A A A A A
Bible Book List

Genesis 30 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Problems between Rachel and Leah

30 Rachel was very jealous of Leah for having children, and she said to Jacob, “I’ll die if you don’t give me some children!”

But Jacob became upset with Rachel and answered, “Don’t blame me! I’m not God.”

“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.”

Then Rachel let Jacob marry Bilhah, and they had a son. Rachel named him Dan,[a] because she said, “God has answered my prayers. He has judged me and given me a son.” When Bilhah and Jacob had a second son, Rachel said, “I’ve struggled hard with my sister, and I’ve won!” So she named the boy Naphtali.[b]

When Leah realized she could not have any more children, she let Jacob marry her servant Zilpah, 10 and they had a son. 11 “I’m really lucky,” Leah said, and she named the boy Gad.[c] 12 When they had another son, 13 Leah exclaimed, “I’m happy now, and all the women will say how happy I am.” So she named him Asher.[d]

Love Flowers

14 During the time of the wheat harvest, Reuben found some love flowers[e] and took them to his mother Leah. Rachel asked Leah for some of them, 15 but 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.”

16 That 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, 17 and God answered Leah’s prayers by giving her a fifth son. 18 Leah shouted, “God has rewarded me for letting Jacob marry my servant,” and she named the boy Issachar.[f]

19 When Leah had another son, 20 she 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.[g] 21 Later, Leah had a daughter and named her Dinah.

22-23 Finally, 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,[h] and I’ll pray that the Lord will give me another son.”

Jacob and Laban

25 After Joseph was born, Jacob said to Laban, “Release me from our agreement[i] and let me return to my own country. 26 You know how hard I’ve worked for you, so let me take my wives and children and leave.”

27-28 But Laban told him, “If you really are my friend, stay on, and I’ll pay whatever you ask. I’m sure[j] the Lord has blessed me because of you.”

29 Jacob answered:

You’ve seen how hard I’ve worked for you, and you know how your flocks and herds have grown under my care. 30 You 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. 32 Let me go through your flocks and herds and take the sheep and goats that are either spotted or speckled[k] and the black lambs. That’s all you need to give me. 33 In 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. 35 Before 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. 36 Then Laban made Jacob keep the rest of the sheep and goats at a distance of three days' journey.

37 Jacob 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. 38 Then he put the branches where the sheep and goats would see them[l] while they were drinking from the water trough. The goats mated there 39 in front of the branches, and their young were spotted and speckled.

40 Some 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.

41 When the stronger sheep were mating near the drinking place, Jacob made sure that the spotted branches were there. 42 But 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. 43 Jacob soon became rich and successful. He owned many sheep, goats, camels, and donkeys, as well as a lot of slaves.

Footnotes:

  1. 30.6 Dan: In Hebrew “Dan” means “judge.”
  2. 30.8 Naphtali: In Hebrew “Naphtali” means “struggle” or “contest.”
  3. 30.11 Gad: In Hebrew “Gad” means “lucky.”
  4. 30.13 Asher: In Hebrew “Asher” means “happy.”
  5. 30.14 love flowers: Also called “mandrakes,” a flowering plant that was thought to give sexual powers.
  6. 30.18 Issachar: In Hebrew “Issachar” sounds like “reward.”
  7. 30.20 Zebulun: In Hebrew “Zebulun” sounds like “give” and “praise.”
  8. 30.24 Joseph: In Hebrew “Joseph” sounds like “take away” and “add.”
  9. 30.25 Release. . . agreement: Jacob had agreed to work seven years for each of Laban’s two daughters (see 29.18).
  10. 30.27,28 I’m sure: The Hebrew text means to find out by some kind of magic, such as fortunetelling.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.

Genesis 30 New International Version (NIV)

30 When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. 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, who has kept you from having children?”

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

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

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

When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she took her servant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10 Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a son. 11 Then Leah said, “What good fortune!”[c] So she named him Gad.[d]

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

14 During wheat harvest, Reuben went out into the fields and found some mandrake plants, 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 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.”

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.” So he slept with her that night.

17 God listened to Leah, 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.” So she named him Issachar.[f]

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, because I have borne him six sons.” So she named him Zebulun.[g]

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

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

Jacob’s Flocks Increase

25 After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me on my way so I can go back to my own homeland. 26 Give me my wives and children, for whom I have served you, 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, please stay. I have learned by divination that the Lord has blessed me because of you.” 28 He added, “Name your wages, and I will pay them.”

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

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. They will be my wages. 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, will be considered stolen.

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, and he placed them in the care of his sons. 36 Then he put a three-day journey 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 and plane trees and made white stripes on them by peeling the bark and exposing the white inner wood of the branches. 38 Then he placed the peeled branches in all the watering troughs, so that they would be directly in front of the flocks when they came to drink. When the flocks were in heat and came to drink, 39 they mated in front of the branches. And they bore young that were streaked or speckled or spotted. 40 Jacob set apart the young of the flock by themselves, but made the rest face the streaked and dark-colored animals 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, Jacob would place the branches in the troughs in front of the animals so they would mate near the branches, 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. 43 In this way the man grew exceedingly prosperous and came to own large flocks, and female and male servants, and camels and donkeys.

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.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Viewing of
Cross references
Footnotes