Genesis 30:37 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 30:37, NIV: "Jacob, however, took fresh-cut branches from poplar, almond and plane trees and made white stripes on them by peeling the bark and exposing the white inner wood of the branches."

Genesis 30:37, ESV: "Then Jacob took fresh sticks of poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white streaks in them, exposing the white of the sticks."

Genesis 30:37, KJV: "And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods."

Genesis 30:37, NASB: "Then Jacob took fresh rods of poplar, almond, and plane trees, and peeled white stripes in them, exposing the white that was in the rods."

Genesis 30:37, NLT: "Then Jacob took some fresh branches from poplar, almond, and plane trees and peeled off strips of bark, making white streaks on them."

Genesis 30:37, CSB: "Jacob then took branches of fresh poplar, almond, and plane wood, and peeled the bark, exposing white stripes on the branches."

What does Genesis 30:37 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Earlier, Laban convinced Jacob to work for seven years for the right to marry his daughter, Rachel. However, Laban cheated Jacob by switching out his other daughter, Leah, on the wedding night. This led to Jacob being indebted to Laban for another seven years (Genesis 29:18–30). Now, with all of these deals completed and Jacob demanding to be released along with his family, Laban likely believes Jacob has made another bad deal. He has agreed to Jacob's offer that all the non-black goats and non-white sheep born from this point forward will belong to him. To keep those numbers even lower than they would naturally be, Laban has removed all the black sheep and speckled/spotted animals from the main herd. In fact, he has moved them three-day's journey away.

Jacob, though, is blessed by the Lord. As Genesis 31:7–12 will make clear, Jacob's plan to claim all the spotted/speckled sheep and goats came from God. How he executes this plan may sound like some kind of folk magic, but it is the process by which God supernaturally blesses Jacob's efforts to get more black sheep and mixed-color animals.

Jacob takes sticks fresh from three specific kinds of trees and strips the bark to reveal the white underneath. This is, in part, a play on words: the Hebrew term for "white" is laban. With God's supernatural blessing, Jacob will use these sticks to influence how many striped, spotted, and speckled animals are born.