Genesis 30:35 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 30:35, NIV: "That same day he removed all the male goats that were streaked or spotted, and all the speckled or spotted female goats (all that had white on them) and all the dark-colored lambs, and he placed them in the care of his sons."

Genesis 30:35, ESV: "But that day Laban removed the male goats that were striped and spotted, and all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white on it, and every lamb that was black, and put them in the charge of his sons."

Genesis 30:35, KJV: "And he removed that day the he goats that were ringstraked and spotted, and all the she goats that were speckled and spotted, and every one that had some white in it, and all the brown among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons."

Genesis 30:35, NASB: "So he removed on that day the striped or spotted male goats, and all the speckled or spotted female goats, every one with white on it, and all the black ones among the sheep, and put them in the care of his sons."

Genesis 30:35, NLT: "But that very day Laban went out and removed the male goats that were streaked and spotted, all the female goats that were speckled and spotted or had white patches, and all the black sheep. He placed them in the care of his own sons,"

Genesis 30:35, CSB: "That day Laban removed the streaked and spotted male goats and all the speckled and spotted female goats--every one that had any white on it--and every dark-colored one among the lambs, and he placed his sons in charge of them."

What does Genesis 30:35 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

After agreeing to Jacob's terms for his wages, Laban immediately finds a way to cheat. We see again that this man, Jacob's father-in-law and Rebekah's brother (Genesis 24:29), is a thoroughly dishonest man. Earlier, he treacherously claimed a local custom in order to cheat Jacob out of seven years of service, as well as indebting him to seven more (Genesis 29:18–30). Now, Laban again demonstrates that he's not above blatant sabotage in order to prosper.

The agreement between Laban and Jacob was that Jacob would own every black sheep and mixed-color sheep or goat born among the flocks from this time forward. Fully white sheep and fully black goats were far more common, so the deal was already tipped in Laban's favor. Jacob is asking to only keep the uncommon, "defective" animals. At least in theory, Laban again stands to gain a great deal from this arrangement.

And yet, to improve his odds even more, Laban now acts to remove all of the mixed-color animals and black sheep from the existing herds and gives those to his sons. Spotted and speckled sheep and goats are mostly likely to be born to spotted and speckled parents. If Laban were to remove all of those at the start, only a very small percentage born in the remaining flock—if any—were likely to be black lambs or mixed-color sheep or goats. This is a cheat designed to turn Jacob's own plan against him. To further drive home his plan, Laban will also move these animals several days' journey away from Jacob (Genesis 30:36).