Some Notes:

The English language has no gender-neutral pronouns. So when the words man, he, him, etc are used, they mean "Generic human being" unless the context specifically says otherwise. Only women get words devoted just to them.

Thou, Thee, and Thine are singular pronouns. You and Your are plural in the 16th Century English the King James Bible was translated into. This actually makes the message clearer than our habit of using "you" as both a singular and a plural.

In many scriptures I have changed the King James (English) spelling to American spelling (labour=labor, for example. I understand those in England still spell it with a u). Also, in some scriptures I have changed the "-eth" to a simple "s." Spelling standards weren't set in English until the mid 1800's, well after the translating of the KJV. So I see no problem with making these simple changes that don't affect the meaning of the scripture but make it easier for our modern mouths and ears to deal with.

Genesis 30- Babies, Babies Everywhere

More children, more work deals.

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.”

This would probably be between six and seven years after they were married. At this point, it would be obvious Rachel is barren. She expects Jacob to do something to fix her problem.

2 And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, “Am I in God’s stead, who has withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?”

Jacob recognizes the children come from God. He knows he is not the one denying her babies.

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.

As I said before, this was a normal practice at this time. Servants bearing children for their infertile mistresses was not common, but not unusual either. This is another example of human’s trying to fix their own problems without consulting God.

We are (properly) horrified at the thought of using slaves to get children, yet how different is this, really, from the surrogate mom industry of our time. We have “sanitized” the process by using science instead of sex to get the slave pregnant, but otherwise, it’s pretty much human trafficking, buying babies.

On does have to wonder what Jacob's opinion of this was. Did he agree quickly or did he try to fight the idea of having extra wives?

5 And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son.

6 And Rachel said, “God has judged me, and has also heard my voice, and has given me a son:” therefore called she his name Dan.

Dan means “Judge.”

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.

Naphtali means “My Wrestling.” Evidently this birth caused Rachel to feel she had won some sort of contest with Leah.

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.

I don’t know if Jacob should be considered cursed or blessed. The Bible tells us that it is a blessing to find a good wife… but four?! And with two of them being warring sisters, this is definitely a dysfunctional family.

11 And Leah said, “A troop comes:” and she called his name Gad.

Gad means “Troop” or “Treasure.” Gad was evidently either a very big or very pretty baby.

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.

Asher means “Happy.” Leah is beginning to show signs of contentment with her life instead of wanting her husband to change.

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.”

Mandrakes were a common aphrodisiac, a powerful and sometimes dangerous herb, as well as a pretty flower. I don’t know if Rachel wanted the pretties or if she wanted to make a medicine for her infertility.

At this point, at least eight years (and probably closer to ten) have passed (8 sons have been born to three different women).

15 And she said unto her, “Is it a small matter that thou have taken my husband? And would thou take away my son’s mandrakes also?” And Rachel said, “Therefore he shall lie with thee tonight 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.

One can only imagine Jacob’s opinion of being met like this.

17 And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son.

18 And Leah said, “God has given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband:” and she called his name Issachar.

Issachar means “Hire.”

19 And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son.

20 And Leah said, “God has 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.

Zebulun means “Dwelling.”

21 And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah.

Dinah means “Judgment.” Dinah was the only girl in this whole passel of boys.

22 And God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her, and opened her womb.

23 And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, “God has taken away my reproach:”

24 And she called his name Joseph; and said, “The LORD shall add to me another son.”

Joseph means “He Will Add.”

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 know my service which I have done thee.”

Jacob has now worked for Laban for at least fourteen years. He misses his family and wants to go home.

27 And Laban said unto him, “I pray thee, if I have found favor in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD has blessed me for thy sake.”

28 And he said, “Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it.”

“Tell me what you want in exchange for your labor.” Laban was no fool He could tell that God was on Jacob’s side.

29 And he said unto him, “Thou know how I have served thee, and how thy cattle was with me.

30 “For it was little which thou had before I came, and it is now increased unto a multitude; and the LORD has blessed thee since my coming: and now when shall I provide for mine own house also?”

Jacob also recognizes that Laban has prospered under his help. He wants to begin building for his own family and his own son’s, not just bring profits to Uncle Dad-in-law.

31 And he said, “What shall I give thee?” And Jacob said, “Thou shall not give me any thing: if thou will 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 them 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.”

Brown sheep produce brown wool which is difficult, if not impossible, to dye. Goats produce mohair and cashmere which are similar to wool and very soft. However, if the goat is spotted, the “wool” will be spotted. So Jacob chose the least valuable of Laban’s animals as his pay. It would certainly have been obvious if Jacob stole anything. It would also be very obvious what his pay should be.

34 And Laban said, “Behold, I would it might be according to thy word.”

“Hey, good deal.”

White sheep and solid goats are the dominant genetic characteristics. The vast majority of baby animals born should have been solid.

35 And he removed that day the he goats that were ring-streaked 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.

The “he” that removed the spotted animals and gave them into his son’s care was Laban. He evidently took the spotted animals he had just promised Jacob and hid them. This would also have drastically reduced the chances of any future spotted animals being born in his flocks since the animals obviously carrying the spotted genes were removed.

36 And he set three days’ journey between himself and Jacob: and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks.

So Jacob took care of the majority of Laban’s animals, claiming any further spotted animals as his own.

37 And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chestnut tree; and pilled white streaks in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods.

He carved stripes into the branches, releasing the sap, and making them looked striped.

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.

These particular types of trees contain a chemical that is a known aphrodisiac. Placing them in the water the animals drank would have produced a “medicinal tea” that would have caused them to go into heat.

39 And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ring-streaked, speckled, and spotted.

Sometimes chemical exposure can cause an alteration in reproductive genes before conception. It is also possible that the presence of certain chemicals in either parent’s body will make the selection of some sperm or eggs more likely than others. Evidently the chemicals in these particular trees caused either a mutation that produced spotted offspring or caused the spotted genes to be more likely to unit than the solid. Science still hasn’t quite figured this one all out.

It is also possible some of these chemicals were anti-parasitic, anti-viral, meaning that the animals that drank the water treated with them would have simply been healthier and more likely to reproduce and reproduce numerous offspring (sheep and goats both can have 1-7 babies at a time).

40 And Jacob did separate the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the ring-streaked, 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.

Jacob didn’t cross spotted animals with solid. But he had spent his life (he is well into his 90’s by now) with domestic animals and had watched Laban’s flock carefully for more than 14 years at this point. He likely knew very well which solid colored parents had produced spotted babies in the past. He made sure those males with the habit of fathering spotted babies did the most breeding.

He may also have observed the effects of these trees on the animals that drank the “tea” made with them, maybe even experimented a bit over the years, before using it on Laban’s animals.

41 And it came to pass, whenever 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.

This is called “selective breeding.” It is the earliest historical mention of this practice; “Breed the best to the best and hope for the best.”Or in the case of Laban's animals, "Breed the worst to the worst and, meh."

43 And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.

“The man” is Jacob. He became rich.