Genesis 30

The Sons of Jacob

1 Now when Rachel saw that 1she bore Jacob no children, she became jealous of her sister; and she said to Jacob, "2Give me children, or else * I die."
2 Then Jacob's anger burned against Rachel, and he said, "Am I in the place of God, who has 3withheld from you the fruit of the womb?"
3 She said, "4Here is my maid Bilhah, go in to her that she may 5bear on my knees, that 6through her I too may have children."
4 So 7she gave him her maid Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob went in to her.
5 Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son.
6 Then Rachel said, "God has 8vindicated me, and has indeed heard my voice and has given me a son." Therefore * she named him Dan.
7 Rachel's maid Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son.
8 So Rachel said, "With mighty wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister, and I have indeed prevailed." And she named him Naphtali.
9 When Leah saw that she had stopped bearing, she took her maid Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife.
10 Leah's maid Zilpah bore Jacob a son.
11 Then Leah said, "How fortunate!" So she named him Gad.
12 Leah's maid Zilpah bore Jacob a second son.
13 Then Leah said, "Happy am I! For women 9will call me happy." So she named him Asher.
14 Now in the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found 10mandrakes 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 But she said to her, "Is it a small matter for you to take my husband? And would you take my son's mandrakes also?" So Rachel said, "Therefore he may lie with you tonight in return for your son's mandrakes."
16 When Jacob came in from the field in the evening, then 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." So he lay with her that night.
17 God gave heed to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son.
18 Then Leah said, "God has given me my wages because I gave my maid to my husband." So she named him Issachar.
19 Leah conceived again and bore a sixth son to Jacob.
20 Then Leah said, "God has endowed me with a good gift; now my husband will dwell with me, because I have borne him six sons." So she named him Zebulun.
21 Afterward she bore a daughter and named * her Dinah.
22 Then 11God remembered Rachel, and God gave heed to her and 12opened her womb.
23 So she conceived and bore a son and said, "God has 13taken away my reproach."
24 She named * him Joseph, saying, "14May the LORD give me another son."

Jacob Prospers

25 Now it came about when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, "15Send me away, that I may go to my own place and to my own country.
26 "Give me my wives and my children 16for whom I have served you, and let me depart; for you yourself know my service which I have rendered you."
27 But Laban said to him, "If now it pleases * you, stay with me; I have divined 17that the LORD has blessed me on your account."
28 He continued, "18Name me your wages, and I will give it."
29 But he said to him, "19You yourself know how * I have served you and how * your cattle have fared with me.
30 "For you had little before I came and it has increased to a multitude, and the LORD has blessed you wherever I turned. But now, when shall I provide for my own household also?"
31 So he said, "What shall I give you?" And Jacob said, "You shall not give me anything. If you will do this one thing for me, I will again pasture and keep your flock:
32 let me pass through your entire flock today, removing from there every 20speckled and spotted sheep and every black one among the lambs and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and such shall be my wages.
33 "So my honesty will answer for me later *, when you come concerning my wages. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats and black among the lambs, if found with me, will be considered stolen."
34 Laban said, "Good, let it be according to your word."
35 So he removed on that day the striped and spotted male goats and all the speckled and spotted female goats, every one with white in it, and all the black ones among the sheep, and gave them into the care of his sons.
36 And he put a distance of three days' journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks.
37 Then Jacob took fresh rods of poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white stripes in them, exposing the white which was in the rods.
38 He set the rods which he had peeled in front of the flocks in the gutters, even in the watering troughs, where the flocks came to drink; and they mated when they came to drink.
39 So the flocks mated by the rods, and the flocks brought forth striped, speckled, and spotted.
40 Jacob separated the lambs, and made the flocks face toward the striped and all the black in the flock of Laban; and he put his own herds apart, and did not put them with Laban's flock.
41 Moreover, whenever the stronger of the flock were mating, Jacob would place the rods in the sight of the flock in the gutters, so that they might mate by the rods;
42 but when the flock was feeble, he did not put them in; so the feebler were Laban's and the stronger Jacob's.
43 So 21the man became exceedingly prosperous, and had large flocks and female and male servants * and camels and donkeys.

Genesis 30 Commentary

Chapter 30

A further account of Jacob's family. (1-13) Rachel beareth Joseph. (14-24) Jacob's new agreement with Laban to serve him for cattle. (25-43)

Verses 1-13 Rachel envied her sister: envy is grieving at the good of another, than which no sin is more hateful to God, or more hurtful to our neighbours and ourselves. She considered not that God made the difference, and that in other things she had the advantage. Let us carefully watch against all the risings and workings of this passion in our minds. Let not our eye be evil towards any of our fellow-servants, because our Master's is good. Jacob loved Rachel, and therefore reproved her for what she said amiss. Faithful reproofs show true affection. God may be to us instead of any creature; but it is sin and folly to place any creature in God's stead, and to place that confidence in any creature, which should be placed in God only. At the persuasion of Rachel, Jacob took Bilhah her handmaid to wife, that, according to the usage of those times, her children might be owned as her mistress's children. Had not Rachel's heart been influenced by evil passions, she would have thought her sister's children nearer to her, and more entitled to her care than Bilhah's. But children whom she had a right to rule, were more desirable to her than children she had more reason to love. As an early instance of her power over these children, she takes pleasure in giving them names that carry in them marks of rivalry with her sister. See what roots of bitterness envy and strife are, and what mischief they make among relations. At the persuasion of Leah, Jacob took Zilpah her handmaid to wife also. See the power of jealousy and rivalship, and admire the wisdom of the Divine appointment, which joins together one man and one woman only; for God hath called us to peace and purity.

Verses 14-24 The desire, good in itself, but often too great and irregular, of being the mother of the promised Seed, with the honour of having many children, and the reproach of being barren, were causes of this unbecoming contest between the sisters. The truth appears to be, that they were influenced by the promises of God to Abraham; whose posterity were promised the richest blessings, and from whom the Messiah was to descend.

Verses 25-43 The fourteen years being gone, Jacob was willing to depart without any provision, except God's promise. But he had in many ways a just claim on Laban's substance, and it was the will of God that he should be provided for from it. He referred his cause to God, rather than agree for stated wages with Laban, whose selfishness was very great. And it would appear that he acted honestly, when none but those of the colours fixed upon should be found among his cattle. Laban selfishly thought that his cattle would produce few different in colour from their own. Jacob's course after this agreement has been considered an instance of his policy and management. But it was done by intimation from God, and as a token of his power. The Lord will one way or another plead the cause of the oppressed, and honour those who simply trust his providence. Neither could Laban complain of Jacob, for he had nothing more than was freely agreed that he should have; nor was he injured, but greatly benefitted by Jacob's services. May all our mercies be received with thanksgiving and prayer, that coming from his bounty, they may lead to his praise.

Cross References 21

  • 1. Genesis 29:31
  • 2. 1 Samuel 1:5, 6
  • 3. Genesis 20:18; Genesis 29:31
  • 4. Genesis 16:2
  • 5. Genesis 50:23; Job 3:12
  • 6. Genesis 16:2
  • 7. Genesis 16:3, 4
  • 8. Psalms 35:24; Psalms 43:1; Lamentations 3:59
  • 9. Luke 1:48
  • 10. Song of Songs 7:13
  • 11. 1 Samuel 1:19, 20
  • 12. Genesis 29:31
  • 13. Isaiah 4:1; Luke 1:25
  • 14. Genesis 35:17
  • 15. Genesis 24:54, 56
  • 16. Gen 29:18, 20, 27; Hosea 12:12
  • 17. Genesis 26:24; Genesis 39:3, 5; Isaiah 61:9
  • 18. Genesis 29:15; Genesis 31:7, 41
  • 19. Genesis 31:6
  • 20. Genesis 31:8
  • 21. Genesis 12:16; Genesis 13:2; Genesis 24:35; Genesis 26:13, 14; Genesis 30:30

Footnotes 35

Chapter Summary


This chapter gives an account of Rachel's envy of her sister for her fruitfulness, and of her earnest desire of having children, which she expressed to Jacob in an unbecoming manner, for which he reproved her, Ge 30:1,2, of her giving her maid Bilhah to Jacob, by whom he had two sons, Dan and Naphtali, Ge 30:3-8; and of Leah's giving her maid Zilpah to him, by whom he had two other sons, Gad and Asher, Ge 30:9-13; and of Reuben's mandrakes he found in the field, and the agreement made between Rachel and Leah about them, Ge 30:14-16; and of Leah's bearing Jacob two more sons and one daughter, Ge 30:17-21, and of Rachel's also bearing him a son, whose name was Joseph, Ge 30:22-24; upon which he desires leave of Laban to depart into his own country, his time of servitude being up, Ge 30:25,26; which brought on a new agreement between him and Laban, that for the future he should have all the speckled, spotted, and brown cattle for his service, Ge 30:27-36; and the chapter is concluded with an account of a cunning scheme of Jacob's to increase that sort of cattle, which succeeded, and by which he became rich, Ge 30:37-43.

Genesis 30 Commentaries

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