Genesis Chapter 30
1 When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister. She said to Jacob, "Give me children, or else I will die."
2 Jacob's anger burnt against Rachel, and he said, "Am I in God's place, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?"
3 She said, "Behold, my maid Bilhah. Go in to her, that she may bear on my knees, and I also may obtain children by her."
4 She gave him Bilhah her servant as wife, and Jacob went in to her.
5 Bilhah conceived, and bore Jacob a son.
6 Rachel said, "God has judged me, and has also heard my voice, and has given me a son." Therefore she called his name Dan.
7 Bilhah, Rachel's servant, conceived again, and bore Jacob a second son.
8 Rachel said, "I have wrestled with my sister with mighty wrestlings, and have prevailed." She named him Naphtali.
9 When Leah saw that she had finished bearing, she took Zilpah, her servant, and gave her to Jacob as a wife.
10 Zilpah, Leah's servant, bore Jacob a son.
11 Leah said, "How fortunate!" She named him Gad.
12 Zilpah, Leah's servant, bore Jacob a second son.
13 Leah said, "Happy am I, for the daughters will call me happy." She named him Asher.
14 Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother, Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, "Please give me some of your son's mandrakes."
15 Leah 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, "Therefore he will lie with you tonight for your son's mandrakes."
16 Jacob came from the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, "You must come in to me; for I have surely hired you with my son's mandrakes." He lay with her that night.
17 God listened to Leah, and she conceived, and bore Jacob a fifth son.
18 Leah said, "God has given me my hire, because I gave my servant to my husband." She named him Issachar.
19 Leah conceived again, and bore a sixth son to Jacob.
20 Leah said, "God has endowed me with a good dowry. Now my husband will live with me, because I have borne him six sons." She named him Zebulun.
21 Afterwards, she bore a daughter, and named her Dinah.
22 God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her, and opened her womb.
23 She conceived, bore a son, and said, "God has taken away my reproach."
24 She named him Joseph, saying, "May the LORD add another son to me."
25 When Rachel had borne Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, "Send me away, that I may go to my own place, and to my country.
26 Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me go; for you know my service with which I have served you."
27 Laban said to him, "If now I have found favour in your eyes, stay here, for I have divined that the LORD has blessed me for your sake."
28 He said, "Appoint me your wages, and I will give it."
29 Jacob said to him, "You know how I have served you, and how your livestock have fared with me.
30 For it was little which you had before I came, and it has increased to a multitude. The LORD has blessed you wherever I turned. Now when will I provide for my own house also?"
31 Laban said, "What shall I give you?" Jacob said, "You shall not give me anything. If you will do this thing for me, I will again feed your flock and keep it.
32 I will pass through all your flock today, removing from there every speckled and spotted one, and every black one amongst the sheep, and the spotted and speckled amongst the goats. This will be my hire.
33 So my righteousness will answer for me hereafter, when you come concerning my hire that is before you. Every one that is not speckled and spotted amongst the goats, and black amongst the sheep, that might be with me, will be considered stolen."
34 Laban said, "Behold, let it be according to your word."
35 That day, he removed the male goats that were streaked and spotted, and all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white in it, and all the black ones amongst the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons.
36 He set three days' journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks.
37 Jacob took to himself rods of fresh poplar, almond, and plane tree, peeled white streaks in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods.
38 He set the rods which he had peeled opposite the flocks in the watering troughs where the flocks came to drink. They conceived when they came to drink.
39 The flocks conceived before the rods, and the flocks produced streaked, speckled, and spotted.
40 Jacob separated the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks towards the streaked and all the black in Laban's flock. He put his own droves apart, and didn't put them into Laban's flock.
41 Whenever the stronger of the flock conceived, Jacob laid the rods in front of the eyes of the flock in the watering troughs, that they might conceive amongst the rods;
42 but when the flock were feeble, he didn't put them in. So the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's.
43 The man increased exceedingly, and had large flocks, female servants and male servants, and camels and donkeys.
- Verse 24 (Joseph)
- Joseph means "may he add".
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Genesis Chapter 30 Guide
In reading these stories we must never forget that we are looking at things as they were in that far-gone time and must make all necessary allowances for the imperfect light in which these people lived. That, however, does not prevent our seeing how much is chronicled here which contradicts the principle of faith. It is the story of domestic trouble and heart-burning out of which arose actions utterly out of keeping with the life of simple trust. Nevertheless, throughout there is a manifest consciousness of the divine overruling. The interpretation of that government is often at fault, as when Rachel imagined that the son born to Bilhah was in any sense an answer to prayer. That answer came with the birth of Joseph.
At the birth of Joseph, Jacob attempted to break from Laban. Laban, however, realized that Jacob's coming and sojourn with him had brought him great gain; and for pure selfishness he was anxious to retain him. Thus a new compact was entered into between them.
Laban at once attempted to make impossible the enrichment of Jacob by setting three days' journey between the cattle ring-straked, speckled, and spotted, and the rest, giving the former into the hands of his sons, and the latter into the hands of Jacob. It was an attempt to frustrate the possibility of Jacob's gaining anything from the compact. The sequel shows that he had underestimated the shrewdness of his nephew.
Neither side acted admirably; but watching the movement between two schemers, it is impossible to avoid a feeling of satisfaction that Jacob was one too many for Laban. Comparing Jacob with Abraham, however, one sees how much lower was the level of his faith. Abraham had been content to let the scheming Lot choose. Jacob, always believing in God, nevertheless was not able to commit these matters of worldly possession to Him.
From "An Exposition of the Whole Bible" by G. Campbell Morgan.