Genesis 30:38 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 30:38, NIV: "Then he placed the peeled branches in all the watering troughs, so that they would be directly in front of the flocks when they came to drink. When the flocks were in heat and came to drink,"

Genesis 30:38, ESV: "He set the sticks that he had peeled in front of the flocks in the troughs, that is, the watering places, where the flocks came to drink. And since they bred when they came to drink,"

Genesis 30:38, KJV: "And he set the rods which he had pilled before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink."

Genesis 30:38, NASB: "He set the rods which he had peeled in front of the flocks in the drinking troughs, that is, in the watering channels where the flocks came to drink; and they mated when they came to drink."

Genesis 30:38, NLT: "Then he placed these peeled branches in the watering troughs where the flocks came to drink, for that was where they mated."

Genesis 30:38, CSB: "He set the peeled branches in the troughs in front of the sheep--in the water channels where the sheep came to drink. And the sheep bred when they came to drink."

What does Genesis 30:38 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jacob has created a device he will use to influence whether sheep and goats born in the flock are fully white and black, in turn, or mixed in color. It's important to realize Jacob has made this bargain for the off-color animals at the Lord's direction (Genesis 31:7–12). He has not dreamed this up on his own. The text does not appear to be suggesting that peeled sticks in or near a water source actually cause spotted or striped animals to be born. God is acting supernaturally to bless Jacob by causing a much higher than normal number of mixed-color offspring in response to Jacob's device of placing these sticks in front of the animals he wishes to influence.

He has gathered fresh sticks from three specific trees and peeled back the bark to expose the white underneath. This, in fact, may have been part of Jacob's symbolism in using these sticks. The Hebrew term for "white" is laban, making this a fairly direct reference to his cheating father-in-law.

Now Jacob places these sticks in or near the watering places for the flocks, since this is where the flocks also mated.