Genesis 30

1 When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I will die.” 2 Jacob’s anger burnt against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in God’s place, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” 3 She said, “Behold, my maid Bilhah. Go in to her, that she may bear on my knees, and I also may obtain children by her.” 4 She gave him Bilhah her servant as wife, and Jacob went in to her. 5 Bilhah conceived, and bore Jacob a son. 6 Rachel said, “God has judged me, and has also heard my voice, and has given me a son.” Therefore called she his name Dan. 7 Bilhah, Rachel’s servant, conceived again, and bore Jacob a second son. 8 Rachel said, “With mighty wrestling have I wrestled with my sister, and have prevailed.” She named him Naphtali. 9 When Leah saw that she had finished bearing, she took Zilpah, her servant, and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10 Zilpah, Leah’s servant, bore Jacob a son. 11 Leah said, “How fortunate!” She named him Gad. 12 Zilpah, Leah’s servant, bore Jacob a second son. 13 Leah said, “Happy am I, for the daughters will call me happy.” She named him Asher. 14 Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, 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 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, “Therefore he will lie with you tonight for your son’s mandrakes.” 16 Jacob came from the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, “You must come in to me; for I have surely hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” He lay with her that night. 17 God listened to Leah, and she conceived, and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18 Leah said, “God has given me my hire, because I gave my servant to my husband.” She named him Issachar. 19 Leah conceived again, and bore a sixth son to Jacob. 20 Leah said, “God has endowed me with a good dowry. Now my husband will live with me, because I have borne him six sons.” She named him Zebulun. 21 Afterwards, she bore a daughter, and named her Dinah. 22 God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her, and opened her womb. 23 She conceived, bore a son, and said, “God has taken away my reproach.” 24 She named him Joseph, saying, “May the LORD add another son to me.” 25 When Rachel had borne Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, that I may go to my own place, and to my country. 26 Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me go; for you know my service with which I have served you.” 27 Laban said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, stay here, for I have divined that the LORD has blessed me for your sake.” 28 He said, “Appoint me your wages, and I will give it.” 29 He said to him, “You know how I have served you, and how your livestock have fared with me. 30 For it was little which you had before I came, and it has increased to a multitude. The LORD has blessed you wherever I turned. Now when will I provide for my own house also?” 31 He said, “What shall I give you?” Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything. If you will do this thing for me, I will again feed your flock and keep it. 32 I will pass through all your flock today, removing from there every speckled and spotted one, and every black one amongst the sheep, and the spotted and speckled amongst the goats. This will be my hire. 33 So my righteousness will answer for me hereafter, when you come concerning my hire that is before you. Every one that is not speckled and spotted amongst the goats, and black amongst the sheep, that might be with me, will be counted stolen.” 34 Laban said, “Behold, let it be according to your word.” 35 That day, he removed the male goats that were streaked and spotted, and all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white in it, and all the black ones amongst the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons. 36 He set three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks. 37 Jacob took to himself rods of fresh poplar, almond, plane tree, peeled white streaks in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods. 38 He set the rods which he had peeled opposite the flocks in the gutters in the watering-troughs where the flocks came to drink. They conceived when they came to drink. 39 The flocks conceived before the rods, and the flocks produced streaked, speckled, and spotted. 40 Jacob separated the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks towards the streaked and all the black in the flock of Laban: and he put his own droves apart, and didn’t put them into Laban’s flock. 41 Whenever the stronger of the flock conceived, Jacob laid the rods in front of the eyes of the flock in the gutters, that they might conceive amongst the rods; 42 but when the flock were feeble, he didn’t put them in. So the feebler were Laban’s, and the stronger Jacob’s. 43 The man increased exceedingly, and had large flocks, female servants and male servants, and camels and donkeys.

(Previous Chapter)    •    (Next Chapter)

Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–13

Rachel envied her sister: envy is grieving at the good of another, than which no sin is more hateful to God, or more hurtful to our neighbours and ourselves. She considered not that God made the difference, and that in other things she had the advantage. Let us carefully watch against all the risings and workings of this passion in our minds. Let not our eye be evil towards any of our fellow-servants, because our Master’s is good. Jacob loved Rachel, and therefore reproved her for what she said amiss. Faithful reproofs show true affection. God may be to us instead of any creature; but it is sin and folly to place any creature in God’s stead, and to place that confidence in any creature, which should be placed in God only. At the persuasion of Rachel, Jacob took Bilhah her handmaid to wife, that, according to the usage of those times, her children might be owned as her mistress’s children. Had not Rachel’s heart been influenced by evil passions, she would have thought her sister’s children nearer to her, and more entitled to her care than Bilhah’s. But children whom she had a right to rule, were more desirable to her than children she had more reason to love. As an early instance of her power over these children, she takes pleasure in giving them names that carry in them marks of rivalry with her sister. See what roots of bitterness envy and strife are, and what mischief they make among relations. At the persuasion of Leah, Jacob took Zilpah her handmaid to wife also. See the power of jealousy and rivalship, and admire the wisdom of the Divine appointment, which joins together one man and one woman only; for God hath called us to peace and purity.

Verses 14–24

The desire, good in itself, but often too great and irregular, of being the mother of the promised Seed, with the honour of having many children, and the reproach of being barren, were causes of this unbecoming contest between the sisters. The truth appears to be, that they were influenced by the promises of God to Abraham; whose posterity were promised the richest blessings, and from whom the Messiah was to descend.

Verses 25–43

The fourteen years being gone, Jacob was willing to depart without any provision, except God’s promise. But he had in many ways a just claim on Laban’s substance, and it was the will of God that he should be provided for from it. He referred his cause to God, rather than agree for stated wages with Laban, whose selfishness was very great. And it would appear that he acted honestly, when none but those of the colours fixed upon should be found among his cattle. Laban selfishly thought that his cattle would produce few different in colour from their own. Jacob’s course after this agreement has been considered an instance of his policy and management. But it was done by intimation from God, and as a token of his power. The Lord will one way or another plead the cause of the oppressed, and honour those who simply trust his providence. Neither could Laban complain of Jacob, for he had nothing more than was freely agreed that he should have; nor was he injured, but greatly benefitted by Jacob’s services. May all our mercies be received with thanksgiving and prayer, that coming from his bounty, they may lead to his praise.

Back to Top