Genesis 30:39 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 30:39, NIV: they mated in front of the branches. And they bore young that were streaked or speckled or spotted.

Genesis 30:39, ESV: the flocks bred in front of the sticks and so the flocks brought forth striped, speckled, and spotted.

Genesis 30:39, KJV: And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted.

Genesis 30:39, NASB: So the flocks mated by the rods, and the flocks delivered striped, speckled, and spotted offspring.

Genesis 30:39, NLT: And when they mated in front of the white-streaked branches, they gave birth to young that were streaked, speckled, and spotted.

Genesis 30:39, CSB: The flocks bred in front of the branches and bore streaked, speckled, and spotted young.

What does Genesis 30:39 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jacob's plan to build some wealth for himself and his family was complicated. He told his father-in-law Laban he would continue to work for him in exchange for all the striped, speckled, and spotted goats and off-color sheep to be born in the flocks he managed. Laban, ever greedy, said yes to this fantastic deal immediately. Laban, ever the cheat, also quickly moved all of the existing versions of those animals a three-day's journey away, thinking he was outwitting Jacob.

As we will learn later, though, Jacob had already been told by the Lord that the flocks were going to yield many of these off-color animals, anyway (Genesis 31:7–12). With that in mind, Jacob devised an unorthodox way of influencing the animals he wanted to bear such offspring. God worked within Jacob's device of placing sticks that had been stripped of bark near where the goats bred, causing all black goats to give birth to striped, speckled, and spotted offspring. Using another method described in the following verse, the white sheep also produced black lambs. In other words, it is God, not the sticks, which are producing these results.

Interestingly, Jacob's use of peeled sticks probably involves a play on words: peeling the sticks exposes the "white" underneath. The Hebrew word for white is laban.

Laban's scheming would not be able to overcome the Lord's blessing on Jacob.