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Genesis chapter 30

New International Version

1 When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, 'Give me children, or I'll die!'
2 Jacob became angry with her and said, 'Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?'
3 Then she said, 'Here is Bilhah, my servant. Sleep with her so that she can bear children for me and I too can build a family through her.'
4 So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife. Jacob slept with her, 5 and she became pregnant and bore him a son. 6 Then Rachel said, 'God has vindicated me; he has listened to my plea and given me a son.' Because of this she named him Dan.
7 Rachel's servant Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. 8 Then Rachel said, 'I have had a great struggle with my sister, and I have won.' So she named him Naphtali.
9 When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she took her servant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10 Leah's servant Zilpah bore Jacob a son. 11 Then Leah said, 'What good fortune!' So she named him Gad.
12 Leah's servant Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. 13 Then Leah said, 'How happy I am! The women will call me happy.' So she named him Asher.
14 During wheat harvest, Reuben went out into the fields and found some mandrake plants, which he brought to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, 'Please give me some of your son's mandrakes.'
15 But she said to her, 'Wasn't it enough that you took away my husband? Will you take my son's mandrakes too?' 'Very well,' Rachel said, 'he can sleep with you tonight in return for your son's mandrakes.'
16 So when Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him. 'You must sleep with me,' she said. 'I have hired you with my son's mandrakes.' So he slept with her that night.
17 God listened to Leah, and she became pregnant and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18 Then Leah said, 'God has rewarded me for giving my servant to my husband.' So she named him Issachar.
19 Leah conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son. 20 Then Leah said, 'God has presented me with a precious gift. This time my husband will treat me with honor, because I have borne him six sons.' So she named him Zebulun.
21 Some time later she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.
22 Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and enabled her to conceive. 23 She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and said, 'God has taken away my disgrace.' 24 She named him Joseph, and said, 'May the LORD add to me another son.'
25 After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, 'Send me on my way so I can go back to my own homeland. 26 Give me my wives and children, for whom I have served you, and I will be on my way. You know how much work I've done for you.'
27 But Laban said to him, 'If I have found favor in your eyes, please stay. I have learned by divination that the LORD has blessed me because of you.' 28 He added, 'Name your wages, and I will pay them.'
29 Jacob said to him, 'You know how I have worked for you and how your livestock has fared under my care. 30 The little you had before I came has increased greatly, and the LORD has blessed you wherever I have been. But now, when may I do something for my own household?'
31 What shall I give you?' he asked. 'Don't give me anything,' Jacob replied. 'But if you will do this one thing for me, I will go on tending your flocks and watching over them: 32 Let me go through all your flocks today and remove from them every speckled or spotted sheep, every dark-colored lamb and every spotted or speckled goat. They will be my wages. 33 And my honesty will testify for me in the future, whenever you check on the wages you have paid me. Any goat in my possession that is not speckled or spotted, or any lamb that is not dark-colored, will be considered stolen.'
34 Agreed,' said Laban. 'Let it be as you have said.' 35 That same day he removed all the male goats that were streaked or spotted, and all the speckled or spotted female goats (all that had white on them) and all the dark-colored lambs, and he placed them in the care of his sons. 36 Then he put a three-day journey between himself and Jacob, while Jacob continued to tend the rest of Laban's flocks.
37 Jacob, however, took fresh-cut branches from poplar, almond and plane trees and made white stripes on them by peeling the bark and exposing the white inner wood of the branches. 38 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, 39 they mated in front of the branches. And they bore young that were streaked or speckled or spotted. 40 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. 41 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, 42 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. 43 In this way the man grew exceedingly prosperous and came to own large flocks, and female and male servants, and camels and donkeys.
English Standard Version

1 When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!” 2 Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” 3 Then she said, “Here is my servant Bilhah; go in to her, so that she may give birth on my behalf, that even I may have children through her.” 4 So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob went in to her. 5 And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. 6 Then Rachel said, “God has judged me, and has also heard my voice and given me a son.” Therefore she called his name Dan. 7 Rachel’s servant Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. 8 Then Rachel said, “With mighty wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister and have prevailed.” So she called his name Naphtali.
9 When Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children, she took her servant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10 Then Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a son. 11 And Leah said, “Good fortune has come!” so she called his name Gad. 12 Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. 13 And Leah said, “Happy am I! For women have called me happy.” So she called his name Asher.
14 In the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found mandrakes in the field and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” 15 But she said to her, “Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes also?” Rachel said, “Then he may lie with you tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.” 16 When Jacob came from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must come in to me, for I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he lay with her that night. 17 And God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18 Leah said, “God has given me my wages because I gave my servant to my husband.” So she called his name Issachar.
19 And Leah conceived again, and she bore Jacob a sixth son. 20 Then Leah said, “God has endowed me with a good endowment; now my husband will honor me, because I have borne him six sons.” So she called his name Zebulun. 21 Afterward she bore a daughter and called her name Dinah.
22 Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. 23 She conceived and bore a son and said, “God has taken away my reproach.” 24 And she called his name Joseph, saying, “May the LORD add to me another son!”
25 As soon as Rachel had borne Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, that I may go to my own home and country. 26 Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, that I may go, for you know the service that I have given you.” 27 But Laban said to him, “If I have found favor in your sight, I have learned by divination that the LORD has blessed me because of you. 28 Name your wages, and I will give it.” 29 Jacob said to him, “You yourself know how I have served you, and how your livestock has fared with me. 30 For you had little before I came, and it has increased abundantly, and the LORD has blessed you wherever I turned. But now when shall I provide for my own household also?” 31 He said, “What shall I give you?” Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything. If you will do this for me, I will again pasture your flock and keep it: 32 let me pass through all your flock today, removing from it every speckled and spotted sheep and every black lamb, and the spotted and speckled among the goats, and they shall be my wages. 33 So my honesty will answer for me later, when you come to look into my wages with you. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats and black among the lambs, if found with me, shall be counted stolen.” 34 Laban said, “Good! Let it be as you have said.” 35 But that day Laban removed the male goats that were striped and spotted, and all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white on it, and every lamb that was black, and put them in the charge of his sons. 36 And he set a distance of three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob pastured the rest of Laban’s flock.
37 Then Jacob took fresh sticks of poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white streaks in them, exposing the white of the sticks. 38 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, 39 the flocks bred in front of the sticks and so the flocks brought forth striped, speckled, and spotted. 40 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. 41 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, 42 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. 43 Thus the man increased greatly and had large flocks, female servants and male servants, and camels and donkeys.
King James Version

1 And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. 2 And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb? 3 And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her. 4 And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her. 5 And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son. 6 And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan. 7 And Bilhah Rachel's maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son. 8 And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali. 9 When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife. 10 And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a son. 11 And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad. 12 And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a second son. 13 And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.
14 And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son's mandrakes. 15 And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son's mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son's mandrakes. 16 And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son's mandrakes. And he lay with her that night. 17 And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son. 18 And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar. 19 And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son. 20 And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun. 21 And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah. 22 And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. 23 And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach: 24 And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son.
25 And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country. 26 Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served thee, and let me go: for thou knowest my service which I have done thee. 27 And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake. 28 And he said, Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it. 29 And he said unto him, Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy cattle was with me. 30 For it was little which thou hadst before I came, and it is now increased unto a multitude; and the LORD hath blessed thee since my coming: and now when shall I provide for mine own house also? 31 And he said, What shall I give thee? And Jacob said, Thou shalt not give me any thing: if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep thy flock: 32 I will pass through all thy flock to day, removing from thence all the speckled and spotted cattle, and all the brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and of such shall be my hire. 33 So shall my righteousness answer for me in time to come, when it shall come for my hire before thy face: every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and brown among the sheep, that shall be counted stolen with me. 34 And Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to thy word. 35 And he removed that day the he goats that were ringstraked and spotted, and all the she goats that were speckled and spotted, and every one that had some white in it, and all the brown among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons. 36 And he set three days' journey betwixt himself and Jacob: and Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks.
37 And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods. 38 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. 39 And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted. 40 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. 41 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. 42 But when the cattle were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's. 43 And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.
New American Standard Bible

1 Now when Rachel saw that she had not borne Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister; and she said to Jacob, 'Give me children, or else I am going to die.' 2 Then Jacob’s anger burned against Rachel, and he said, 'Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?' 3 Then she said, 'Here is my female slave Bilhah: have relations with her that she may give birth on my knees, so that by her I too may obtain a child.' 4 So she gave him her slave Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob had relations with her. 5 Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. 6 Then Rachel said, 'God has vindicated me, and has indeed heard my voice and has given me a son.' Therefore she named him Dan. 7 And Rachel’s slave Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. 8 So Rachel said, 'With mighty wrestling I have wrestled with my sister, and I have indeed prevailed.' And she named him Naphtali.
9 When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she took her slave Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10 And Leah’s slave Zilpah bore Jacob a son. 11 Then Leah said, 'How fortunate!' So she named him Gad. 12 And Leah’s slave Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. 13 Then Leah said, 'Happy am I! For women will call me happy.' So she named him Asher.
14 Now in the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found mandrake fruits in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, 'Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.' 15 But she said to her, 'Is it a small matter for you to take my husband? And would you take my son’s mandrakes also?' So Rachel said, 'Therefore he may sleep with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.' 16 When Jacob came in from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, 'You must have relations with me, for I have indeed hired you with my son’s mandrakes.' So he slept with her that night. 17 God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18 Then Leah said, 'God has given me my reward, because I gave my slave to my husband.' So she named him Issachar. 19 And Leah conceived again and bore a sixth son to Jacob. 20 Then Leah said, 'God has endowed me with a good gift; finally my husband will acknowledge me as his wife, because I have borne him six sons.' So she named him Zebulun. 21 Afterward she gave birth to a daughter, and named her Dinah.
22 Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. 23 So she conceived and gave birth to a son, and said, 'God has taken away my disgrace.' 24 And she named him Joseph, saying, 'May the LORD give me another son.'
25 Now it came about, when Rachel had given birth to Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, 'Send me away, so that I may go to my own place and to my own country. 26 Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me go; for you yourself know my service which I have rendered you.' 27 But Laban said to him, 'If it pleases you at all, stay with me; I have determined by divination that the LORD has blessed me on your account.' 28 He continued, 'Name me your wages, and I will give them.' 29 But Jacob said to him, 'You yourself know how I have served you and how your livestock have fared with me. 30 For you had little before I came, and it has increased to a multitude, and the LORD has blessed you wherever I turned. But now, when shall I provide for my own household also?' 31 So he said, 'What shall I give you?' And Jacob said, 'You shall not give me anything. If you will do this one thing for me, I will again pasture and keep your flock: 32 let me pass through your entire flock today, removing from there every speckled or spotted sheep and every black sheep among the lambs, and the spotted or speckled among the goats; and those shall be my wages. 33 So my honesty will answer for me later, when you come concerning my wages. Every one that is not speckled or spotted among the goats, or black among the lambs, if found with me, will be considered stolen.' 34 Laban said, 'Good, let it be according to your word.' 35 So he removed on that day the striped or spotted male goats, and all the speckled or spotted female goats, every one with white on it, and all the black ones among the sheep, and put them in the care of his sons. 36 And he put a distance of three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks.
37 Then Jacob took fresh rods of poplar, almond, and plane trees, and peeled white stripes in them, exposing the white that was in the rods. 38 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. 39 So the flocks mated by the rods, and the flocks delivered striped, speckled, and spotted offspring. 40 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. 41 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; 42 but when the flock was sickly, he did not put them in; so the sickly were Laban’s, and the stronger were Jacob’s. 43 So the man became exceedingly prosperous, and had large flocks, and female and male servants, and camels and donkeys.
New Living Translation

1 When Rachel saw that she wasn't having any children for Jacob, she became jealous of her sister. She pleaded with Jacob, 'Give me children, or I'll die!'
2 Then Jacob became furious with Rachel. 'Am I God?' he asked. 'He's the one who has kept you from having children!'
3 Then Rachel told him, 'Take my maid, Bilhah, and sleep with her. She will bear children for me, and through her I can have a family, too.' 4 So Rachel gave her servant, Bilhah, to Jacob as a wife, and he slept with her. 5 Bilhah became pregnant and presented him with a son. 6 Rachel named him Dan, for she said, 'God has vindicated me! He has heard my request and given me a son.' 7 Then Bilhah became pregnant again and gave Jacob a second son. 8 Rachel named him Naphtali, for she said, 'I have struggled hard with my sister, and I'm winning!'
9 Meanwhile, Leah realized that she wasn't getting pregnant anymore, so she took her servant, Zilpah, and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10 Soon Zilpah presented him with a son. 11 Leah named him Gad, for she said, 'How fortunate I am!' 12 Then Zilpah gave Jacob a second son. 13 And Leah named him Asher, for she said, 'What joy is mine! Now the other women will celebrate with me.'
14 One day during the wheat harvest, Reuben found some mandrakes growing in a field and brought them to his mother, Leah. Rachel begged Leah, 'Please give me some of your son's mandrakes.'
15 But Leah angrily replied, 'Wasn't it enough that you stole my husband? Now will you steal my son's mandrakes, too?' Rachel answered, 'I will let Jacob sleep with you tonight if you give me some of the mandrakes.'
16 So that evening, as Jacob was coming home from the fields, Leah went out to meet him. 'You must come and sleep with me tonight!' she said. 'I have paid for you with some mandrakes that my son found.' So that night he slept with Leah. 17 And God answered Leah's prayers. She became pregnant again and gave birth to a fifth son for Jacob. 18 She named him Issachar, for she said, 'God has rewarded me for giving my servant to my husband as a wife.' 19 Then Leah became pregnant again and gave birth to a sixth son for Jacob. 20 She named him Zebulun, for she said, 'God has given me a good reward. Now my husband will treat me with respect, for I have given him six sons.' 21 Later she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.
22 Then God remembered Rachel's plight and answered her prayers by enabling her to have children. 23 She became pregnant and gave birth to a son. 'God has removed my disgrace,' she said. 24 And she named him Joseph, for she said, 'May the LORD add yet another son to my family.'
25 Soon after Rachel had given birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, 'Please release me so I can go home to my own country. 26 Let me take my wives and children, for I have earned them by serving you, and let me be on my way. You certainly know how hard I have worked for you.'
27 'Please listen to me,' Laban replied. 'I have become wealthy, for the LORD has blessed me because of you. 28 Tell me how much I owe you. Whatever it is, I'll pay it.'
29 Jacob replied, 'You know how hard I've worked for you, and how your flocks and herds have grown under my care. 30 You had little indeed before I came, but your wealth has increased enormously. The LORD has blessed you through everything I've done. But now, what about me? When can I start providing for my own family?'
31 'What wages do you want?' Laban asked again. Jacob replied, 'Don't give me anything. Just do this one thing, and I'll continue to tend and watch over your flocks. 32 Let me inspect your flocks today and remove all the sheep and goats that are speckled or spotted, along with all the black sheep. Give these to me as my wages. 33 In the future, when you check on the animals you have given me as my wages, you'll see that I have been honest. If you find in my flock any goats without speckles or spots, or any sheep that are not black, you will know that I have stolen them from you.'
34 'All right,' Laban replied. 'It will be as you say.' 35 But that very day Laban went out and removed the male goats that were streaked and spotted, all the female goats that were speckled and spotted or had white patches, and all the black sheep. He placed them in the care of his own sons, 36 who took them a three-days' journey from where Jacob was. Meanwhile, Jacob stayed and cared for the rest of Laban's flock.
37 Then Jacob took some fresh branches from poplar, almond, and plane trees and peeled off strips of bark, making white streaks on them. 38 Then he placed these peeled branches in the watering troughs where the flocks came to drink, for that was where they mated. 39 And when they mated in front of the white-streaked branches, they gave birth to young that were streaked, speckled, and spotted. 40 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.
41 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. 42 But he didn't do this with the weaker ones, so the weaker lambs belonged to Laban, and the stronger ones were Jacob's. 43 As a result, Jacob became very wealthy, with large flocks of sheep and goats, female and male servants, and many camels and donkeys.
Christian Standard Bible

1 When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she envied her sister. "Give me sons, or I will die!" she said to Jacob.
2 Jacob became angry with Rachel and said, "Am I in God's place, who has withheld offspring from you?"
3 Then she said, "Here is my maid Bilhah. Go sleep with her, and she'll bear children for me so that through her I too can build a family." 4 So Rachel gave her slave Bilhah to Jacob as a wife, and he slept with her. 5 Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. 6 Rachel said, "God has vindicated me; yes, he has heard me and given me a son," so she named him Dan.
7 Rachel's slave Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. 8 Rachel said, "In my wrestlings with God, I have wrestled with my sister and won," and she named him Naphtali.
9 When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she took her slave Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10 Leah's slave Zilpah bore Jacob a son. 11 Then Leah said, "What good fortune!" and she named him Gad.
12 When Leah's slave Zilpah bore Jacob a second son, 13 Leah said, "I am happy that the women call me happy," so she named him Asher.
14 Reuben went out during the wheat harvest and found some mandrakes in the field. When he brought them to his mother Leah, Rachel asked, "Please give me some of your son's mandrakes."
15 But Leah replied to her, "Isn't it enough that you have taken my husband? Now you also want to take my son's mandrakes?" "Well then," Rachel said, "he can sleep with you tonight in exchange for your son's mandrakes."
16 When Jacob came in from the field that evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, "You must come with me, for I have hired you with my son's mandrakes." So Jacob slept with her that night.
17 God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18 Leah said, "God has rewarded me for giving my slave to my husband," and she named him Issachar.
19 Then Leah conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son. 20 "God has given me a good gift," Leah said. "This time my husband will honor me because I have borne six sons for him," and she named him Zebulun. 21 Later, Leah bore a daughter and named her Dinah.
22 Then God remembered Rachel. He listened to her and opened her womb. 23 She conceived and bore a son, and she said, "God has taken away my disgrace." 24 She named him Joseph and said, "May the LORD add another son to me."
25 After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, "Send me on my way so that I can return to my homeland. 26 Give me my wives and my children that I have worked for, and let me go. You know how hard I have worked for you."
27 But Laban said to him, "If I have found favor with you, stay. I have learned by divination that the LORD has blessed me because of you." 28 Then Laban said, "Name your wages, and I will pay them."
29 So Jacob said to him, "You know how I have served you and how your herds have fared with me. 30 For you had very little before I came, but now your wealth has increased. The LORD has blessed you because of me. And now, when will I also do something for my own family?"
31 Laban asked, "What should I give you?" And Jacob said, "You don't need to give me anything. If you do this one thing for me, I will continue to shepherd and keep your flock. 32 Let me go through all your sheep today and remove every sheep that is speckled or spotted, every dark-colored sheep among the lambs, and the spotted and speckled among the female goats. Such will be my wages. 33 In the future when you come to check on my wages, my honesty will testify for me. If I have any female goats that are not speckled or spotted, or any lambs that are not black, they will be considered stolen."
34 "Good," said Laban. "Let it be as you have said."
35 That day Laban removed the streaked and spotted male goats and all the speckled and spotted female goats--every one that had any white on it--and every dark-colored one among the lambs, and he placed his sons in charge of them. 36 He put a three-day journey between himself and Jacob. Jacob, meanwhile, was shepherding the rest of Laban's flock.
37 Jacob then took branches of fresh poplar, almond, and plane wood, and peeled the bark, exposing white stripes on the branches. 38 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. 39 The flocks bred in front of the branches and bore streaked, speckled, and spotted young. 40 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.
41 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. 42 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. 43 And the man became very rich. He had many flocks, female and male slaves, and camels and donkeys.

What does Genesis chapter 30 mean?

Genesis 30 is characterized by sibling conflict between Jacob's wives, the birth of many more children under the blessing of God, and Jacob eventually achieving great wealth after striking an unusual bargain with his father-in-law.

Chapter 29 described the treacherous circumstances of Jacob's marriage to a pair of sisters: Leah and Rachel. Expecting to marry Rachel after seven years of free labor, Jacob was stunned to find that his father-in-law had switched sisters during the wedding night. The end result of this ploy was Jacob being married to two women, and with another seven years of labor ahead of him. In response to Jacob's understandable resentment of Leah, God allowed her to conceive sons, while Rachel remained barren.

This chapter begins with a despondent Rachel declaring to Jacob, "Give me children, or I shall die!" Not only is she desperate to become a mother, she envies her sister Leah who has already born four sons to Jacob. Jacob loves Rachel more than Leah, but he rightly corrects her that God alone is the giver of children (Genesis 30:1–2). This will become a theme of the chapter, one explored both in human and animal examples.

In response to her infertility, Rachel follows the unfortunate example of Jacob's grandmother Sarah (Genesis 16:1–4). She gives her own servant woman to Jacob as a wife. By customs of the time, any children borne to that servant would have been considered those of the wife. Bilhah soon bears Jacob two sons, Rachel's sons by proxy. Rachel names the boys for her circumstances and feelings at the time they are born (Genesis 30:3–8).

At the same time, Leah has stopped becoming pregnant, perhaps because Rachel's influence is keeping Jacob from sleeping with her (Genesis 30:15). She now follows Rachel's example and gives her servant woman to Jacob as a wife. Zilpah, in her turn, gives birth to two sons. These belong to Leah by proxy, and she gives them happy names (Genesis 30:9–13).

None of these births, though, have ended the rivalry between Rachel and Leah. Both know that Rachel remains barren and that Leah remains unloved by Jacob. Their conflict flares to the surface when Leah's son Reuben brings home some rare mandrake plants he has found. Mandrakes were thought to help with arousal and infertility. When Rachel asks Leah for the plants, likely hoping they will help her to get pregnant, Leah lashes out that Rachel has taken her husband and now wants to take her mandrake plants. Rachel, apparently desperate, offers to give Leah one night sleeping with Jacob in exchange for the plants. Rachel, apparently, held great power over Jacob in the family dynamic (Genesis 30:14–16).

Leah begins to bear children again, having another two boys and a girl, naming them all for God's provision in her life. Rachel, too, finally bears her first son, Joseph. Her name for him amounts to a prayer for another son to follow (Genesis 30:17–24).

The narrative then shifts to inform us that Jacob's 14 years of service to Laban in exchange for his two wives has come to an end. He demands that his father-in-law send him away so he can return home to his own people. It's possible Laban retained some legal right to not release Jacob. In any case, Laban says plainly that he has become wealthy because of the Lord's blessing on Jacob. He asks Jacob to name new wages to continue to work for him (Genesis 30:25–28).

Jacob's terms seem unusual. Instead of asking for a flat wage or even a percentage of Laban's flocks, Jacob asks to keep any newly born goats or lambs that are off-color. Most of the sheep in Laban's flock are white, and most of the goats are black. A small percentage of the goats are speckled, striped, or spotted, and some sheep are black. After agreeing to Jacob's deal, Laban immediately removes all of the off-color animals from the flock three-day's journey away from the main group. It looks like Jacob's deal will go bust (Genesis 30:29–36).

Instead, the Lord supernaturally blesses Jacob's unconventional efforts to cause white sheep to produce black lambs and black goats to produce mixed-color offspring. While we aren't told, yet, Jacob has apparently been informed in another dream that God intended to correct Laban's cheating of Jacob (Genesis 31:7–12). So, while this chapter only mentions Jacob's use of striped poles, there is no confusion that God, and not the poles, causes the change in the animals' color. In addition, Jacob breeds the flock to produce strong, off-color animals for him and weak, solid-colored animals for Laban (Genesis 30:37–42).

Jacob grows enormously wealthy. With the Lord's blessing, he has overcome Laban's scheme to keep him poor and dependent on his father-in-law (Genesis 30:43).