King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

Genesis > Old Testament > Home

Genesis 30

A further account of Jacob’s family. (1-13) Rachel beareth Joseph. (14-24) Jacob’s new agreement with Laban to serve him for cattle. (25-43)

Genesis 30 Audio:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

A further account of Jacob’s family

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.

Rachel beareth Joseph

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.

Jacob’s new agreement with Laban to serve him for cattle

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.

« »

G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Envied, or desired to have children like her. Thus we may envy the virtues of the saints. C. — Give me, &c. These words seem to indicate a degree of impatience, at which we need not be surprised, when we reflect, that Rachel had been educated among idolaters. M. — Die of grief and shame. “I shall be considered as one dead.” Jun. S. Chrysostom thinks she threatened to lay violent hands on herself, and through jealousy, spoke in a foolish manner. This passion is capable of the basest actions, (H.) and is almost unavoidable where polygamy reigns. C.

Ver. 2. Angry at the rash and apparently blasphemous demand of Rachel. M. — As God, pro Deo. Am I to work a miracle in opposition to God, who has made thee barren? To him thou oughtest to address thyself. The Hebrews justly observe, that God has reserved to himself the four keys of nature: 1. Of generation; 2. Of sustenance, Ps. cxliv. 16; 3. Of rain, Deut. xxviii. 12. And, 4. Of the grave or resurrection, Ez. xxxvii. 12. T.

Ver. 3. Servant, like a maid of honour. Josephus says she was not a slave, no more than Zelpha. — My knees, whom I may nurse with pleasure. It was an ancient custom to place the new-born infants upon the knees of some near relation, who gave them a name, and thus in a manner adopted them. C. l. 22. Job iii. 12. Ps. xxi. 11. Homer. C.

Ver. 4. Marriage. The Manichees condemned Jacob for having more than four wives at once. But S. Aug. replied, it was not then unusual or forbidden. He took the two last only at the pressing instigation of Rachel and Lia, and that only for the sake of children. Lia herself was forced upon him. c. Faust. xxii. 48.

Ver. 6. Dan, means judgment. From the same root as Adonis; Adoni, my lord or judge, &c. Rachel’s whole solicitude was for children. H.

Ver. 8. Compared me, &c. As Lia treacherously got my husband, so I have craftily surmounted the difficulties of barrenness; I have struggled earnestly, and have got the victory. Patal, means to act with cunning. Ps. xvii. 27. C. — Nephtali, “a crafty wrestler.” M.

Ver. 11. Happily, fortunately. — Gad, or Bonaventure. H. —”Good-fortune,” was acknowledge by the pagans for a divinity; (Is. lxv. 11.) perhaps for the Sun, or Oromagdes, the Gad of Aram. He was opposed to the wicked Arimenes in the Chaldee theology, by Zoroaster, (C.) the inventor of the Two Principles. Whether Lia intended to attribute this child to the influence of the planet Jupiter, the Sun, or some other tool, we cannot determine. H. — Her naming my be simply; Behold I am now a mother of a troop, or little army, Gad; and to which (C. xlix. 19.) Jacob evidently alludes. C.

Ver. 13. Aser: happy. My servant has now had as many sons as my sister (M.) and I have given them both names, indicating my great felicity and joy. H.

Ver. 14. Ruben, now perhaps about four years old, playing in the fields, in the latter harvest time, (Ex. ix. 32.) found mandrakes of an extraordinary beauty and flavour, (Cant. vii. 13.) whether they were flowers, lilies, jasmine, &c. as some translate; or rather, fruits of the mandrake tree, according to all the ancient versions; or of the citron, lemon, or orange tree, if we believe Calmet. Dudaim designates two breasts, or something lovely and protuberant. The ancients have spoken with admiration, and have attributed wonderful effects to the mandrakes, which, though controverted by moderns, might suffice to make Rachel greatly desire to have them; at least, if she believed they would contribute to remove her sterility, as Pliny xxv. 15. Aristotle (de Gener. ii.) and other naturalists of eminence, have maintained they did. H. — The effect which she desired so much, was not, however, to be attributed to them, since she conceived only three years after, and that by the blessing of God. T.

Ver. 15. From me. Lia was aware that Jacob’s affection lay entirely towards Rachel; particularly now, as she had ceased to bear children herself. H. — This might, when it is my turn to have him. To prevent any jealousy, the husband visited his wives one after another, as was the case with Smerdis, the king of Persia. Herod. iii. 79. Exod. xxi. 10. C.

Ver. 18. Issachar, “the reward of the man, or husband.” C. — She might allude also to the reward she had obtained for her mandrakes. H.

Ver. 20. Zabulon, “dwelling or cohabiting.” Zobad (which resembles the sound of Zobal) means to endow, (C.) to which she seems also to refer; as if her marriage was renewed, and God had given her more children for a dowry. M.

Ver. 21. Dina, “judgment,” like Dan. God hath done me justice. The Hebrews assert that Dina was married to holy Job. She was born the same year as Joseph, the 91st of Jacob. Lia brought forth seven children in seven years.

Ver. 24. Joseph. In imposing this name, Rachel looks both to the past and to the future; thanking God for taking away (asop) her reproach, and begging that He would add (isop or Joseph) the blessing of another son, as he really did, though it occasioned her death: so little do we know what we ask for! Joseph means one “adding or increasing.” C. xlix. 22. H. — He was born when the 14 years of service were over; being a most glorious figure of Jesus Christ, who came to redeem us from slavery. D.

Ver. 28. Give thee. He wishes to engage him to continue in his service; being convinced, that a faithful and pious servant is a great treasure. Laban promises every thing, and performs little according to his agreement. He never thinks of making Jacob any present for his extraordinary diligence.

Ver. 31. Nothing. I am willing to depart with my family towards my father. But if I must stay, these are my terms. H. — I require no certain wages, committing myself entirely to what Providence shall send. Salien.

Ver. 32. Speckled; from those which are all of one colour. Those which should be of the former description must belong to Jacob, while all the black and the white should be Laban’s. — Brown, or of a dull mixture of white and black. — Spotted, having large patches of either colour. — Divers, little spots variegating the fleece. M. — The original is extremely obscure. Jacob asks only for the worst; the speckled sheep and goats, also the black sheep and the white goats, v. 35. Bochart. C.

Ver. 33. Of theft, if they be found in my possession. I am so well convinced that God will reward my justice, that, even contrary to what might naturally be expected, he will enable me to have plenty of spotted sheep and goats, though their mothers be all of one colour. It is not certain, that Jacob agreed to have the flocks parted till the end of the year. M.

Ver. 35. His sons. These continued to observe the conduct of Jacob, while Laban drove off all the flocks of divers colours to so great a distance, (v. 36.) that there was no danger of the sheep under Jacob’s care getting to them. Thus Laban first began to violate the agreement; and the angel of the Lord suggested to Jacob, the plan by which he was preserved from serving a cruel and avaricious man without wages. C. xxxi. 12. M.

Ver. 40. All the white, &c. Notwithstanding Jacob’s stratagem, some had lambs all of a colour. The force of fancy is very surprising on such occasions. Oppian, Aristotle, and others, recommend Jacob’s plan as consonant to nature. H.

Ver. 42. Later-coming, in autumn, when the spring lambs were of an inferior value. These he was willing to abandon for the most part to Laban; and therefore did not use his rods. Pliny viii. 47. and Columella viii. 3. agree, that the lambs which are produced in spring do not thrive so well as those of autumn, at least in Italy, and in those countries where sheep lamb twice a year. Bis gravidæ pecudes. Virg. C. — Many who have tried the same experiment as Jacob, have not experienced the same success; whence S. Chrysostom, and most of the Greek fathers, suppose that it was miraculous. T.