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Genesis 30:5-20

Context
30:5 Bilhah became pregnant 1  and gave Jacob a son. 2  30:6 Then Rachel said, “God has vindicated me. He has responded to my prayer 3  and given me a son.” That is why 4  she named him Dan. 5 

30:7 Bilhah, Rachel’s servant, became pregnant again and gave Jacob another son. 6  30:8 Then Rachel said, “I have fought a desperate struggle with my sister, but I have won.” 7  So she named him Naphtali. 8 

30:9 When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she gave 9  her servant Zilpah to Jacob as a wife. 30:10 Soon Leah’s servant Zilpah gave Jacob a son. 10  30:11 Leah said, “How fortunate!” 11  So she named him Gad. 12 

30:12 Then Leah’s servant Zilpah gave Jacob another son. 13  30:13 Leah said, “How happy I am, 14  for women 15  will call me happy!” So she named him Asher. 16 

30:14 At the time 17  of the wheat harvest Reuben went out and found some mandrake plants 18  in a field and brought them to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, “Give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” 30:15 But Leah replied, 19  “Wasn’t it enough that you’ve taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes too?” “All right,” 20  Rachel said, “he may sleep 21  with you tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.” 30:16 When Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must sleep 22  with me because I have paid for your services 23  with my son’s mandrakes.” So he had marital relations 24  with her that night. 30:17 God paid attention 25  to Leah; she became pregnant 26  and gave Jacob a son for the fifth time. 27  30:18 Then Leah said, “God has granted me a reward 28  because I gave my servant to my husband as a wife.” 29  So she named him Issachar. 30 

30:19 Leah became pregnant again and gave Jacob a son for the sixth time. 31  30:20 Then Leah said, “God has given me a good gift. Now my husband will honor me because I have given him six sons.” So she named him Zebulun. 32 

1 tn Or “Bilhah conceived” (also in v. 7).

2 tn Heb “and she bore for Jacob a son.”

3 tn Heb “and also he has heard my voice.” The expression means that God responded positively to Rachel’s cry and granted her request.

4 tn Or “therefore.”

5 sn The name Dan means “he vindicated” or “he judged.” The name plays on the verb used in the statement which appears earlier in the verse. The verb translated “vindicated” is from דִּין (din, “to judge, to vindicate”), the same verbal root from which the name is derived. Rachel sensed that God was righting the wrong.

6 tn Heb “and she became pregnant again and Bilhah, the servant of Rachel, bore a second son for Jacob.”

7 tn Heb “[with] a mighty struggle I have struggled with my sister, also I have prevailed.” The phrase “mighty struggle” reads literally “struggles of God.” The plural participle “struggles” reflects the ongoing nature of the struggle, while the divine name is used here idiomatically to emphasize the intensity of the struggle. See J. Skinner, Genesis (ICC), 387.

8 sn The name Naphtali (נַפְתָּלִי, naftali) must mean something like “my struggle” in view of the statement Rachel made in the preceding clause. The name plays on this earlier statement, “[with] a mighty struggle I have struggled with my sister.”

9 tn Heb “she took her servant Zilpah and gave her.” The verbs “took” and “gave” are treated as a hendiadys in the translation: “she gave.”

10 tn Heb “and Zilpah, the servant of Leah, bore for Jacob a son.”

11 tc The statement in the Kethib (consonantal text) appears to mean literally “with good fortune,” if one takes the initial בְּ (bet) as a preposition indicating accompaniment. The Qere (marginal reading) means “good fortune has arrived.”

12 sn The name Gad (גָּד, gad) means “good fortune.” The name reflects Leah’s feeling that good fortune has come her way, as expressed in her statement recorded earlier in the verse.

13 tn Heb “and Zilpah, the servant of Leah, bore a second son for Jacob.”

14 tn The Hebrew statement apparently means “with my happiness.”

15 tn Heb “daughters.”

16 sn The name Asher (אָשֶׁר, ’asher) apparently means “happy one.” The name plays on the words used in the statement which appears earlier in the verse. Both the Hebrew noun and verb translated “happy” and “call me happy,” respectively, are derived from the same root as the name Asher.

17 tn Heb “during the days.”

18 sn Mandrake plants were popularly believed to be an aphrodisiac in the culture of the time.

19 tn Heb “and she said to her”; the referent of the pronoun “she” (Leah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

20 tn Heb “therefore.”

21 tn Heb “lie down.” The expression “lie down with” in this context (here and in the following verse) refers to sexual intercourse. The imperfect verbal form has a permissive nuance here.

22 tn Heb “must come in to me.” The imperfect verbal form has an obligatory nuance here. She has acquired him for the night and feels he is obligated to have sexual relations with her.

23 tn Heb “I have surely hired.” The infinitive absolute precedes the finite verbal form for emphasis. The name Issachar (see v. 18) seems to be related to this expression.

24 tn This is the same Hebrew verb (שָׁכַב, shakhav) translated “sleep with” in v. 15. In direct discourse the more euphemistic “sleep with” was used, but here in the narrative “marital relations” reflects more clearly the emphasis on sexual intercourse.

25 tn Heb “listened to.”

26 tn Or “she conceived” (also in v. 19).

27 tn Heb “and she bore for Jacob a fifth son,” i.e., this was the fifth son that Leah had given Jacob.

28 tn Heb “God has given my reward.”

29 tn The words “as a wife” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied for clarity (cf. v. 9).

sn Leah seems to regard the act of giving her servant Zilpah to her husband as a sacrifice, for which (she believes) God is now rewarding her with the birth of a son.

30 sn The name Issachar (יְשָּׁשכָר, yishakhar) appears to mean “man of reward” or possibly “there is reward.” The name plays on the word used in the statement made earlier in the verse. The Hebrew noun translated “reward” is derived from the same root as the name Issachar. The irony is that Rachel thought the mandrakes would work for her, and she was willing to trade one night for them. But in that one night Leah became pregnant.

31 tn Heb “and she bore a sixth son for Jacob,” i.e., this was the sixth son that Leah had given Jacob.

32 sn The name Zebulun (זְבֻלוּן, zevulun) apparently means “honor.” The name plays on the verb used in the statement made earlier in the verse. The Hebrew verb translated “will honor” and the name Zebulun derive from the same root.



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