Genesis 30:42 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 30:42, NIV: but if the animals were weak, he would not place them there. So the weak animals went to Laban and the strong ones to Jacob.

Genesis 30:42, ESV: but for the feebler of the flock he would not lay them there. So the feebler would be Laban’s, and the stronger Jacob’s.

Genesis 30:42, KJV: But when the cattle were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's.

Genesis 30:42, NASB: but when the flock was sickly, he did not put them in; so the sickly were Laban’s, and the stronger were Jacob’s.

Genesis 30:42, NLT: But he didn't do this with the weaker ones, so the weaker lambs belonged to Laban, and the stronger ones were Jacob's.

Genesis 30:42, CSB: As for the weaklings of the flocks, he did not put out the branches. So it turned out that the weak sheep belonged to Laban and the stronger ones to Jacob.

What does Genesis 30:42 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The previous verse restated Jacob's strategy of placing stripped sticks within the line of sight of the animals that were breeding to ensure that they gave birth to off-color animals that Jacob could claim as his own. However, he only did so for the strongest animals.

God honored Jacob's device for indicating which animals he wanted to bear off-color offspring, causing those to be born in Jacob's favor and not in Laban's. Later, Jacob will clarify that he was given another dream from God, crediting the Lord with changing the nature of the flock (Genesis 31:7–12). Jacob doesn't think the sticks, themselves, are changing the sheep; rather, God is blessing Jacob by influencing the flock according to Jacob's wishes.

Now we see that Jacob removes his sticks from sight when the weak or feeble animals are mating. In this way, he ensures that those animals give birth to solid white sheep and solid black goats. Over time, this selective breeding would result in Laban's sheep and goats becoming weaker, while Jacob's became stronger.