Genesis 30:40 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 30:40, NIV: "Jacob set apart the young of the flock by themselves, but made the rest face the streaked and dark-colored animals that belonged to Laban. Thus he made separate flocks for himself and did not put them with Laban's animals."

Genesis 30:40, ESV: "And Jacob separated the lambs and set the faces of the flocks toward the striped and all the black in the flock of Laban. He put his own droves apart and did not put them with Laban’s flock."

Genesis 30:40, KJV: "And Jacob did separate the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the ringstraked, and all the brown in the flock of Laban; and he put his own flocks by themselves, and put them not unto Laban's cattle."

Genesis 30:40, NASB: "Then Jacob separated the lambs, and made the flocks face toward the striped and all the black in the flock of Laban; and he put his own herds apart, and did not put them with Laban’s flock."

Genesis 30:40, NLT: "Jacob separated those lambs from Laban's flock. And at mating time he turned the flock to face Laban's animals that were streaked or black. This is how he built his own flock instead of increasing Laban's."

Genesis 30:40, CSB: "Jacob separated the lambs and made the flocks face the streaked sheep and the completely dark sheep in Laban's flocks. Then he set his own stock apart and didn't put them with Laban's sheep."

What does Genesis 30:40 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The previous verses described Jacob's strategy for getting the black goats to produce striped, speckled, and spotted offspring. This verse describes his method for getting the white sheep to produce black lambs. This is a notoriously difficult verse to translate, and to interpret. It's possible that Jacob caused the white sheep to mate while facing the black and striped animals in the flock, causing them to produce black offspring.

Once more, this isn't intended to show that either Jacob or the Bible believed this to be a scientific method for breeding off-color animals. Jacob understood from the Lord that the flock was going to yield off-color animals (Genesis 31:7–12). The Lord honored Jacob's method for identifying which of those animals he wanted to produce off-color offspring and caused it to happen. As the following verses will reveal, Jacob did not want all of the animals to be striped, speckled, spotted, or off-color.

As the off-color animals were born, Jacob separated them from the rest of the flock. In short, he separated his burgeoning flock from Laban's, allowing him to keep track of just how quickly his own wealth was growing.