Naphtali: In Hebrew “Naphtali” means “struggle” or “contest.”
9When Leah realized she could not have any more children, she let Jacob marry her servant Zilpah, 10and they had a son. 11“I'm really lucky,” Leah said, and she named the boy Gad.#30.11 Gad: In Hebrew “Gad” means “lucky.” 12When they had another son, 13Leah exclaimed, “I'm happy now, and all the women will say how happy I am.” So she named him Asher.#30.13 Asher: In Hebrew “Asher” means “happy.”
Love Flowers
14During the time of the wheat harvest, Reuben found some love flowers#30.14 love flowers: Also called “mandrakes,” a flowering plant that was thought to give sexual powers. and took them to his mother Leah. Rachel asked Leah for some of them, 15but Leah said, “It's bad enough that you stole my husband! Now you want my son's love flowers too.”
“All right,” Rachel answered. “Let me have the flowers, and you can sleep with Jacob tonight.”
16That evening when Jacob came in from the fields, Leah told him, “You're sleeping with me tonight. I hired you with my son's love flowers.”
They slept together that night, 17and God answered Leah's prayers by giving her a fifth son. 18Leah shouted, “God has rewarded me for letting Jacob marry my servant,” and she named the boy Issachar.#30.18 Issachar: In Hebrew “Issachar” sounds like “reward.”
19When Leah had another son, 20she exclaimed, “God has given me a wonderful gift, and my husband will praise me for giving him six sons.” So she named the boy Zebulun.#30.20 Zebulun: In Hebrew “Zebulun” sounds like “give” and “praise.” 21Later, Leah had a daughter and named her Dinah.
22-23Finally, God remembered Rachel—he answered her prayer by giving her a son. “God has taken away my disgrace,” she said. 24“I'll name the boy Joseph,#30.24 Joseph: In Hebrew “Joseph” sounds like “take away” and “add.” and I'll pray that the Lord will give me another son.”
Jacob and Laban
25After Joseph was born, Jacob said to Laban, “Release me from our agreement#30.25 Release … agreement: Jacob had agreed to work seven years for each of Laban's two daughters (see 29.18). and let me return to my own country. 26You know how hard I've worked for you, so let me take my wives and children and leave.”
27-28But Laban told him, “If you really are my friend, stay on, and I'll pay whatever you ask. I'm sure#30.27,28 I'm sure: The Hebrew says he found this out by some kind of magic, such as fortunetelling. the Lord has blessed me because of you.”
29Jacob answered:
You've seen how hard I've worked for you, and you know how your flocks and herds have grown under my care. 30You didn't have much before I came, but the Lord has blessed everything I have ever done for you. Now it's time for me to start looking out for my own family.
31“How much do you want me to pay you?” Laban asked.
Then Jacob told him:
I don't want you to pay me anything. Just do one thing, and I'll take care of your sheep and goats. 32Let me go through your flocks and herds and take the sheep and goats that are either spotted or speckled#30.32 spotted or speckled: In ancient times sheep were usually white, and goats were usually black or dark brown; only a few sheep would have black spots, and only a few goats would have white spots. and the black lambs. That's all you need to give me. 33In the future you can easily find out if I've been honest. Just look and see if my animals are either spotted or speckled, or if the lambs are black. If they aren't, they've been stolen from you.
34“I agree to that,” was Laban's response. 35Before the end of the day, Laban had separated his spotted and speckled animals and the black lambs from the others and had put his sons in charge of them. 36Then Laban made Jacob keep the rest of the sheep and goats at a distance of three days' journey.
37Jacob cut branches from some poplar trees and from some almond and evergreen trees. He peeled off part of the bark and made the branches look spotted and speckled. 38Then he put the branches where the sheep and goats would see them#30.38 would see them: It was believed by some that what sheep and goats saw at the time of breeding would determine the color of their young. while they were drinking from the water trough. The goats mated there 39in front of the branches, and their young were spotted and speckled.
40Some of the sheep that Jacob was keeping for Laban were already spotted. And when the others were ready to mate, he made sure that they faced in the direction of the spotted and black ones. In this way, Jacob built up a flock of sheep for himself and did not put them with the other sheep.
41When the stronger sheep were mating near the drinking place, Jacob made sure that the spotted branches were there. 42But he would not put out the branches when the weaker animals were mating. So Jacob got all of the healthy animals, and Laban got what was left. 43Jacob soon became rich and successful. He owned many sheep, goats, camels, and donkeys, as well as a lot of slaves.