Bereshis 30

1 0 And when Rachel saw that she did not bear [banim] to Ya’akov, Rachel had kina toward her achot; and said unto Ya’akov, Give me banim, or else I die.
2 And af Ya’akov was kindled against Rachel; and he said, Am I in place of Elohim, Who hath withheld from thee p’ri beten?
3 And she said, Hinei my amah (maidservant) Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my birkayim, that I may also build up through her.
4 And she gave him Bilhah her shifchah (slave woman, maidservant) as isha; and Ya’akov went in unto her.
5 And Bilhah conceived, and bore Ya’akov ben.
6 And Rachel said, Elohim danani (G-d hath judged me), and hath also heard my voice, and hath given to me ben: therefore called she shmo Dan.
7 And Bilhah shifchat Rachel conceived again, and bore Ya’akov ben sheni.
8 And Rachel said, With naftulei Elohim niflalti (with wrestlings of G-d have I wrestled) with my achot, and I have prevailed: and she called shmo Naphtali.
9 When Leah saw that she had stopped bearing, she took Zilpah her shifchah, and gave her to Ya’akov as isha.
10 And Zilpah shifchat Leah bore Ya’akov ben.
11 And Leah said, BaGad (What Good Fortune!) And she called shmo Gad.
12 And Zilpah shifchat Leah bore Ya’akov ben sheni.
13 And Leah said, B’Ashri (Happy am I), for the banot will call me asher (blessed): so she called shmo Asher.
14 And Reuven went in the yemei ketzir chittim, and found duda’im (mandrakes) in the sadeh, and brought them unto Leah immo. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, now, of the duda’im of thy ben.
15 And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my ish? And wouldest thou take away the duda’im of beni also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee halailah (tonight) for the duda’im of thy ben.
16 And Ya’akov came in from the sadeh ba’erev, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with duda’im of beni. And he lay with her that night.
17 And Elohim paid heed unto Leah, and she conceived, and bore Ya’akov ben chamishi.
18 And Leah said, Elohim hath given me my hire, because I have given my shifchah to my ish; and she called shmo Yissakhar.
19 And Leah conceived again, and bore Ya’akov ben shishi.
20 And Leah said, Elohim hath endued me with a zeved tov (good endowment); now will my ish zabal (honor) me, because I have born him shisha banim; and she called shmo Zevulun.
21 And afterwards she bore a bat, and called her shem Dinah.
22 And Elohim remembered Rachel, and Elohim paid heed to her, and opened her rekhem (womb).
23 And she conceived, and bore ben; and said, Elohim hath taken away my cherpah (shame, disgrace, reproach);
24 And she called shmo Yosef; and said, yosef (may He add), may Hashem add me ben acher (another son).
25 And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Yosef, that Ya’akov said unto Lavan, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own makom (place, home) and to my eretz.
26 Give me my nashim and my yeladim, for whom I have served thee, and let me go: for thou knowest my avodah which I have done thee.
27 And Lavan said unto him, Now, if I have found chen (favor, grace) in thine eyes, tarry; for I have learned by nachash (divination) that Hashem hath made a brocha upon me for thy sake.
28 And he said, Specify thy sachar (wages, reward), and I will pay it.
29 And he said unto him, Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy mikneh fared with me
30 For it was me’at (little) which thou hadst before I came, and it is now increased unto a multitude; and Hashem hath made a brocha upon thee since my coming; and now when shall I do for mine own bais also?
31 And he said, What shall I give thee? And Ya’akov said, Thou shalt not give me any thing; if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again tend and be shomer over thy tzon.
32 I will pass through all thy tzon today, removing from there speckled and spotted seh, and every dark seh among the kesavim, and the spotted and speckled among the izzim; and of such shall be my sachar.
33 So shall my tzedakah answer for me in time to come, when it shall come for my sachar before thy face; every one that is not speckled and spotted among the izzim, and dark among the kesavim, that shall be counted a ganav’s with me.
34 And Lavan said, Agreed, I would it might be according to thy davar.
35 And he removed that day the male goats that were streaked and spotted, and all the izzim that were speckled and spotted, and every one that had some lavan in it, and all the dark among the kesavim, and gave them into the yad of his banim.
36 And he set a derech shloshet yamim between himself and Ya’akov; and Ya’akov tended the rest of the tzon Lavan.
37 And Ya’akov took him fresh cut makal (rod, branch) of poplar and of almond and plane tree; and peeled strips of bark in them, and made the lavan (white) appear which was in the maklot (rods, branches).
38 And he set the maklot which he had peeled before the flocks in the small channels of the shikatot mayim (watering troughs) when the tzon came to drink. And since they bred when they came to drink,
39 And the flocks bred before the maklot, and brought forth tzon streaked, speckled, and spotted.
40 And Ya’akov did separate the kesavim, and set the faces of the tzon toward the streaked, and all the dark in the tzon Lavan; and he put his own adarim (flocks) by themselves, and put them not unto the tzon Lavan.
41 And it came to pass, whensoever tzon hamekusharot (the stronger flock) did breed, that Ya’akov set the maklot before the eyes of the tzon in the trough channels, that they might breed among the maklot.
42 But when the tzon were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler would belong to Lavan, and the stronger to Ya’akov.
43 And the ish increased exceedingly, and had much tzon, and shefachot, and avadim, and gemalim, and chamorim.

Bereshis 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.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO GENESIS 30

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.

Bereshis 30 Commentaries