Genesis 30:41

ESV Whenever the stronger of the flock were breeding, Jacob would lay the sticks in the troughs before the eyes of the flock, that they might breed among the sticks,
NIV Whenever the stronger females were in heat, Jacob would place the branches in the troughs in front of the animals so they would mate near the branches,
NASB Moreover, whenever the stronger of the flock were mating, Jacob would place the rods in the sight of the flock in the drinking troughs, so that they would mate by the rods;
CSB Whenever the stronger of the flock were breeding, Jacob placed the branches in the troughs, in full view of the flocks, and they would breed in front of the branches.
NLT Whenever the stronger females were ready to mate, Jacob would place the peeled branches in the watering troughs in front of them. Then they would mate in front of the branches.
KJV And it came to pass, whensoever the stronger cattle did conceive, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the cattle in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods.

What does Genesis 30:41 mean?

Jacob and Laban have struck a deal that Jacob will own all of the striped, spotted, and speckled goats, as well as the black sheep born into the flock. Normally, that would be a small percentage of animals—a great deal for the greedy Laban. Laban, who is also dishonest and deceitful, attempted to make it even smaller by immediately removing all the existing off-color animals from the flock before Jacob's plan could even begin (Genesis 30:25–36).

Still, the Lord blessed Jacob's strategy for getting solid-colored goats to give birth to mixed color goats and white sheep to give birth to black sheep. Jacob influenced the animals by what he placed in their line of sight during breeding. So when the strong goats were mating, Jacob made sure they would see the sticks he had stripped and placed among them. As we will learn later, this is not because Jacob—or Scripture—actually believe that such techniques influence breeding. Rather, Jacob has already been told by God that this would happen, and the use of the sticks is simply Jacob's means of control over God's blessing (Genesis 31:7–12).

As the next verse will reveal, Jacob removed the sticks when the weaker animals were breeding. This selective breeding ensured that Jacob's animals would be strong, while Laban's would become increasingly weak.
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