28:1 So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him. Then he commanded him, “You must not marry a Canaanite woman! 1 28:2 Leave immediately 2 for Paddan Aram! Go to the house of Bethuel, your mother’s father, and find yourself a wife there, among the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother. 28:3 May the sovereign God 3 bless you! May he make you fruitful and give you a multitude of descendants! 4 Then you will become 5 a large nation. 6 28:4 May he give you and your descendants the blessing he gave to Abraham 7 so that you may possess the land 8 God gave to Abraham, the land where you have been living as a temporary resident.” 9 28:5 So Isaac sent Jacob on his way, and he went to Paddan Aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean and brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau.
28:6 Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him off to Paddan Aram to find a wife there. 10 As he blessed him, 11 Isaac commanded him, “You must not marry a Canaanite woman.” 12 28:7 Jacob obeyed his father and mother and left for Paddan Aram. 28:8 Then Esau realized 13 that the Canaanite women 14 were displeasing to 15 his father Isaac. 28:9 So Esau went to Ishmael and married 16 Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Abraham’s son Ishmael, along with the wives he already had.
28:10 Meanwhile Jacob left Beer Sheba and set out for Haran. 28:11 He reached a certain place 17 where he decided to camp because the sun had gone down. 18 He took one of the stones 19 and placed it near his head. 20 Then he fell asleep 21 in that place 28:12 and had a dream. 22 He saw 23 a stairway 24 erected on the earth with its top reaching to the heavens. The angels of God were going up and coming down it 28:13 and the Lord stood at its top. He said, “I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham and the God of your father Isaac. 25 I will give you and your descendants the ground 26 you are lying on. 28:14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, 27 and you will spread out 28 to the west, east, north, and south. All the families of the earth will pronounce blessings on one another 29 using your name and that of your descendants. 30 28:15 I am with you! 31 I will protect you wherever you go and will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I promised you!”
28:16 Then Jacob woke up 32 and thought, 33 “Surely the Lord is in this place, but I did not realize it!” 28:17 He was afraid and said, “What an awesome place this is! This is nothing else than the house of God! This is the gate of heaven!”
28:18 Early 34 in the morning Jacob 35 took the stone he had placed near his head 36 and set it up as a sacred stone. 37 Then he poured oil on top of it. 28:19 He called that place Bethel, 38 although the former name of the town was Luz. 28:20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God is with me and protects me on this journey I am taking and gives me food 39 to eat and clothing to wear, 28:21 and I return safely to my father’s home, 40 then the Lord will become my God. 28:22 Then this stone 41 that I have set up as a sacred stone will be the house of God, and I will surely 42 give you back a tenth of everything you give me.” 43
29:1 So Jacob moved on 44 and came to the land of the eastern people. 45 29:2 He saw 46 in the field a well with 47 three flocks of sheep lying beside it, because the flocks were watered from that well. Now 48 a large stone covered the mouth of the well. 29:3 When all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds 49 would roll the stone off the mouth of the well and water the sheep. Then they would put the stone back in its place over the well’s mouth.
29:4 Jacob asked them, “My brothers, where are you from?” They replied, “We’re from Haran.” 29:5 So he said to them, “Do you know Laban, the grandson 50 of Nahor?” “We know him,” 51 they said. 29:6 “Is he well?” 52 Jacob asked. They replied, “He is well. 53 Now look, here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep.” 29:7 Then Jacob 54 said, “Since it is still the middle of the day, 55 it is not time for the flocks to be gathered. You should water the sheep and then go and let them graze some more.” 56 29:8 “We can’t,” they said, “until all the flocks are gathered and the stone is rolled off the mouth of the well. Then we water 57 the sheep.”
29:9 While he was still speaking with them, Rachel arrived with her father’s sheep, for she was tending them. 58 29:10 When Jacob saw Rachel, the daughter of his uncle Laban, 59 and the sheep of his uncle Laban, he 60 went over 61 and rolled the stone off the mouth of the well and watered the sheep of his uncle Laban. 62 29:11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel and began to weep loudly. 63 29:12 When Jacob explained 64 to Rachel that he was a relative of her father 65 and the son of Rebekah, she ran and told her father. 29:13 When Laban heard this news about Jacob, his sister’s son, he rushed out to meet him. He embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his house. Jacob 66 told Laban how he was related to him. 67 29:14 Then Laban said to him, “You are indeed my own flesh and blood.” 68 So Jacob 69 stayed with him for a month. 70
29:15 Then Laban said to Jacob, “Should you work 71 for me for nothing because you are my relative? 72 Tell me what your wages should be.” 29:16 (Now Laban had two daughters; 73 the older one was named Leah, and the younger one Rachel. 29:17 Leah’s eyes were tender, 74 but Rachel had a lovely figure and beautiful appearance.) 75 29:18 Since Jacob had fallen in love with 76 Rachel, he said, “I’ll serve you seven years in exchange for your younger daughter Rachel.” 29:19 Laban replied, “I’d rather give her to you than to another man. 77 Stay with me.” 29:20 So Jacob worked for seven years to acquire Rachel. 78 But they seemed like only a few days to him 79 because his love for her was so great. 80
29:21 Finally Jacob said 81 to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my time of service is up. 82 I want to have marital relations with her.” 83 29:22 So Laban invited all the people 84 of that place and prepared a feast. 29:23 In the evening he brought his daughter Leah 85 to Jacob, 86 and Jacob 87 had marital relations with her. 88 29:24 (Laban gave his female servant Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her servant.) 89
29:25 In the morning Jacob discovered it was Leah! 90 So Jacob 91 said to Laban, “What in the world have you done to me! 92 Didn’t I work for you in exchange for Rachel? Why have you tricked 93 me?” 29:26 “It is not our custom here,” 94 Laban replied, “to give the younger daughter in marriage 95 before the firstborn. 29:27 Complete my older daughter’s bridal week. 96 Then we will give you the younger one 97 too, in exchange for seven more years of work.” 98
29:28 Jacob did as Laban said. 99 When Jacob 100 completed Leah’s bridal week, 101 Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. 102 29:29 (Laban gave his female servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her servant.) 103 29:30 Jacob 104 had marital relations 105 with Rachel as well. He loved Rachel more than Leah, so he worked for Laban 106 for seven more years. 107
29:31 When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, 108 he enabled her to become pregnant 109 while Rachel remained childless. 29:32 So Leah became pregnant 110 and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, 111 for she said, “The Lord has looked with pity on my oppressed condition. 112 Surely my husband will love me now.”
29:34 She became pregnant again and had another son. She said, “Now this time my husband will show me affection, 115 because I have given birth to three sons for him.” That is why he was named Levi. 116
30:1 When Rachel saw that she could not give Jacob children, she 118 became jealous of her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children 119 or I’ll die!” 30:2 Jacob became furious 120 with Rachel and exclaimed, “Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?” 121 30:3 She replied, “Here is my servant Bilhah! Have sexual relations with 122 her so that she can bear 123 children 124 for me 125 and I can have a family through her.” 126
30:4 So Rachel 127 gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob had marital relations with 128 her. 30:5 Bilhah became pregnant 129 and gave Jacob a son. 130 30:6 Then Rachel said, “God has vindicated me. He has responded to my prayer 131 and given me a son.” That is why 132 she named him Dan. 133
30:7 Bilhah, Rachel’s servant, became pregnant again and gave Jacob another son. 134 30:8 Then Rachel said, “I have fought a desperate struggle with my sister, but I have won.” 135 So she named him Naphtali. 136
30:9 When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she gave 137 her servant Zilpah to Jacob as a wife. 30:10 Soon Leah’s servant Zilpah gave Jacob a son. 138 30:11 Leah said, “How fortunate!” 139 So she named him Gad. 140
30:14 At the time 145 of the wheat harvest Reuben went out and found some mandrake plants 146 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, 147 “Wasn’t it enough that you’ve taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes too?” “All right,” 148 Rachel said, “he may sleep 149 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 150 with me because I have paid for your services 151 with my son’s mandrakes.” So he had marital relations 152 with her that night. 30:17 God paid attention 153 to Leah; she became pregnant 154 and gave Jacob a son for the fifth time. 155 30:18 Then Leah said, “God has granted me a reward 156 because I gave my servant to my husband as a wife.” 157 So she named him Issachar. 158
30:19 Leah became pregnant again and gave Jacob a son for the sixth time. 159 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. 160
30:21 After that she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.
30:22 Then God took note of 161 Rachel. He paid attention to her and enabled her to become pregnant. 162 30:23 She became pregnant 163 and gave birth to a son. Then she said, “God has taken away my shame.” 164 30:24 She named him Joseph, 165 saying, “May the Lord give me yet another son.”
30:25 After Rachel had given birth 166 to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send 167 me on my way so that I can go 168 home to my own country. 169 30:26 Let me take my wives and my children whom I have acquired by working for you. 170 Then I’ll depart, 171 because you know how hard I’ve worked for you.” 172
30:27 But Laban said to him, “If I have found favor in your sight, please stay here, 173 for I have learned by divination 174 that the Lord has blessed me on account of you.” 30:28 He added, “Just name your wages – I’ll pay whatever you want.” 175
30:29 “You know how I have worked for you,” Jacob replied, 176 “and how well your livestock have fared under my care. 177 30:30 Indeed, 178 you had little before I arrived, 179 but now your possessions have increased many times over. 180 The Lord has blessed you wherever I worked. 181 But now, how long must it be before I do something for my own family too?” 182
30:31 So Laban asked, 183 “What should I give you?” “You don’t need to give me a thing,” 184 Jacob replied, 185 “but if you agree to this one condition, 186 I will continue to care for 187 your flocks and protect them: 30:32 Let me walk among 188 all your flocks today and remove from them every speckled or spotted sheep, every dark-colored lamb, 189 and the spotted or speckled goats. 190 These animals will be my wages. 191 30:33 My integrity will testify for me 192 later on. 193 When you come to verify that I’ve taken only the wages we agreed on, 194 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.” 195 30:34 “Agreed!” said Laban, “It will be as you say.” 196
30:35 So that day Laban 197 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 198 of his sons. 30:36 Then he separated them from Jacob by a three-day journey, 199 while 200 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. 201 30:39 When the sheep mated 202 in front of the branches, they 203 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 204 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, 205 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. 206 So the weaker animals ended up belonging to Laban 207 and the stronger animals to Jacob. 30:43 In this way Jacob 208 became extremely prosperous. He owned 209 large flocks, male and female servants, camels, and donkeys.
[28:4] 7 tn Heb “and may he give to you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your offspring with you.” The name “Abraham” is an objective genitive here; this refers to the blessing that God gave to Abraham.
[28:11] 17 tn Heb “the place.” The article may indicate simply that the place is definite in the mind of the narrator. However, as the story unfolds the place is transformed into a holy place. See A. P. Ross, “Jacob’s Vision: The Founding of Bethel,” BSac 142 (1985): 224-37.
[28:11] 20 tn Heb “and he put [it at] the place of his head.” The text does not actually say the stone was placed under his head to serve as a pillow, although most interpreters and translators assume this. It is possible the stone served some other purpose. Jacob does not seem to have been a committed monotheist yet (see v. 20-21) so he may have believed it contained some spiritual power. Note that later in the story he anticipates the stone becoming the residence of God (see v. 22). Many cultures throughout the world view certain types of stones as magical and/or sacred. See J. G. Fraser, Folklore in the Old Testament, 231-37.
[28:12] 23 tn Heb “and look.” The scene which Jacob witnessed is described in three clauses introduced with הִנֵּה (hinneh). In this way the narrator invites the reader to witness the scene through Jacob’s eyes. J. P. Fokkelman points out that the particle goes with a lifted arm and an open mouth: “There, a ladder! Oh, angels! and look, the
[28:12] 24 tn The Hebrew noun סֻלָּם (sullam, “ladder, stairway”) occurs only here in the OT, but there appears to be an Akkadian cognate simmiltu (with metathesis of the second and third consonants and a feminine ending) which has a specialized meaning of “stairway, ramp.” See H. R. Cohen, Biblical Hapax Legomena (SBLDS), 34. For further discussion see C. Houtman, “What Did Jacob See in His Dream at Bethel? Some Remarks on Genesis 28:10-22,” VT 27 (1977): 337-52; J. G. Griffiths, “The Celestial Ladder and the Gate of Heaven,” ExpTim 76 (1964/65): 229-30; and A. R. Millard, “The Celestial Ladder and the Gate of Heaven,” ExpTim 78 (1966/67): 86-87.
[28:13] 25 tn Heb “the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac.” The Hebrew word for “father” can typically be used in a broader sense than the English word, in this case referring to Abraham (who was Jacob’s grandfather). For stylistic reasons and for clarity, the words “your father” are supplied with “Isaac” in the translation.
[28:13] 26 tn The Hebrew term אֶרֶץ (’erets) can mean “[the] earth,” “land,” “region,” “piece of ground,” or “ground” depending on the context. Here the term specifically refers to the plot of ground on which Jacob was lying, but at the same time this stands by metonymy for the entire land of Canaan.
[28:14] 29 tn Theoretically the Niphal stem can be translated either as passive or reflexive/reciprocal. (The Niphal of “bless” is only used in formulations of the Abrahamic covenant. See Gen 12:2; 18:18; 28:14.) Traditionally the verb is taken as passive here, as if Jacob were going to be a channel or source of blessing. But in other formulations of the Abrahamic covenant (see Gen 22:18; 26:4) the Hitpael replaces this Niphal form, suggesting a translation “will bless (i.e., pronounce blessings upon) themselves/one another.” The Hitpael of “bless” is used with a reflexive/reciprocal sense in Deut 29:18; Ps 72:17; Isa 65:16; Jer 4:2. Gen 28:14 predicts that Jacob will be held up as a paradigm of divine blessing and that people will use his name in their blessing formulae (see Gen 12:2 and 18:18 as well, where Abram/Abraham receives this promise). For examples of blessing formulae utilizing an individual as an example of blessing see Gen 48:20 and Ruth 4:11.
[28:18] sn Sacred stone. Such a stone could be used as a boundary marker, a burial stone, or as a shrine. Here the stone is intended to be a reminder of the stairway that was “erected” and on which the
[29:1] 44 tn Heb “and Jacob lifted up his feet.” This unusual expression suggests that Jacob had a new lease on life now that God had promised him the blessing he had so desperately tried to gain by his own efforts. The text portrays him as having a new step in his walk.
[29:5] 51 tn Heb “and they said, ‘We know.’” The word “him” is not in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. In the translation several introductory clauses throughout this section have been placed after the direct discourse they introduce for stylistic reasons as well.
[29:7] 56 tn Heb “water the sheep and go and pasture [them].” The verbal forms are imperatives, but Jacob would hardly be giving direct orders to someone else’s shepherds. The nuance here is probably one of advice.
[29:10] 62 tn Heb “Laban, the brother of his mother.” The text says nothing initially about the beauty of Rachel. But the reader is struck by the repetition of “Laban the brother of his mother.” G. J. Wenham is no doubt correct when he observes that Jacob’s primary motive at this stage is to ingratiate himself with Laban (Genesis [WBC], 2:231).
[29:13] 67 tn Heb “and he told to Laban all these things.” This might mean Jacob told Laban how he happened to be there, but Laban’s response (see v. 14) suggests “all these things” refers to what Jacob had previously told Rachel (see v. 12).
[29:14] 68 tn Heb “indeed, my bone and my flesh are you.” The expression sounds warm enough, but the presence of “indeed” may suggest that Laban had to be convinced of Jacob’s identity before permitting him to stay. To be one’s “bone and flesh” is to be someone’s blood relative. For example, the phrase describes the relationship between Abimelech and the Shechemites (Judg 9:2; his mother was a Shechemite); David and the Israelites (2 Sam 5:1); David and the elders of Judah (2 Sam 19:12,); and David and his nephew Amasa (2 Sam 19:13, see 2 Sam 17:2; 1 Chr 2:16-17).
[29:16] 73 tn Heb “and to Laban [there were] two daughters.” The disjunctive clause (introduced here by a conjunction and a prepositional phrase) provides supplemental material that is important to the story. Since this material is parenthetical in nature, vv. 16-17 have been set in parentheses in the translation.
[29:17] 74 tn Heb “and the eyes of Leah were tender.” The disjunctive clause (introduced here by a conjunction and a noun) continues the parenthesis begun in v. 16. It is not clear what is meant by “tender” (or “delicate”) eyes. The expression may mean she had appealing eyes (cf. NAB, NRSV, NLT), though some suggest that they were plain, not having the brightness normally expected. Either way, she did not measure up to her gorgeous sister.
[29:20] 79 sn But they seemed like only a few days to him. This need not mean that the time passed quickly. More likely it means that the price seemed insignificant when compared to what he was getting in the bargain.
[29:21] 83 tn Heb “and I will go in to her.” The verb is a cohortative; it may be subordinated to the preceding request, “that I may go in,” or it may be an independent clause expressing his desire. The verb “go in” in this context refers to sexual intercourse (i.e., the consummation of the marriage).
[29:23] sn His daughter Leah. Laban’s deception of Jacob by giving him the older daughter instead of the younger was God’s way of disciplining the deceiver who tricked his older brother. D. Kidner says this account is “the very embodiment of anti-climax, and this moment a miniature of man’s disillusion, experienced from Eden onwards” (Genesis [TOTC], 160). G. von Rad notes, “That Laban secretly gave the unloved Leah to the man in love was, to be sure, a monstrous blow, a masterpiece of shameless treachery…It was certainly a move by which he won for himself far and wide the coarsest laughter” (Genesis [OTL], 291).
[29:25] 93 sn The Hebrew verb translated tricked here (רָמָה, ramah) is cognate to the noun used in Gen 27:35 to describe Jacob’s deception of Esau. Jacob is discovering that what goes around, comes around. See J. A. Diamond, “The Deception of Jacob: A New Perspective on an Ancient Solution to the Problem,” VT 34 (1984): 211-13.
[29:27] sn In exchange for seven more years of work. See C. H. Gordon, “The Story of Jacob and Laban in the Light of the Nuzi Tablets,” BASOR 66 (1937): 25-27; and J. Van Seters, “Jacob’s Marriages and Ancient Near Eastern Customs: A Reassessment,” HTR 62 (1969): 377-95.
[29:31] 108 tn Heb “hated.” The rhetorical device of overstatement is used (note v. 30, which says simply that Jacob loved Rachel more than he did Leah) to emphasize that Rachel, as Jacob’s true love and the primary object of his affections, had an advantage over Leah.
[29:32] sn Leah’s explanation of the name Reuben reflects a popular etymology, not an exact one. The name means literally “look, a son.” Playing on the Hebrew verb “look,” she observes that the
[29:33] 114 sn The name Simeon (שִׁמְעוֹן, shim’on) is derived from the verbal root שָׁמַע (shama’) and means “hearing.” The name is appropriate since it is reminder that the
[29:34] 116 sn The name Levi (לֵוִי, levi), the precise meaning of which is debated, was appropriate because it sounds like the verb לָוָה (lavah, “to join”), used in the statement recorded earlier in the verse.
[29:35] 117 sn The name Judah (יְהוּדָה, yÿhudah) means “he will be praised” and reflects the sentiment Leah expresses in the statement recorded earlier in the verse. For further discussion see W. F. Albright, “The Names ‘Israel’ and ‘Judah’ with an Excursus on the Etymology of Todah and Torah,” JBL 46 (1927): 151-85; and A. R. Millard, “The Meaning of the Name Judah,” ZAW 86 (1974): 216-18.
[30:3] 126 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] 133 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] 135 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] 136 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] 139 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] 144 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] 152 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] 158 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] 160 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] 162 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] 164 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] 165 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] 170 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] 176 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] 201 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] 202 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.