What does Genesis 30:42 mean?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
KJV: But when the cattle were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's.
NKJV: But when the flocks were feeble, he did not put them in; so the feebler were Laban’s and the stronger Jacob’s.
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
Genesis 30:25-43 describes Jacob's struggle to convince Laban to allow him to return to his own people with his wives and children, even though the 14 years of Jacob's contracted service have ended. Laban asks Jacob to name new wages to continue to work for him. Laban knows he has grown wealthy due to the Lord's blessing on Jacob. Jacob asks to own all the new off-color sheep and goats that will be born to Laban's flock. Laban agrees and quickly tries to cheat Jacob. Nevertheless, the Lord blesses Jacob's unusual breeding practices, causing so many off-color animals to be born in the flock that Jacob becomes a wealthy man in his own right. Soon he will leave Laban behind for good.
Chapter Summary:
God alone gives children. He causes babies to be born. He even determines what color baby sheep and goats will be. Genesis 30 describes the urgent desire of Rachel and Leah to have sons for Jacob and how God hears and grants their prayers in His own time. In addition, God blesses Jacob's unusual breeding practices with Laban's flocks to finally allow Jacob to overcome his father-in-law's schemes to keep Jacob under his service.
Chapter Context:
In the previous chapter, Laban tricked Jacob both into marrying Leah along with Rachel and into working for him as a servant for a total of fourteen years. God blessed unloved Leah by allowing her to bear four sons to Jacob. As this chapter opens, Rachel remains barren while Leah and both of their servant women continue to bear sons. Finally God answers Rachel's prayer, allowing her to bear Joseph. His contract completed, Jacob demands Laban send him away to his own people. Laban refuses, asking Jacob to set new terms for his service. Jacob's deal, along with the Lord's blessing and his unusual breeding practices with the flocks, results in Jacob becoming a wealthy man in his own right. This wealth and power will enable him to finally break free and return home.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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