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30 When Rachel saw that she was not having children for Jacob, she envied her sister Leah. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” Jacob became angry with her and said, “Can I do what only God can do? He is the one who has kept you from having children.”

Then Rachel said, “Here is my slave girl Bilhah. Have sexual relations with her so she can give birth to a child for me. Then I can have my own family through her.”

So Rachel gave Bilhah, her slave girl, to Jacob as a wife, and he had sexual relations with her. She became pregnant and gave Jacob a son. Rachel said, “God has judged me innocent. He has listened to my prayer and has given me a son,” so she named him Dan.[a]

Bilhah became pregnant again and gave Jacob a second son. Rachel said, “I have struggled hard with my sister, and I have won.” So she named that son Naphtali.[b]

Leah saw that she had stopped having children, so she gave her slave girl Zilpah to Jacob as a wife. 10 When Zilpah had a son, 11 Leah said, “I am lucky,” so she named him Gad.[c] 12 Zilpah gave birth to another son, 13 and Leah said, “I am very happy! Now women will call me happy,” so she named him Asher.[d]

14 During the wheat harvest Reuben went into the field and found some mandrake[e] plants and brought them to his mother Leah. But Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”

15 Leah answered, “You have already taken away my husband, and now you are trying to take away my son’s mandrakes.”

But Rachel answered, “If you will give me your son’s mandrakes, you may sleep with Jacob tonight.”

16 When Jacob came in from the field that night, Leah went out to meet him. She said, “You will have sexual relations with me tonight because I have paid for you with my son’s mandrakes.” So Jacob slept with her that night.

17 Then God answered Leah’s prayer, and she became pregnant again. She gave birth to a fifth son 18 and said, “God has given me what I paid for, because I gave my slave girl to my husband.” So Leah named her son Issachar.[f]

19 Leah became pregnant again and gave birth to a sixth son. 20 She said, “God has given me a fine gift. Now surely Jacob will honor me, because I have given him six sons,” so she named him Zebulun.[g] 21 Later Leah gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.

22 Then God remembered Rachel and answered her prayer, making it possible for her to have children. 23 When she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, she said, “God has taken away my shame,” 24 and she named him Joseph.[h] Rachel said, “I wish the Lord would give me another son.”

Jacob Tricks Laban

25 After the birth of Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Now let me go to my own home and country. 26 Give me my wives and my children and let me go. I have earned them by working for you, and you know that I have served you well.”

27 Laban said to him, “If I have pleased you, please stay. I know the Lord has blessed me because of you. 28 Tell me what I should pay you, and I will give it to you.”

29 Jacob answered, “You know that I have worked hard for you, and your flocks have grown while I cared for them. 30 When I came, you had little, but now you have much. Every time I did something for you, the Lord blessed you. But when will I be able to do something for my own family?”

31 Laban asked, “Then what should I give you?”

Jacob answered, “I don’t want you to give me anything. Just do this one thing, and I will come back and take care of your flocks. 32 Today let me go through all your flocks. I will take every speckled or spotted sheep, every black lamb, and every spotted or speckled goat. That will be my pay. 33 In the future you can easily see if I am honest. When you come to look at my flocks, if I have any goat that isn’t speckled or spotted or any lamb that isn’t black, you will know I stole it.”

34 Laban answered, “Agreed! We will do what you ask.” 35 But that day Laban took away all the male goats that had streaks or spots, all the speckled and spotted female goats (all those that had white on them), and all the black sheep. He told his sons to watch over them. 36 Then he took these animals to a place that was three days’ journey away from Jacob. Jacob took care of all the flocks that were left.

37 So Jacob cut green branches from poplar, almond, and plane trees and peeled off some of the bark so that the branches had white stripes on them. 38 He put the branches in front of the flocks at the watering places. When the animals came to drink, they also mated there, 39 so the flocks mated in front of the branches. Then the young that were born were streaked, speckled, or spotted. 40 Jacob separated the young animals from the others, and he made them face the streaked and dark animals in Laban’s flock. Jacob kept his animals separate from Laban’s. 41 When the stronger animals in the flock were mating, Jacob put the branches before their eyes so they would mate near the branches. 42 But when the weaker animals mated, Jacob did not put the branches there. So the animals born from the weaker animals were Laban’s, and those born from the stronger animals were Jacob’s. 43 In this way Jacob became very rich. He had large flocks, many male and female servants, camels, and donkeys.

Footnotes

  1. 30:6 Dan This name means “he has judged.”
  2. 30:8 Naphtali This name sounds like the Hebrew word for “my struggle.”
  3. 30:11 Gad This name may mean “lucky.”
  4. 30:13 Asher This name may mean “happy.”
  5. 30:14 mandrake A plant which was believed to cause a woman to become pregnant.
  6. 30:18 Issachar This name sounds like the Hebrew word for “paid for.”
  7. 30:20 Zebulun This name sounds like the Hebrew word for “honor.”
  8. 30:24 Joseph This name sounds like the Hebrew word for “he adds.”

30 When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children,(A) she became jealous of her sister.(B) So she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!”

Jacob became angry with her and said, “Am I in the place of God,(C) who has kept you from having children?”(D)

Then she said, “Here is Bilhah,(E) my servant.(F) Sleep with her so that she can bear children for me and I too can build a family through her.”(G)

So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife.(H) Jacob slept with her,(I) and she became pregnant and bore him a son. Then Rachel said, “God has vindicated me;(J) he has listened to my plea and given me a son.”(K) Because of this she named him Dan.[a](L)

Rachel’s servant Bilhah(M) conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. Then Rachel said, “I have had a great struggle with my sister, and I have won.”(N) So she named him Naphtali.[b](O)

When Leah(P) saw that she had stopped having children,(Q) she took her servant Zilpah(R) and gave her to Jacob as a wife.(S) 10 Leah’s servant Zilpah(T) bore Jacob a son. 11 Then Leah said, “What good fortune!”[c] So she named him Gad.[d](U)

12 Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. 13 Then Leah said, “How happy I am! The women will call me(V) happy.”(W) So she named him Asher.[e](X)

14 During wheat harvest,(Y) Reuben went out into the fields and found some mandrake plants,(Z) which he brought to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”

15 But she said to her, “Wasn’t it enough(AA) that you took away my husband? Will you take my son’s mandrakes too?”

“Very well,” Rachel said, “he can sleep with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.”(AB)

16 So when Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him. “You must sleep with me,” she said. “I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.”(AC) So he slept with her that night.

17 God listened to Leah,(AD) and she became pregnant and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18 Then Leah said, “God has rewarded me for giving my servant to my husband.”(AE) So she named him Issachar.[f](AF)

19 Leah conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son. 20 Then Leah said, “God has presented me with a precious gift. This time my husband will treat me with honor,(AG) because I have borne him six sons.” So she named him Zebulun.[g](AH)

21 Some time later she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.(AI)

22 Then God remembered Rachel;(AJ) he listened to her(AK) and enabled her to conceive.(AL) 23 She became pregnant and gave birth to a son(AM) and said, “God has taken away my disgrace.”(AN) 24 She named him Joseph,[h](AO) and said, “May the Lord add to me another son.”(AP)

Jacob’s Flocks Increase

25 After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me on my way(AQ) so I can go back to my own homeland.(AR) 26 Give me my wives and children, for whom I have served you,(AS) and I will be on my way. You know how much work I’ve done for you.”

27 But Laban said to him, “If I have found favor in your eyes,(AT) please stay. I have learned by divination(AU) that the Lord has blessed me because of you.”(AV) 28 He added, “Name your wages,(AW) and I will pay them.”

29 Jacob said to him, “You know how I have worked for you(AX) and how your livestock has fared under my care.(AY) 30 The little you had before I came has increased greatly, and the Lord has blessed you wherever I have been.(AZ) But now, when may I do something for my own household?(BA)

31 “What shall I give you?” he asked.

“Don’t give me anything,” Jacob replied. “But if you will do this one thing for me, I will go on tending your flocks and watching over them: 32 Let me go through all your flocks today and remove from them every speckled or spotted sheep, every dark-colored lamb and every spotted or speckled goat.(BB) They will be my wages.(BC) 33 And my honesty will testify for me in the future, whenever you check on the wages you have paid me. Any goat in my possession that is not speckled or spotted, or any lamb that is not dark-colored,(BD) will be considered stolen.(BE)

34 “Agreed,” said Laban. “Let it be as you have said.” 35 That same day he removed all the male goats that were streaked or spotted, and all the speckled or spotted female goats (all that had white on them) and all the dark-colored lambs,(BF) and he placed them in the care of his sons.(BG) 36 Then he put a three-day journey(BH) between himself and Jacob, while Jacob continued to tend the rest of Laban’s flocks.

37 Jacob, however, took fresh-cut branches from poplar, almond(BI) and plane trees(BJ) and made white stripes on them by peeling the bark and exposing the white inner wood of the branches.(BK) 38 Then he placed the peeled branches(BL) in all the watering troughs,(BM) so that they would be directly in front of the flocks when they came to drink. When the flocks were in heat(BN) and came to drink, 39 they mated in front of the branches.(BO) And they bore young that were streaked or speckled or spotted.(BP) 40 Jacob set apart the young of the flock by themselves, but made the rest face the streaked and dark-colored animals(BQ) that belonged to Laban. Thus he made separate flocks for himself and did not put them with Laban’s animals. 41 Whenever the stronger females were in heat,(BR) Jacob would place the branches in the troughs in front of the animals so they would mate near the branches,(BS) 42 but if the animals were weak, he would not place them there. So the weak animals went to Laban and the strong ones to Jacob.(BT) 43 In this way the man grew exceedingly prosperous and came to own large flocks, and female and male servants, and camels and donkeys.(BU)

Footnotes

  1. Genesis 30:6 Dan here means he has vindicated.
  2. Genesis 30:8 Naphtali means my struggle.
  3. Genesis 30:11 Or “A troop is coming!”
  4. Genesis 30:11 Gad can mean good fortune or a troop.
  5. Genesis 30:13 Asher means happy.
  6. Genesis 30:18 Issachar sounds like the Hebrew for reward.
  7. Genesis 30:20 Zebulun probably means honor.
  8. Genesis 30:24 Joseph means may he add.

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