30:1 When Rachel saw that she could not give Jacob children, she 1 became jealous of her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children 2 or I’ll die!” 30:2 Jacob became furious 3 with Rachel and exclaimed, “Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?” 4 30:3 She replied, “Here is my servant Bilhah! Have sexual relations with 5 her so that she can bear 6 children 7 for me 8 and I can have a family through her.” 9
30:4 So Rachel 10 gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob had marital relations with 11 her. 30:5 Bilhah became pregnant 12 and gave Jacob a son. 13 30:6 Then Rachel said, “God has vindicated me. He has responded to my prayer 14 and given me a son.” That is why 15 she named him Dan. 16
30:7 Bilhah, Rachel’s servant, became pregnant again and gave Jacob another son. 17 30:8 Then Rachel said, “I have fought a desperate struggle with my sister, but I have won.” 18 So she named him Naphtali. 19
30:9 When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she gave 20 her servant Zilpah to Jacob as a wife. 30:10 Soon Leah’s servant Zilpah gave Jacob a son. 21 30:11 Leah said, “How fortunate!” 22 So she named him Gad. 23
30:14 At the time 28 of the wheat harvest Reuben went out and found some mandrake plants 29 in a field and brought them to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, “Give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” 30:15 But Leah replied, 30 “Wasn’t it enough that you’ve taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes too?” “All right,” 31 Rachel said, “he may sleep 32 with you tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.” 30:16 When Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must sleep 33 with me because I have paid for your services 34 with my son’s mandrakes.” So he had marital relations 35 with her that night. 30:17 God paid attention 36 to Leah; she became pregnant 37 and gave Jacob a son for the fifth time. 38 30:18 Then Leah said, “God has granted me a reward 39 because I gave my servant to my husband as a wife.” 40 So she named him Issachar. 41
30:19 Leah became pregnant again and gave Jacob a son for the sixth time. 42 30:20 Then Leah said, “God has given me a good gift. Now my husband will honor me because I have given him six sons.” So she named him Zebulun. 43
30:21 After that she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.
30:22 Then God took note of 44 Rachel. He paid attention to her and enabled her to become pregnant. 45 30:23 She became pregnant 46 and gave birth to a son. Then she said, “God has taken away my shame.” 47 30:24 She named him Joseph, 48 saying, “May the Lord give me yet another son.”
30:25 After Rachel had given birth 49 to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send 50 me on my way so that I can go 51 home to my own country. 52 30:26 Let me take my wives and my children whom I have acquired by working for you. 53 Then I’ll depart, 54 because you know how hard I’ve worked for you.” 55
30:27 But Laban said to him, “If I have found favor in your sight, please stay here, 56 for I have learned by divination 57 that the Lord has blessed me on account of you.” 30:28 He added, “Just name your wages – I’ll pay whatever you want.” 58
30:29 “You know how I have worked for you,” Jacob replied, 59 “and how well your livestock have fared under my care. 60 30:30 Indeed, 61 you had little before I arrived, 62 but now your possessions have increased many times over. 63 The Lord has blessed you wherever I worked. 64 But now, how long must it be before I do something for my own family too?” 65
30:31 So Laban asked, 66 “What should I give you?” “You don’t need to give me a thing,” 67 Jacob replied, 68 “but if you agree to this one condition, 69 I will continue to care for 70 your flocks and protect them: 30:32 Let me walk among 71 all your flocks today and remove from them every speckled or spotted sheep, every dark-colored lamb, 72 and the spotted or speckled goats. 73 These animals will be my wages. 74 30:33 My integrity will testify for me 75 later on. 76 When you come to verify that I’ve taken only the wages we agreed on, 77 if I have in my possession any goat that is not speckled or spotted or any sheep that is not dark-colored, it will be considered stolen.” 78 30:34 “Agreed!” said Laban, “It will be as you say.” 79
30:35 So that day Laban 80 removed the male goats that were streaked or spotted, all the female goats that were speckled or spotted (all that had any white on them), and all the dark-colored lambs, and put them in the care 81 of his sons. 30:36 Then he separated them from Jacob by a three-day journey, 82 while 83 Jacob was taking care of the rest of Laban’s flocks.
30:37 But Jacob took fresh-cut branches from poplar, almond, and plane trees. He made white streaks by peeling them, making the white inner wood in the branches visible. 30:38 Then he set up the peeled branches in all the watering troughs where the flocks came to drink. He set up the branches in front of the flocks when they were in heat and came to drink. 84 30:39 When the sheep mated 85 in front of the branches, they 86 gave birth to young that were streaked or speckled or spotted. 30:40 Jacob removed these lambs, but he made the rest of the flock face 87 the streaked and completely dark-colored animals in Laban’s flock. So he made separate flocks for himself and did not mix them with Laban’s flocks. 30:41 When the stronger females were in heat, 88 Jacob would set up the branches in the troughs in front of the flock, so they would mate near the branches. 30:42 But if the animals were weaker, he did not set the branches there. 89 So the weaker animals ended up belonging to Laban 90 and the stronger animals to Jacob. 30:43 In this way Jacob 91 became extremely prosperous. He owned 92 large flocks, male and female servants, camels, and donkeys.
[30:3] 9 tn Heb “and I will be built up, even I, from her.” The prefixed verbal form with the conjunction is subordinated to the preceding prefixed verbal form and gives the ultimate purpose for the proposed action. The idiom of “built up” here refers to having a family (see Gen 16:2, as well as Ruth 4:11 and BDB 125 s.v. בָנָה).
[30:6] 16 sn The name Dan means “he vindicated” or “he judged.” The name plays on the verb used in the statement which appears earlier in the verse. The verb translated “vindicated” is from דִּין (din, “to judge, to vindicate”), the same verbal root from which the name is derived. Rachel sensed that God was righting the wrong.
[30:8] 18 tn Heb “[with] a mighty struggle I have struggled with my sister, also I have prevailed.” The phrase “mighty struggle” reads literally “struggles of God.” The plural participle “struggles” reflects the ongoing nature of the struggle, while the divine name is used here idiomatically to emphasize the intensity of the struggle. See J. Skinner, Genesis (ICC), 387.
[30:8] 19 sn The name Naphtali (נַפְתָּלִי, naftali) must mean something like “my struggle” in view of the statement Rachel made in the preceding clause. The name plays on this earlier statement, “[with] a mighty struggle I have struggled with my sister.”
[30:11] 22 tc The statement in the Kethib (consonantal text) appears to mean literally “with good fortune,” if one takes the initial בְּ (bet) as a preposition indicating accompaniment. The Qere (marginal reading) means “good fortune has arrived.”
[30:13] 27 sn The name Asher (אָשֶׁר, ’asher) apparently means “happy one.” The name plays on the words used in the statement which appears earlier in the verse. Both the Hebrew noun and verb translated “happy” and “call me happy,” respectively, are derived from the same root as the name Asher.
[30:16] 35 tn This is the same Hebrew verb (שָׁכַב, shakhav) translated “sleep with” in v. 15. In direct discourse the more euphemistic “sleep with” was used, but here in the narrative “marital relations” reflects more clearly the emphasis on sexual intercourse.
[30:18] sn Leah seems to regard the act of giving her servant Zilpah to her husband as a sacrifice, for which (she believes) God is now rewarding her with the birth of a son.
[30:18] 41 sn The name Issachar (יְשָּׁשכָר, yishakhar) appears to mean “man of reward” or possibly “there is reward.” The name plays on the word used in the statement made earlier in the verse. The Hebrew noun translated “reward” is derived from the same root as the name Issachar. The irony is that Rachel thought the mandrakes would work for her, and she was willing to trade one night for them. But in that one night Leah became pregnant.
[30:20] 43 sn The name Zebulun (זְבֻלוּן, zevulun) apparently means “honor.” The name plays on the verb used in the statement made earlier in the verse. The Hebrew verb translated “will honor” and the name Zebulun derive from the same root.
[30:22] 45 tn Heb “and God listened to her and opened up her womb.” Since “God” is the subject of the previous clause, the noun has been replaced by the pronoun “he” in the translation for stylistic reasons
[30:23] 47 tn Heb “my reproach.” A “reproach” is a cutting taunt or painful ridicule, but here it probably refers by metonymy to Rachel’s barren condition, which was considered shameful in this culture and was the reason why she was the object of taunting and ridicule.
[30:24] 48 sn The name Joseph (יוֹסֵף, yoseph) means “may he add.” The name expresses Rachel’s desire to have an additional son. In Hebrew the name sounds like the verb (אָסַף,’asasf) translated “taken away” in the earlier statement made in v. 23. So the name, while reflecting Rachel’s hope, was also a reminder that God had removed her shame.
[30:25] sn For Jacob to ask to leave would mean that seven more years had passed. Thus all Jacob’s children were born within the range of seven years of each other, with Joseph coming right at the end of the seven years.
[30:26] 53 tn Heb “give my wives and my children, for whom I have served you.” In one sense Laban had already “given” Jacob his two daughters as wives (Gen 29:21, 28). Here Jacob was asking for permission to take his own family along with him on the journey back to Canaan.
[30:29] 59 tn Heb “and he said to him, ‘You know how I have served you.’” The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons, and the referent of the pronoun “he” (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
[30:33] sn Only the wage we agreed on. Jacob would have to be considered completely honest here, for he would have no control over the kind of animals born; and there could be no disagreement over which animals were his wages.
[30:36] sn Three days’ traveling distance from Jacob. E. A. Speiser observes, “Laban is delighted with the terms, and promptly proceeds to violate the spirit of the bargain by removing to a safe distance all the grown animals that would be likely to produce the specified spots” (Genesis [AB], 238). Laban apparently thought that by separating out the spotted, striped, and dark colored animals he could minimize the production of spotted, striped, or dark offspring that would then belong to Jacob.
[30:38] 84 sn He put the branches in front of the flocks…when they came to drink. It was generally believed that placing such “visual aids” before the animals as they were mating, it was possible to influence the appearance of their offspring. E. A. Speiser notes that “Jacob finds a way to outwit his father-in-law, through prenatal conditioning of the flock by visual aids – in conformance with universal folk beliefs” (Genesis [AB], 238). Nevertheless, in spite of Jacob’s efforts at animal husbandry, he still attributes the resulting success to God (see 31:5).
[30:39] 85 tn The Hebrew verb used here can mean “to be in heat” (see v. 38) or “to mate; to conceive; to become pregnant.” The latter nuance makes better sense in this verse, for the next clause describes them giving birth.