Genesis 30

1 Forsooth Rachel saw, that she was unfruitful, and she had envy to her sister, and said to her husband, Give thou free children to me, (or) else I shall die. (And Rachel saw, that she was unfruitful, and she envied her sister, and said to her husband, Give thou some children to me, or else I shall die.)
2 To whom Jacob was wroth, and answered, Whether I am for God, which have deprived thee from the fruit of thy womb? (To whom Jacob was angry, and answered, Can I take the place of God, who hath deprived thee of the fruit of thy womb?)
3 And she said, I have an handmaid Bilhah; enter thou [in] to her that she child on my knees, and that I have sons of her. (And she said, I have a slave-girl Bilhah; sleep thou with her, so that she can bear some children, and lay them on my knees, and so I shall have sons by her.)
4 And she gave to him Bilhah into matrimony; and when her husband had entered [in] to her,
5 she conceived, and childed a son.
6 And Rachel said, The Lord hath deemed to me (The Lord hath judged me), and hath heard my prayer, and gave a son to me; and therefore she called his name Dan.
7 And again Bilhah conceived, and childed another son,
8 for whom Rachel said, The Lord hath made me like my sister, and I [have] waxed strong; and she called him Naphtali.
9 (Then) Leah feeled that she ceased to bear child, and she gave Zilpah, her handmaid (her slave-girl), to her husband.
10 And when Zilpah, after conceiving, childed a son,
11 Leah said, Blessedly (I am most fortunate); and therefore she called his name Gad.
12 Also Zilpah childed another son,
13 and Leah said, This is for my bless(ing), for all women shall say me blessed (for all women shall say that I am blessed); therefore she called him Asher.
14 Forsooth Reuben went out into the field in the time of wheat harvest, and found (some) mandrakes, which he brought to Leah, his mother. And Rachel said, Give thou to me a part of the mandrakes of thy son.
15 Leah answered, Whether it seemeth little to thee, that thou hast ravished my husband from me, no but thou take also the mandrakes of my son? (but now thou wouldest also take away my son's mandrakes?) (And) Rachel said, The husband sleep with thee in this night, (in exchange) for the mandrakes of thy son.
16 And when Jacob came again from the field at the eventide, Leah went out into his meeting, and said, Thou shalt enter [in] to me, for I have hired thee with hire for the mandrakes of my son. He slept with her in that night; (And so when Jacob came in from the field that evening, Leah went out to meet him, and said, Tonight thou shalt sleep with me, for I have hired thee with some of my son's mandrakes. And so he slept with her that night;)
17 and God heard her prayers, and she conceived, and childed the fifth son;
18 and said, God hath given meed to me, for I gave mine handmaid to mine husband; and she called his name Issachar. (and she said, God hath rewarded me, for I gave my slave-girl to my husband; and so she named him Issachar.)
19 (And) Again Leah conceived, and childed the sixth son,
20 and said, The Lord hath made me rich with a good dower; also in this time mine husband shall be with me, for I have engendered six sons to him; and therefore she called his name Zebulun. (and she said, The Lord hath made me rich with a good dowry; and now my husband shall be glad to be with me, for I have borne him six sons; and so she named him Zebulun.)
21 After whom she childed a daughter, Dinah by name.
22 Also the Lord had mind on Rachel, and he heard her, and opened her womb. (And the Lord remembered Rachel, and he heard her prayers and pleadings, and opened her womb.)
23 And she conceived, and childed a son, and said, God hath (now) taken away my shame;
24 and she called his name Joseph, and said, The Lord give to me another son. (and she said, May the Lord give me another son/The Lord hath given me another son, and she named him Joseph.)
25 Soothly when Joseph was born, Jacob said to his wife's father, Deliver thou me, that I turn again to my country, and to my land. (And when Joseph was born, Jacob said to his wife's father, Let me go, so that I can return to my country, and my land.)
26 Give thou to me my wives, and my free children, for which I have served thee, that I go (Give thou to me my wives, and my children, for whom I have served thee, so that I can go); forsooth thou knowest the service by which I have served thee.
27 Laban said to him, Find I grace in thy sight; I have learned by experience, that God hath blessed me for thee; (Laban said to him, Let me find grace before thee; I have learned by experience, that God hath blessed me for thy sake;)
28 ordain thou the meed which I shall give to thee. (tell me the reward, or the payment, which I should give thee.)
29 And Jacob answered, Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how great thy possession was in mine hands (and how great thy possession hath become in my hands);
30 thou haddest little before that I came to thee, and now thou art made rich, and the Lord [hath] blessed thee at mine entering; therefore it is just that I purvey sometime also for mine house (and so it is only right that I provide something for my own household, or my own family).
31 And Laban said, What shall I give to thee? And Jacob said, I will nothing (I desire nothing), that is, of thy gift, but if thou doest that that I ask, again I shall feed and keep thy sheep.
32 Go about all thy flocks, and separate thou all diverse(ly)-coloured sheep, and of spotted fleeces, and whatever thing shall be of dun hue, and spotted, and diverse of colour, as well in sheep as in goats; that shall be my meed. (Go about all thy flocks, and separate out all the diversely-coloured sheep, and those with spotted fleeces, and whichever shall be dunned, or spotted, or diverse in colour, with the sheep as well as with the goats, and those shall be my reward.)
33 And my rightfulness shall answer to me tomorrow, when the time of covenant shall come before thee; and all that be not diverse, and spotted, and dunned, as well in sheep as in goats, (that) be found at me thou shalt reprove me of theft. (And my righteousness shall answer for me later on, when the time of payment shall come before thee; and if any that be not diverse, or spotted, or dunned, with the sheep as well as with the goats, be found with me, then thou can rebuke me for theft.)
34 And Laban said, I have (it) acceptable that that thou askest. (And Laban said, I find it acceptable what thou hast suggested.)
35 And Laban separated in that day [the] goats, and sheep, goat bucks, and rams, diverse and spotted. Soothly he betook all the flock of one colour, that is, of white, and of black fleece, into the hand(s) of his sons; (And so Laban separated out that day the goats, and sheep, and goat bucks, and rams, that were diversely-coloured, or spotted. And all of the flock that had only one colour, that is, those of white, or of black fleece, he gave to his sons;)
36 and he set the space of (the) way of three days betwixt his sons, and the husband of his daughters, that fed his other flocks.
37 Therefore Jacob took green rods of poplars, and of almonds, and of planes, and in part he did away the rind(s) of them; and when the rinds were drawn away, either shaved, whiteness appeared in these that were made bare; soothly those that were whole dwelled green, and by this manner the colour was made diverse. (And so Jacob took some branches of green poplars, and of almonds, and of planes, and he partly did away their rinds; and where the rinds were drawn away, or shaved, whiteness appeared on the places that were made bare, but where the branches were not touched, they remained green; and so by this manner the colour was made diverse.)
38 And Jacob put those rods in the troughs, where the water was poured out, that when the flocks should come to drink, (And Jacob put up those branches in the troughs, where the water was poured out, so that when the flocks would come to drink,)
39 they should have the rods before their eyes, and they should conceive in [the] sight of the rods. And it was done that in that heat of riding, or engendering, the sheep should behold those rods, and that they should bring forth spotted beasts, and diverse, and besprinkled with diverse colour. (they would have the branches before their eyes, and they would conceive in front of the branches. And so it was done that in the heat of riding, or of begetting, the sheep saw those branches, and later they brought forth beasts that were spotted, and diverse, and besprinkled with diverse colour, like the branches were.)
40 And Jacob separated the flock, and put the rods in the [water] troughs, before the eyes of the rams (And so Jacob separated out the flock, and put up the branches in the water troughs, before the eyes of the rams). Soothly all the white and [the] black were Laban's; soothly all the others were Jacob's; for the flocks were separated (out) betwixt themselves.
41 Therefore when the sheep were ridden in the first time, Jacob put the rods in the water troughs before the eyes of rams, and of ewe sheep, that they should conceive in the sight of the rods. (And so when the sheep were ridden by the stronger rams, Jacob put up the branches in the water troughs before the eyes of the rams, and the ewe sheep, so that they would conceive in front of the branches.)
42 Forsooth when the late mixing, or engendering, and the last conceivings were, Jacob put not (up) those rods; and those that were late engendered, were made Laban's, and those that were of the first time engendered, were Jacob's. (But when the weaker rams mated, Jacob did not put up the branches; and so the weaker offspring were made Laban's, and the stronger ones were made Jacob's.)
43 And Jacob was made full rich, and had many flocks, handmaids, and menservants, camels, and asses. (And Jacob was made very rich, and had many flocks, and male and female slaves, 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.

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.

Genesis 30 Commentaries