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Genesis 30:22-35

Context

30:22 Then God took note of 1  Rachel. He paid attention to her and enabled her to become pregnant. 2  30:23 She became pregnant 3  and gave birth to a son. Then she said, “God has taken away my shame.” 4  30:24 She named him Joseph, 5  saying, “May the Lord give me yet another son.”

The Flocks of Jacob

30:25 After Rachel had given birth 6  to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send 7  me on my way so that I can go 8  home to my own country. 9  30:26 Let me take my wives and my children whom I have acquired by working for you. 10  Then I’ll depart, 11  because you know how hard I’ve worked for you.” 12 

30:27 But Laban said to him, “If I have found favor in your sight, please stay here, 13  for I have learned by divination 14  that the Lord has blessed me on account of you.” 30:28 He added, “Just name your wages – I’ll pay whatever you want.” 15 

30:29 “You know how I have worked for you,” Jacob replied, 16  “and how well your livestock have fared under my care. 17  30:30 Indeed, 18  you had little before I arrived, 19  but now your possessions have increased many times over. 20  The Lord has blessed you wherever I worked. 21  But now, how long must it be before I do something for my own family too?” 22 

30:31 So Laban asked, 23  “What should I give you?” “You don’t need to give me a thing,” 24  Jacob replied, 25  “but if you agree to this one condition, 26  I will continue to care for 27  your flocks and protect them: 30:32 Let me walk among 28  all your flocks today and remove from them every speckled or spotted sheep, every dark-colored lamb, 29  and the spotted or speckled goats. 30  These animals will be my wages. 31  30:33 My integrity will testify for me 32  later on. 33  When you come to verify that I’ve taken only the wages we agreed on, 34  if I have in my possession any goat that is not speckled or spotted or any sheep that is not dark-colored, it will be considered stolen.” 35  30:34 “Agreed!” said Laban, “It will be as you say.” 36 

30:35 So that day Laban 37  removed the male goats that were streaked or spotted, all the female goats that were speckled or spotted (all that had any white on them), and all the dark-colored lambs, and put them in the care 38  of his sons.

1 tn Heb “remembered.”

2 tn Heb “and God listened to her and opened up her womb.” Since “God” is the subject of the previous clause, the noun has been replaced by the pronoun “he” in the translation for stylistic reasons

3 tn Or “conceived.”

4 tn Heb “my reproach.” A “reproach” is a cutting taunt or painful ridicule, but here it probably refers by metonymy to Rachel’s barren condition, which was considered shameful in this culture and was the reason why she was the object of taunting and ridicule.

5 sn The name Joseph (יוֹסֵף, yoseph) means “may he add.” The name expresses Rachel’s desire to have an additional son. In Hebrew the name sounds like the verb (אָסַף,’asasf) translated “taken away” in the earlier statement made in v. 23. So the name, while reflecting Rachel’s hope, was also a reminder that God had removed her shame.

6 tn The perfect verbal form is translated as a past perfect because Rachel’s giving birth to Joseph preceded Jacob’s conversation with Laban.

7 tn The imperatival form here expresses a request.

sn For Jacob to ask to leave would mean that seven more years had passed. Thus all Jacob’s children were born within the range of seven years of each other, with Joseph coming right at the end of the seven years.

8 tn Following the imperative, the cohortative with the prefixed conjunction indicates purpose or result.

9 tn Heb “to my place and to my land.”

10 tn Heb “give my wives and my children, for whom I have served you.” In one sense Laban had already “given” Jacob his two daughters as wives (Gen 29:21, 28). Here Jacob was asking for permission to take his own family along with him on the journey back to Canaan.

11 tn Following the imperative, the cohortative with the prefixed conjunction indicates purpose or result.

12 tn Heb “for you, you know my service [with] which I have served you.”

13 tn The words “please stay here” have been supplied in the translation for clarification and for stylistic reasons.

14 tn Or perhaps “I have grown rich and the Lord has blessed me” (cf. NEB). See J. Finkelstein, “An Old Babylonian Herding Contract and Genesis 31:38f.,” JAOS 88 (1968): 34, n. 19.

15 tn Heb “set your wage for me so I may give [it].”

16 tn Heb “and he said to him, ‘You know how I have served you.’” The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons, and the referent of the pronoun “he” (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

17 tn Heb “and how your cattle were with me.”

18 tn Or “for.”

19 tn Heb “before me.”

20 tn Heb “and it has broken out with respect to abundance.”

21 tn Heb “at my foot.”

22 tn Heb “How long [until] I do, also I, for my house?”

23 tn Heb “and he said.” The referent (Laban) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

24 tn The negated imperfect verbal form has an obligatory nuance.

25 tn The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.

26 tn Heb “If you do for me this thing.”

27 tn Heb “I will return, I will tend,” an idiom meaning “I will continue tending.”

28 tn Heb “pass through.”

29 tn Or “every black lamb”; Heb “and every dark sheep among the lambs.”

30 tn Heb “and the spotted and speckled among the goats.”

31 tn Heb “and it will be my wage.” The referent collective singular pronoun (“it) has been specified as “these animals” in the translation for clarity.

32 tn Heb “will answer on my behalf.”

33 tn Heb “on the following day,” or “tomorrow.”

34 tn Heb “when you come concerning my wage before you.”

sn Only the wage we agreed on. Jacob would have to be considered completely honest here, for he would have no control over the kind of animals born; and there could be no disagreement over which animals were his wages.

35 tn Heb “every one which is not speckled and spotted among the lambs and dark among the goats, stolen it is with me.”

36 tn Heb “and Laban said, ‘Good, let it be according to your word.’” On the asseverative use of the particle לוּ (lu) here, see HALOT 521 s.v. לוּ.

37 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Laban) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

38 tn Heb “and he gave [them] into the hand.”



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