פָּרָשַׁת וַיֵּצֵא | Parashat Vayetsei (Genesis 28:10-32:3), color-coded according to its narrative layers

According to the poetry of the Midrash Tanchuma, Bereshit 1:1, the words of the Torah were inscribed “black fire on white fire.” For many years, I’ve wanted to look deeply into the black fire and visualize the full spectrum of the Torah’s sources, hidden within the black fire but revealed through a critical analysis of its layers of redaction. Below, I’ve set the text of the first Torah portion in the annual Torah reading cycle, using color-coding to distinguish the stratigraphic layers forming the composition of the Masoretic text according to the Supplementary Hypothesis presented by Tsemaḥ Yoreh in his Kernel to Canon series of books (2013-2017). As Dr. Yoreh explains,

The Supplementary Hypothesis asserts that the Pentateuch was composed by several different writers. This reflects an overwhelming academic consensus on Biblical authorship, even among scholars who do not subscribe to the Supplementary Hypothesis in particular.[….] According to the Supplementary Hypothesis, Biblical narrative is layered. No editor took a blowtorch to the parts of the Bible he disagreed with and destroyed them; if he had, we would not find these repetitions and contradictions. Instead, Biblical narrative began with a coherent, foundational bedrock, which over time accreted more and more storylines. Unlike geological processes, though, this process of addition was deliberate. What happened if one author disagreed with his predecessor’s storyline or worldview? He did not simply take an axe to the narrative; instead, he attempted to bury his predecessor’s point of view by repeating his own over and over again, thus skewing our understanding of the story in new ways. Every generation of readers sees the world differently, and thus every generation of writers seeks to adapt their predecessors’ cultural heritage to their own situation. We are not meant simply to dismiss earlier stories; rather, the intention of later writers is to transform our understanding of those stories via their additions.

⬛ The kernel of biblical text upon which all other narratives were laid is thought to have been composed in the mid- to late eighth century BCE toward the end of the heyday of the northern Kingdom of Ephraim (one of the two kingdoms that occupied Biblical Israel). This layer, commonly referred to as ‘E’, is indicated with INDIGO text. The last parashah containing text of this layer was parashat Vayera.

⬛ The next oldest layer is thought to have been composed in the late eighth or early seventh century BCE in the southern Kingdom of Judah. This layer, commonly known as ‘J’, is indicated with a BLUE text.

⬛ The next strata, thought to have been composed during the exilic to early post-exilic period (571–486 BCE) is, as Dr. Yoreh explains, “responsible for supplementing the ‘J’ narrative with dates, names, and numbers, thus ‘ordering’ and authenticating ‘J’s account.” This layer, commonly referred to as ‘P’ (for ‘Priestly’) appears here in GREEN text.

Parashat Vayetsei (Genesis 28:10-32:3) in the annual Torah reading cycle, is read on the first shabbat of the month of Kislev. The parashah is preceded by Toldōt (Genesis 25:19-28:9); parashat Vayishlaḥ (Genesis 32:4-36:43) follows it.

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

כח י וַיֵּצֵ֥א יַעֲקֹ֖ב מִבְּאֵ֣ר שָׁ֑בַע וַיֵּ֖לֶךְ חָרָֽנָה׃ יא וַיִּפְגַּ֨ע בַּמָּק֜וֹם וַיָּ֤לֶן שָׁם֙ כִּי־בָ֣א הַשֶּׁ֔מֶשׁ וַיִּקַּח֙ מֵאַבְנֵ֣י הַמָּק֔וֹם וַיָּ֖שֶׂם מְרַֽאֲשֹׁתָ֑יו וַיִּשְׁכַּ֖ב בַּמָּק֥וֹם הַהֽוּא׃ יב וַֽיַּחֲלֹ֗ם וְהִנֵּ֤ה סֻלָּם֙ מֻצָּ֣ב אַ֔רְצָה וְרֹאשׁ֖וֹ מַגִּ֣יעַ הַשָּׁמָ֑יְמָה וְהִנֵּה֙ מַלְאֲכֵ֣י אֱלֹהִ֔ים עֹלִ֥ים וְיֹרְדִ֖ים בּֽוֹ׃ יג וְהִנֵּ֨ה יְהֹוָ֜ה נִצָּ֣ב עָלָיו֮ וַיֹּאמַר֒ אֲנִ֣י יְהֹוָ֗ה אֱלֹהֵי֙ אַבְרָהָ֣ם אָבִ֔יךָ וֵאלֹהֵ֖י יִצְחָ֑ק הָאָ֗רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֤ר אַתָּה֙ שֹׁכֵ֣ב עָלֶ֔יהָ לְךָ֥ אֶתְּנֶ֖נָּה וּלְזַרְעֶֽךָ׃ יד וְהָיָ֤ה זַרְעֲךָ֙ כַּעֲפַ֣ר הָאָ֔רֶץ וּפָרַצְתָּ֛ יָ֥מָּה וָקֵ֖דְמָה וְצָפֹ֣נָה וָנֶ֑גְבָּה וְנִבְרְכ֥וּ בְךָ֛ כׇּל־מִשְׁפְּחֹ֥ת הָאֲדָמָ֖ה וּבְזַרְעֶֽךָ׃ טו וְהִנֵּ֨ה אָנֹכִ֜י עִמָּ֗ךְ וּשְׁמַרְתִּ֙יךָ֙ בְּכֹ֣ל אֲשֶׁר־תֵּלֵ֔ךְ וַהֲשִׁ֣בֹתִ֔יךָ אֶל־הָאֲדָמָ֖ה הַזֹּ֑את כִּ֚י לֹ֣א אֶֽעֱזָבְךָ֔ עַ֚ד אֲשֶׁ֣ר אִם־עָשִׂ֔יתִי אֵ֥ת אֲשֶׁר־דִּבַּ֖רְתִּי לָֽךְ׃ טז וַיִּיקַ֣ץ יַעֲקֹב֮ מִשְּׁנָתוֹ֒ וַיֹּ֕אמֶר אָכֵן֙ יֵ֣שׁ יְהֹוָ֔ה בַּמָּק֖וֹם הַזֶּ֑ה וְאָנֹכִ֖י לֹ֥א יָדָֽעְתִּי׃ יז וַיִּירָא֙ וַיֹּאמַ֔ר מַה־נּוֹרָ֖א הַמָּק֣וֹם הַזֶּ֑ה אֵ֣ין זֶ֗ה כִּ֚י אִם־בֵּ֣ית אֱלֹהִ֔ים וְזֶ֖ה שַׁ֥עַר הַשָּׁמָֽיִם׃
28 10 Yaaqov went out from Be’er-shava[1]Beer Sheva was Abraham’s final settling place in Genesis 22 (vs. 19) according to E. Thus a literary connection is forged between Abraham and Jacob. Abraham was the theological model, and Jacob was the progenitor of the Israelite nation. and went toward Ḥarran,[2]Ḥaran is Jacob’s destination according to J, as we will soon see in the Yahwistic supplement to Chapter 29. According to E, it is to the lands of the People of the East (29:1). 11 and encountered a certain place. He had to spend the night there, for the sun had come in. Now he took one of the stones of the place and set it at his head and lay down in that place. 12 And he dreamt: Here, a ladder was set up on the earth, its top reaching the heavens, and here: messengers of Elohim were going up and down on it.[3]The Elohistic revelation is non-verbal, thus Jacob’s vow of vs. 20-22 (E) is not cognizant of the similarly worded divine promise in vss. 13-15 (J). 13 And here: YHVH was standing over against him. He said: “I am YHVH, the elo’ah of Avraham your father and the elo’ah of Yitsḥaq. The land on which you lie I give to you and to your seed. 14 Your seed will be like the dust of the earth; you will burst forth, to the Sea, to the east, to the north, to the Negev. All the clans of the fertile-ground will find blessing through you and through your seed! 15 Here, I am with you, I will watch over you wherever you go and will bring you back to this soil; indeed, I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” 16 Yaaqov awoke from his sleep and said: “Why, YHVH is in this place, and I, I did not know it!”[4]Note the switch from “God” (Elohim) to “the Lord” (Yhwh). The promise of progeny is common to J, and non-existent in E. The Lord’s promise to Jacob is a later restatement and elaboration of Jacob’s vow (vs. 20-22). In vss. 20-22 Jacob is clearly not cognizant of the similarly worded divine promise. 17 He was awestruck and said: “How awe-inspiring is this place! This is none other than a house of Elohim, and that is the gate of heaven!”

יח וַיַּשְׁכֵּ֨ם יַעֲקֹ֜ב בַּבֹּ֗קֶר וַיִּקַּ֤ח אֶת־הָאֶ֙בֶן֙ אֲשֶׁר־שָׂ֣ם מְרַֽאֲשֹׁתָ֔יו וַיָּ֥שֶׂם אֹתָ֖הּ מַצֵּבָ֑ה וַיִּצֹ֥ק שֶׁ֖מֶן עַל־רֹאשָֽׁהּ׃ יט וַיִּקְרָ֛א אֶת־שֵֽׁם־הַמָּק֥וֹם הַה֖וּא בֵּֽית־אֵ֑ל וְאוּלָ֛ם ל֥וּז שֵׁם־הָעִ֖יר לָרִאשֹׁנָֽה׃ כ וַיִּדַּ֥ר יַעֲקֹ֖ב נֶ֣דֶר לֵאמֹ֑ר אִם־יִהְיֶ֨ה אֱלֹהִ֜ים עִמָּדִ֗י וּשְׁמָרַ֙נִי֙ בַּדֶּ֤רֶךְ הַזֶּה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אָנֹכִ֣י הוֹלֵ֔ךְ וְנָֽתַן־לִ֥י לֶ֛חֶם לֶאֱכֹ֖ל וּבֶ֥גֶד לִלְבֹּֽשׁ׃ כא וְשַׁבְתִּ֥י בְשָׁל֖וֹם אֶל־בֵּ֣ית אָבִ֑י וְהָיָ֧ה יְהֹוָ֛ה לִ֖י לֵאלֹהִֽים׃ כב וְהָאֶ֣בֶן הַזֹּ֗את אֲשֶׁר־שַׂ֙מְתִּי֙ מַצֵּבָ֔ה יִהְיֶ֖ה בֵּ֣ית אֱלֹהִ֑ים וְכֹל֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר תִּתֶּן־לִ֔י עַשֵּׂ֖ר אֲעַשְּׂרֶ֥נּוּ לָֽךְ׃
18 Yaaqov started – early in the morning, he took the stone that he had set at his head and set it up as a standing-pillar and poured oil on top of it.[5]In E, God is actually present in the rock in some way, and thus Jacob sets it up as a pillar. In J the Lord simply reveals himself there. 19 And he called the name of the place: ‘Bet-El/House of El’ – however, Luz was the name of the city in former times.[6]J provides an alternate name for the site of the revelation in order to lessen the effect of the notion that God is specially tied to the place (Bethel = the house of God in biblical Hebrew). 20 And Yaaqov vowed a vow, saying: “If Elohim will be with me and will watch over me on this way that I go and will give me food to eat and a garment to wear, 21 and if I come back in peace to my father’s house[7]See comment on 29:12. – YHVH shall be Elohim to me,[8]This equation between the Lord and God (Yhwh and Elohim) is common throughout J, and compare the usage in Genesis 2-3 (J). A further theological statement is being made here, namely that the Lord is the God that was revealed here and not a local deity connected with the site. 22 and this stone that I have set up as a standing-pillar shall become a house of Elohim, and everything that you give me I shall tithe, tithe it to you.”[9]The establishment of Bethel as a shrine goes against J notion of centralization of cult, thus the attempts above to desanctify it (the change of name, revelation as opposed to being tied to the site). Bethel is, however, one of the most important cultic sites in the Northern Kingdom and is therefore important to E which was written in the north.

שני כט א וַיִּשָּׂ֥א יַעֲקֹ֖ב רַגְלָ֑יו וַיֵּ֖לֶךְ אַ֥רְצָה בְנֵי־קֶֽדֶם׃ ב וַיַּ֞רְא וְהִנֵּ֧ה בְאֵ֣ר בַּשָּׂדֶ֗ה וְהִנֵּה־שָׁ֞ם שְׁלֹשָׁ֤ה עֶדְרֵי־צֹאן֙ רֹבְצִ֣ים עָלֶ֔יהָ כִּ֚י מִן־הַבְּאֵ֣ר הַהִ֔וא יַשְׁק֖וּ הָעֲדָרִ֑ים וְהָאֶ֥בֶן גְּדֹלָ֖ה עַל־פִּ֥י הַבְּאֵֽר׃ ג וְנֶאֶסְפוּ־שָׁ֣מָּה כׇל־הָעֲדָרִ֗ים וְגָלְל֤וּ אֶת־הָאֶ֙בֶן֙ מֵעַל֙ פִּ֣י הַבְּאֵ֔ר וְהִשְׁק֖וּ אֶת־הַצֹּ֑אן וְהֵשִׁ֧יבוּ אֶת־הָאֶ֛בֶן עַל־פִּ֥י הַבְּאֵ֖ר לִמְקֹמָֽהּ׃ ד וַיֹּ֤אמֶר לָהֶם֙ יַעֲקֹ֔ב אַחַ֖י מֵאַ֣יִן אַתֶּ֑ם וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ מֵחָרָ֖ן אֲנָֽחְנוּ׃ ה וַיֹּ֣אמֶר לָהֶ֔ם הַיְדַעְתֶּ֖ם אֶת־לָבָ֣ן בֶּן־נָח֑וֹר וַיֹּאמְר֖וּ יָדָֽעְנוּ׃ ו וַיֹּ֥אמֶר לָהֶ֖ם הֲשָׁל֣וֹם ל֑וֹ וַיֹּאמְר֣וּ שָׁל֔וֹם וְהִנֵּה֙ רָחֵ֣ל בִּתּ֔וֹ בָּאָ֖ה עִם־הַצֹּֽאן׃ ז וַיֹּ֗אמֶר הֵ֥ן עוֹד֙ הַיּ֣וֹם גָּד֔וֹל לֹא־עֵ֖ת הֵאָסֵ֣ף הַמִּקְנֶ֑ה הַשְׁק֥וּ הַצֹּ֖אן וּלְכ֥וּ רְעֽוּ׃ ח וַיֹּאמְרוּ֮ לֹ֣א נוּכַל֒ עַ֣ד אֲשֶׁ֤ר יֵאָֽסְפוּ֙ כׇּל־הָ֣עֲדָרִ֔ים וְגָֽלְלוּ֙ אֶת־הָאֶ֔בֶן מֵעַ֖ל פִּ֣י הַבְּאֵ֑ר וְהִשְׁקִ֖ינוּ הַצֹּֽאן׃
29 1 Yaaqov lifted his feet and went to the land of the Easterners. 2 He looked around him, and there: a well in the field, and there were three herds of sheep crouching near it, for from that well they used to give the herds to drink. Now the stone on the mouth of the well was large, 3 so when all the herds were gathered there, they used to roll the stone from the mouth of the well, give the sheep to drink, and put the stone back on the mouth of the well in its place. 4 Now Yaaqov said to them: “Brothers, where are you from?” They said: “We are from Ḥarran.”[10]Laban lives in “the land of the people of the east” according to E (vs.1 ); according to J, however, he lives in Ḥarran (vs. 4). 5 He said to them: “Do you know Lavan, son of Naḥor?” They said: “We know him.” 6 He said to them: “Is all well with him?” They said: “It is well – and here comes Raḥel his daughter with the sheep!”[11]In vs. 6 the shepherds mention that Rachel is coming with her flock, Jacob seemingly ignores this statement and asks about the well and why they are waiting there in vs. 7. This is discordant with Jacob’s very emotional reaction to meeting Rachel in vss. 10-11. It is thus likely that these verses were inserted by J in order to establish the setting as Ḥarran. 7 He said: “Indeed, it is still broad daylight, it is not time to gather in the livestock, so give the sheep to drink and go back, tend them.” 8 But they said: “We cannot, until all the herds have been gathered; only then do they roll the stone from the mouth of the well, and then we give the sheep to drink.”

ט עוֹדֶ֖נּוּ מְדַבֵּ֣ר עִמָּ֑ם וְרָחֵ֣ל ׀ בָּ֗אָה עִם־הַצֹּאן֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר לְאָבִ֔יהָ כִּ֥י רֹעָ֖ה הִֽוא׃ י וַיְהִ֡י כַּאֲשֶׁר֩ רָאָ֨ה יַעֲקֹ֜ב אֶת־רָחֵ֗ל בַּת־לָבָן֙ אֲחִ֣י אִמּ֔וֹ וְאֶת־צֹ֥אן לָבָ֖ן אֲחִ֣י אִמּ֑וֹ וַיִּגַּ֣שׁ יַעֲקֹ֗ב וַיָּ֤גֶל אֶת־הָאֶ֙בֶן֙ מֵעַל֙ פִּ֣י הַבְּאֵ֔ר וַיַּ֕שְׁקְ אֶת־צֹ֥אן לָבָ֖ן אֲחִ֥י אִמּֽוֹ׃
9 While he was still speaking with them, Raḥel came with the sheep that were her father’s – for she was a shepherd. 10 Now it was when Yaaqov saw Raḥel, the daughter of Lavan,[12]E emphasizes Jacob’s positive characteristics such as strength (in this passage), loyalty to God (Gen 28, 35), loyalty to family (Gen 31, 32). This is in contrast to J who prefers to emphasize Jacob’s negative characteristics, perhaps basing himself to some degree on the etymology of Jacob’s name, which means cheating or sinful behavior. Since J is a supplementer and is adding to E, he creates a well-rounded character with both positive and negative traits. his mother’s brother,[13]J is concerned that we understand what the familial relationship of Laban and Jacob is – in E (vss. 11 and 14) the implication is that they are brothers. In order to swerve our understanding of this term to a more distant kinship (uncle-nephew) (which is possible in Biblical Hebrew) J emphasizes the uncle-nephew relationship no less than 5 times in the space of 4 verses. and the sheep of Lavan[14]The familial relationship between Jacob and Rachel is extraneous to this verse and the next verses and the text reads well without them. The sheer emphasis upon the familial relationship encumbers the style here and in the following verses. his mother’s brother,[15]See second comment on this verse. that Yaaqov came close, he rolled the stone from the mouth of the well and gave drink to the sheep of Lavan[16]See first comment on this verse. his mother’s brother.[17]See second comment on this verse.

יא וַיִּשַּׁ֥ק יַעֲקֹ֖ב לְרָחֵ֑ל וַיִּשָּׂ֥א אֶת־קֹל֖וֹ וַיֵּֽבְךְּ׃ יב וַיַּגֵּ֨ד יַעֲקֹ֜ב לְרָחֵ֗ל כִּ֣י אֲחִ֤י אָבִ֙יהָ֙ ה֔וּא וְכִ֥י בֶן־רִבְקָ֖ה ה֑וּא וַתָּ֖רׇץ וַתַּגֵּ֥ד לְאָבִֽיהָ׃ יג וַיְהִי֩ כִשְׁמֹ֨עַ לָבָ֜ן אֶת־שֵׁ֣מַע ׀ יַעֲקֹ֣ב בֶּן־אֲחֹת֗וֹ וַיָּ֤רׇץ לִקְרָאתוֹ֙ וַיְחַבֶּק־לוֹ֙ וַיְנַשֶּׁק־ל֔וֹ וַיְבִיאֵ֖הוּ אֶל־בֵּית֑וֹ וַיְסַפֵּ֣ר לְלָבָ֔ן אֵ֥ת כׇּל־הַדְּבָרִ֖ים הָאֵֽלֶּה׃ יד וַיֹּ֤אמֶר לוֹ֙ לָבָ֔ן אַ֛ךְ עַצְמִ֥י וּבְשָׂרִ֖י אָ֑תָּה וַיֵּ֥שֶׁב עִמּ֖וֹ חֹ֥דֶשׁ יָמִֽים׃ טו וַיֹּ֤אמֶר לָבָן֙ לְיַעֲקֹ֔ב הֲכִי־אָחִ֣י אַ֔תָּה וַעֲבַדְתַּ֖נִי חִנָּ֑ם הַגִּ֥ידָה לִּ֖י מַה־מַּשְׂכֻּרְתֶּֽךָ׃ טז וּלְלָבָ֖ן שְׁתֵּ֣י בָנ֑וֹת שֵׁ֤ם הַגְּדֹלָה֙ לֵאָ֔ה וְשֵׁ֥ם הַקְּטַנָּ֖ה רָחֵֽל׃ יז וְעֵינֵ֥י לֵאָ֖ה רַכּ֑וֹת וְרָחֵל֙ הָֽיְתָ֔ה יְפַת־תֹּ֖אַר וִיפַ֥ת מַרְאֶֽה׃ שלישי יח וַיֶּאֱהַ֥ב יַעֲקֹ֖ב אֶת־רָחֵ֑ל וַיֹּ֗אמֶר אֶֽעֱבׇדְךָ֙ שֶׁ֣בַע שָׁנִ֔ים בְּרָחֵ֥ל בִּתְּךָ֖ הַקְּטַנָּֽה׃
11 Then Yaaqov kissed Raḥel, and lifted up his voice and wept. 12 And Yaaqov told Raḥel that he was her father’s brother[18]The style here is particularly cumbersome since the verse tells us that A: Jacob is Laban’s kinsman; B. Jacob is Laban’s nephew. The second statement of relationship seems to be elucidatory, and see comment above (the second comment on 29:10). and that he was Rivka’s son.[19]See second comment on 29:10. She ran and told her father. 13 Now it was, as soon as Lavan heard the tidings concerning Yaaqov,[20]See third comment on 29:10. his sister’s son,[21]See second comment on 29:10. that he ran to meet him, embraced him and kissed him, and brought him into his house.[22]The natural reaction to the greeting of a kinsman. In E we do not know of the history between Laban’s family and Jacob’s family as we do in J, since an Isaac cycle of narratives is absent in this source. Thus it is J who adds that Jacob told Laban everything, perhaps explaining to Laban why he fled at the end of vs. 13. And he recounted all these events to Lavan. 14 Lavan said to him: “Without doubt you are my bone, my flesh!” And he stayed with him the days of a Renewing-of-the-moon.[23]Vs. 14: “Surely you are my bone and flesh” is meant to contrast Vs. 15: “Because you are my kinsman/brother.” 15 Lavan said to Yaaqov: “Just because you are my brother, should you serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?” 16 Now Lavan had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, the name of the younger was Raḥel.[24]The repetition of the fact that Rachel was Laban’s daughter is necessary here in order to contrast her with her sister. 17 Leah’s eyes were delicate, but Raḥel was fair of form and fair to look at.[25]The beauty of the matriarchs is a common theme in J narrative, thus Sarah and Rebecca were beautiful (12:11, 24:16), as was Joseph (Chapter 39). It is possible that this description was added by J. 18 And Yaaqov fell in love with Raḥel. He said: “I will serve you seven years for Raḥel, your younger daughter.”

יט וַיֹּ֣אמֶר לָבָ֗ן ט֚וֹב תִּתִּ֣י אֹתָ֣הּ לָ֔ךְ מִתִּתִּ֥י אֹתָ֖הּ לְאִ֣ישׁ אַחֵ֑ר שְׁבָ֖ה עִמָּדִֽי׃ כ וַיַּעֲבֹ֧ד יַעֲקֹ֛ב בְּרָחֵ֖ל שֶׁ֣בַע שָׁנִ֑ים וַיִּהְי֤וּ בְעֵינָיו֙ כְּיָמִ֣ים אֲחָדִ֔ים בְּאַהֲבָת֖וֹ אֹתָֽהּ׃
19 Lavan said: “My giving her to you is better than my giving her to another man; stay with me.” 20 So Yaaqov served seven years for Raḥel, yet they were in his eyes as but a few days, because of his love for her.

כא וַיֹּ֨אמֶר יַעֲקֹ֤ב אֶל־לָבָן֙ הָבָ֣ה אֶת־אִשְׁתִּ֔י כִּ֥י מָלְא֖וּ יָמָ֑י וְאָב֖וֹאָה אֵלֶֽיהָ׃ כב וַיֶּאֱסֹ֥ף לָבָ֛ן אֶת־כׇּל־אַנְשֵׁ֥י הַמָּק֖וֹם וַיַּ֥עַשׂ מִשְׁתֶּֽה׃ כג וַיְהִ֣י בָעֶ֔רֶב וַיִּקַּח֙ אֶת־לֵאָ֣ה בִתּ֔וֹ וַיָּבֵ֥א אֹתָ֖הּ אֵלָ֑יו וַיָּבֹ֖א אֵלֶֽיהָ׃ כד וַיִּתֵּ֤ן לָבָן֙ לָ֔הּ אֶת־זִלְפָּ֖ה שִׁפְחָת֑וֹ לְלֵאָ֥ה בִתּ֖וֹ שִׁפְחָֽה׃
21 Then Yaaqov said to Lavan: “Come-now, (give me) my wife, for my days-of-labor have been fulfilled, so that I may come in to her.” 22 Lavan gathered all the people of the place together and made a drinking-feast. 23 Now in the evening he took Leah his daughter and brought her to him, and he came in to her.[26]Jacob came to Leah thinking she was Rachel and then in the morning discovered she was Leah. This sequence is interrupted by Laban’s present of Zilpah to Leah, a detail which is extraneous to the E narrative in which Zilpah does not feature. 24 Lavan also gave her Zilpah his maid, for Leah his daughter as a maid.[27]See previous comment.

כה וַיְהִ֣י בַבֹּ֔קֶר וְהִנֵּה־הִ֖וא לֵאָ֑ה וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֶל־לָבָ֗ן מַה־זֹּאת֙ עָשִׂ֣יתָ לִּ֔י הֲלֹ֤א בְרָחֵל֙ עָבַ֣דְתִּי עִמָּ֔ךְ וְלָ֖מָּה רִמִּיתָֽנִי׃ כו וַיֹּ֣אמֶר לָבָ֔ן לֹא־יֵעָשֶׂ֥ה כֵ֖ן בִּמְקוֹמֵ֑נוּ לָתֵ֥ת הַצְּעִירָ֖ה לִפְנֵ֥י הַבְּכִירָֽה׃ כז מַלֵּ֖א שְׁבֻ֣עַ זֹ֑את וְנִתְּנָ֨ה לְךָ֜ גַּם־אֶת־זֹ֗את בַּעֲבֹדָה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר תַּעֲבֹ֣ד עִמָּדִ֔י ע֖וֹד שֶֽׁבַע־שָׁנִ֥ים אֲחֵרֽוֹת׃ כח וַיַּ֤עַשׂ יַעֲקֹב֙ כֵּ֔ן וַיְמַלֵּ֖א שְׁבֻ֣עַ זֹ֑את וַיִּתֶּן־ל֛וֹ אֶת־רָחֵ֥ל בִּתּ֖וֹ ל֥וֹ לְאִשָּֽׁה׃ כט וַיִּתֵּ֤ן לָבָן֙ לְרָחֵ֣ל בִּתּ֔וֹ אֶת־בִּלְהָ֖ה שִׁפְחָת֑וֹ לָ֖הּ לְשִׁפְחָֽה׃ ל וַיָּבֹא֙ גַּ֣ם אֶל־רָחֵ֔ל וַיֶּאֱהַ֥ב גַּֽם־אֶת־רָחֵ֖ל מִלֵּאָ֑ה וַיַּעֲבֹ֣ד עִמּ֔וֹ ע֖וֹד שֶֽׁבַע־שָׁנִ֥ים אֲחֵרֽוֹת׃
25 Now in the morning: here, she was Leah! He said to Lavan: “What is this that you have done to me! Was it not for Raḥel that I served you? Why have you deceived me?” 26 Lavan said: “Such is not done in our place, giving away the younger before the firstborn; 27 just fill out the bridal-week for this one, then we shall give you that one also, for the service which you will serve me for yet another seven years.” 28 Yaaqov did so – he fulfilled the bridal-week for this one, and then he gave him Raḥel his daughter as a wife.foot]Jacob is portrayed in this narrative as an innocent victim. In the J additions to the Jacob cycle, Jacob pays Laban back in kind by purloining his herds (Chapter 31).[/foot] 29 Lavan also gave Raḥel his daughter Bilhah his maid, for her as a maid.[28]See comment on 29:23. Bilhah does feature in the E narrative but only as a secondary character. Moreover this verse is stylistically identical to vs. 24, which seems to be an insertion. 30 So he came in to Raḥel also, and he loved Raḥel also, more than Leah. Then he served him for yet another seven years.[29]It is probable that the narrator intends us to understand that the birth of Jacob’s children occurred during the seven years mentioned in vs. 30, rather then after them.

לא וַיַּ֤רְא יְהֹוָה֙ כִּֽי־שְׂנוּאָ֣ה לֵאָ֔ה וַיִּפְתַּ֖ח אֶת־רַחְמָ֑הּ וְרָחֵ֖ל עֲקָרָֽה׃ לב וַתַּ֤הַר לֵאָה֙ וַתֵּ֣לֶד בֵּ֔ן וַתִּקְרָ֥א שְׁמ֖וֹ רְאוּבֵ֑ן כִּ֣י אָֽמְרָ֗ה כִּֽי־רָאָ֤ה יְהֹוָה֙ בְּעׇנְיִ֔י כִּ֥י עַתָּ֖ה יֶאֱהָבַ֥נִי אִישִֽׁי׃ לג וַתַּ֣הַר עוֹד֮ וַתֵּ֣לֶד בֵּן֒ וַתֹּ֗אמֶר כִּֽי־שָׁמַ֤ע יְהֹוָה֙ כִּֽי־שְׂנוּאָ֣ה אָנֹ֔כִי וַיִּתֶּן־לִ֖י גַּם־אֶת־זֶ֑ה וַתִּקְרָ֥א שְׁמ֖וֹ שִׁמְעֽוֹן׃ לד וַתַּ֣הַר עוֹד֮ וַתֵּ֣לֶד בֵּן֒ וַתֹּ֗אמֶר עַתָּ֤ה הַפַּ֙עַם֙ יִלָּוֶ֤ה אִישִׁי֙ אֵלַ֔י כִּֽי־יָלַ֥דְתִּי ל֖וֹ שְׁלֹשָׁ֣ה בָנִ֑ים עַל־כֵּ֥ן קָרָֽא־שְׁמ֖וֹ לֵוִֽי׃ לה וַתַּ֨הַר ע֜וֹד וַתֵּ֣לֶד בֵּ֗ן וַתֹּ֙אמֶר֙ הַפַּ֙עַם֙ אוֹדֶ֣ה אֶת־יְהֹוָ֔ה עַל־כֵּ֛ן קָרְאָ֥ה שְׁמ֖וֹ יְהוּדָ֑ה וַֽתַּעֲמֹ֖ד מִלֶּֽדֶת׃
31 Now when YHVH saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, while Raḥel was barren.[30]”The Lord” is employed here as a divine name, and thus the beginning of this narrative is likely Yahwistic. Matriarchal barrenness is a Yahwistic theme and compare Sarah’s barrenness (Chapter 16), and Rebecca’ barrenness (Chapter 25). The word barren is not used to describe the matriarchs in E. 32 So Leah became pregnant and bore a son; she called his name: ‘Re’uven/See, a Son!’ for she said:[31]According to E, Jacob had only seven sons. The two most significant tribes missing from the Elohistic account are Levi and Judah, who are unimportant to an author writing in the Northern Kingdom (compare the song of Deborah in Judges 5 where these tribes are also absent). When the J who was a southern Judean author inherited the Elohistic narrative he added 5 tribes who were important to his audience. ¶ Further proof for 7 as the original number of tribes exists in Chapters 43:34 and 45:22 where Joseph gives Benjamin five times the gifts he gives the rest of his brothers. If there are 12 brothers, this number has no significance. If there are seven brothers, however, Joseph gives Benjamin the same amount of gifts as all the rest of the brothers combined, accentuating the literary theme that Benjamin is worth the same as all the rest of Joseph’s brothers, since without him the brothers would not receive food. “Indeed, YHVH has seen my being afflicted,[32]There are two name etymologies (explanations) in this verse: 1. Because the Lord looked on my affliction; 2. Surely now my husband will love me. Each of the etymologies feature most of the letters of the name, although the second explanation lacks the first letter. The phenomenon of double etymologies for Jacob’s children is also apparent in the birth notices of Zebulun, Joseph, and perhaps Issachar. In each of the cases the first etymology is further from the name than the second etymology. In two of the cases (Reuben and Joseph), the “better” etymology employs “the Lord” as a divine name. It thus seems that the original narrative was supplemented by a later Yahwistic editor, who added (among other things) superior name etymologies. indeed, now my husband will love me!”[33]See previous comment. 33 She became pregnant again and bore a son, and said: “Indeed, YHVH has heard that I am hated, so he has given me this one as well!” And she called his name: ‘Shim’on/Hearing.’ 34 She became pregnant again and bore a son, and said: “Now this time my husband will be joined to me, for I have borne him three sons!” Therefore they called his name: ‘Levi/Joining.’ 35 She became pregnant again and bore a son, and said: “This time I will give thanks to YHVH!” Therefore she called his name: ‘Yehuda/Giving-thanks.’ Then she stopped giving birth.[34]”The Lord” appears in the name etymologies of both Levi and Judah, marking them as Yahwistic additions to the text (as well as the southern Shimon sandwiched between them), and see first comment above on 29:32.

ל א וַתֵּ֣רֶא רָחֵ֗ל כִּ֣י לֹ֤א יָֽלְדָה֙ לְיַעֲקֹ֔ב וַתְּקַנֵּ֥א רָחֵ֖ל בַּאֲחֹתָ֑הּ וַתֹּ֤אמֶר אֶֽל־יַעֲקֹב֙ הָֽבָה־לִּ֣י בָנִ֔ים וְאִם־אַ֖יִן מֵתָ֥ה אָנֹֽכִי׃ ב וַיִּֽחַר־אַ֥ף יַעֲקֹ֖ב בְּרָחֵ֑ל וַיֹּ֗אמֶר הֲתַ֤חַת אֱלֹהִים֙ אָנֹ֔כִי אֲשֶׁר־מָנַ֥ע מִמֵּ֖ךְ פְּרִי־בָֽטֶן׃ ג וַתֹּ֕אמֶר הִנֵּ֛ה אֲמָתִ֥י בִלְהָ֖ה בֹּ֣א אֵלֶ֑יהָ וְתֵלֵד֙ עַל־בִּרְכַּ֔י וְאִבָּנֶ֥ה גַם־אָנֹכִ֖י מִמֶּֽנָּה׃ ד וַתִּתֶּן־ל֛וֹ אֶת־בִּלְהָ֥ה שִׁפְחָתָ֖הּ לְאִשָּׁ֑ה וַיָּבֹ֥א אֵלֶ֖יהָ יַעֲקֹֽב׃ ה וַתַּ֣הַר בִּלְהָ֔ה וַתֵּ֥לֶד לְיַעֲקֹ֖ב בֵּֽן׃ ו וַתֹּ֤אמֶר רָחֵל֙ דָּנַ֣נִּי אֱלֹהִ֔ים וְגַם֙ שָׁמַ֣ע בְּקֹלִ֔י וַיִּתֶּן־לִ֖י בֵּ֑ן עַל־כֵּ֛ן קָרְאָ֥ה שְׁמ֖וֹ דָּֽן׃ ז וַתַּ֣הַר ע֔וֹד וַתֵּ֕לֶד בִּלְהָ֖ה שִׁפְחַ֣ת רָחֵ֑ל בֵּ֥ן שֵׁנִ֖י לְיַעֲקֹֽב׃ ח וַתֹּ֣אמֶר רָחֵ֗ל נַפְתּוּלֵ֨י אֱלֹהִ֧ים ׀ נִפְתַּ֛לְתִּי עִם־אֲחֹתִ֖י גַּם־יָכֹ֑לְתִּי וַתִּקְרָ֥א שְׁמ֖וֹ נַפְתָּלִֽי׃
30 1 Now when Raḥel saw that she could not bear (children) to Yaaqov, Raḥel envied her sister. She said to Yaaqov: “Come-now, (give) me children! If not, I will die!” 2 Yaaqov’s anger flared up against Raḥel, he said: “Am I in place of Elohim, who has denied you fruit of the body?” 3 She said: “Here is my slave-girl Bilhah; come in to her, so that she may give birth upon my knees, so that I too may be built-up-with-sons through her.”[35]Note the parallel to Sarah who uses Hagar as a surrogate (Chapter 16 – J). The same verb בנה (literally – to build), is used in both instances. 4 She gave him Bilhah her maid as a wife,[36]In the Hebrew handmaiden is rendered as both “Shifchah” and “Amah”. Amah is employed by the Elohist (e.g. 20:17), Shifchah by the Yahwist (e.g. 12:15). Bilhah is first referred to in this text as “Amah” and in conjunction with the divine name – “Elohim” as opposed to “YHVH” in the previous verses – marks this text as Elohistic. It is likely that the term “Shifchah” was added in vs. 4 by J to indicate that Bilhah was a lesser wife and thus her child was in fact Rachel’s. The term wasn’t added to the E narrative consistently and is absent in vs. 5. and Yaaqov came in to her. 5 Bilhah became pregnant and bore Yaaqov a son. 6 Raḥel said: “Elohim has done-me-justice; yes, he has heard my voice! He has given me a son!” Therefore she called his name: ‘Dan/He-has-done-justice.'[37]”Elohim” is the divine name in this verse, indicating an Elohistic narrative. 7 And Bilhah, Raḥel’s maid,[38]See penultimate comment (on verse 30:4). became pregnant again and bore a second son to Yaaqov.[39]At this point in E’s narrative Leah has one son (Reuben) and Rachel has born two sons (Dan and Naphtali) through her handmaiden.[40]The numbering of the children is likely a Yahwistic addition, since it is this source that is changing the number of sons from 7 to 12. 8 Raḥel said: “A struggle of Elohim have I struggled with my sister; yes, I have prevailed!” So she called his name: ‘Naftali/My Struggle.’[41]The statement “I have wrestled with my sister and prevailed” makes sense only in the Elohistic narrative where Rachel has two sons through Bilhah and Leah has only one son. In J, it does not make sense since Leah is ahead in the procreative contest, four children versus two children.

ט וַתֵּ֣רֶא לֵאָ֔ה כִּ֥י עָמְדָ֖ה מִלֶּ֑דֶת וַתִּקַּח֙ אֶת־זִלְפָּ֣ה שִׁפְחָתָ֔הּ וַתִּתֵּ֥ן אֹתָ֛הּ לְיַעֲקֹ֖ב לְאִשָּֽׁה׃ י וַתֵּ֗לֶד זִלְפָּ֛ה שִׁפְחַ֥ת לֵאָ֖ה לְיַעֲקֹ֥ב בֵּֽן׃ יא וַתֹּ֥אמֶר לֵאָ֖ה [בגד] בָּ֣א גָ֑ד וַתִּקְרָ֥א אֶת־שְׁמ֖וֹ גָּֽד׃ יב וַתֵּ֗לֶד זִלְפָּה֙ שִׁפְחַ֣ת לֵאָ֔ה בֵּ֥ן שֵׁנִ֖י לְיַעֲקֹֽב׃ יג וַתֹּ֣אמֶר לֵאָ֔ה בְּאׇשְׁרִ֕י כִּ֥י אִשְּׁר֖וּנִי בָּנ֑וֹת וַתִּקְרָ֥א אֶת־שְׁמ֖וֹ אָשֵֽׁר׃
9 Now when Leah saw that she had stopped giving birth, she took Zilpah her maid and gave her to Yaaqov as a wife. 10 Zilpah, Leah’s maid, bore Yaaqov a son. 11 Leah said: “What fortune!” So she called his name: ‘Gad/Fortune.’ 12 And Zilpah, Leah’s maid, bore a second son to Yaaqov. 13 Leah said: “What happiness![42]Raphael Patai notes that the text here was likely amended, ‘oshri’ from ‘Ashera’ (in Hebrew Goddess, ch. 1, footnote 15, p.297) For women will deem me happy.” So she called his name: ‘Asher/Happiness.’[43]This section is difficult to attribute to a specific source using clear cut criteria. It seems more likely that it is Yahwistic since the term Shifchah is used. Moreover, the clearly secondary statement “because I gave my maid to my husband” in vs. 18 [see below] which refers to these verses (9-13), indicates that this section too is secondary.

רביעי יד וַיֵּ֨לֶךְ רְאוּבֵ֜ן בִּימֵ֣י קְצִיר־חִטִּ֗ים וַיִּמְצָ֤א דֽוּדָאִים֙ בַּשָּׂדֶ֔ה וַיָּבֵ֣א אֹתָ֔ם אֶל־לֵאָ֖ה אִמּ֑וֹ וַתֹּ֤אמֶר רָחֵל֙ אֶל־לֵאָ֔ה תְּנִי־נָ֣א לִ֔י מִדּוּדָאֵ֖י בְּנֵֽךְ׃ טו וַתֹּ֣אמֶר לָ֗הּ הַמְעַט֙ קַחְתֵּ֣ךְ אֶת־אִישִׁ֔י וְלָקַ֕חַת גַּ֥ם אֶת־דּוּדָאֵ֖י בְּנִ֑י וַתֹּ֣אמֶר רָחֵ֗ל לָכֵן֙ יִשְׁכַּ֤ב עִמָּךְ֙ הַלַּ֔יְלָה תַּ֖חַת דּוּדָאֵ֥י בְנֵֽךְ׃ טז וַיָּבֹ֨א יַעֲקֹ֣ב מִן־הַשָּׂדֶה֮ בָּעֶ֒רֶב֒ וַתֵּצֵ֨א לֵאָ֜ה לִקְרָאת֗וֹ וַתֹּ֙אמֶר֙ אֵלַ֣י תָּב֔וֹא כִּ֚י שָׂכֹ֣ר שְׂכַרְתִּ֔יךָ בְּדוּדָאֵ֖י בְּנִ֑י וַיִּשְׁכַּ֥ב עִמָּ֖הּ בַּלַּ֥יְלָה הֽוּא׃
14 Now Re’uven went in the days of the wheat-harvest and found some love-apples in the field, and brought them to Leah his mother. Raḥel said to Leah: “Pray give me (some) of your son’s love-apples!” 15 She said to her: “Is your taking away my husband such a small thing that you would now take away my son’s love-apples?” Raḥel said: “Very well, he may lie with you tonight in exchange for your son’s love-apples.” 16 So when Yaaqov came home from the fields in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said: “You must come in to me, for I have hired, yes, hired you for my son’s love-apples. So he lay with her that night.”

יז וַיִּשְׁמַ֥ע אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶל־לֵאָ֑ה וַתַּ֛הַר וַתֵּ֥לֶד לְיַעֲקֹ֖ב בֵּ֥ן חֲמִישִֽׁי׃ יח וַתֹּ֣אמֶר לֵאָ֗ה נָתַ֤ן אֱלֹהִים֙ שְׂכָרִ֔י אֲשֶׁר־נָתַ֥תִּי שִׁפְחָתִ֖י לְאִישִׁ֑י וַתִּקְרָ֥א שְׁמ֖וֹ יִשָּׂשכָֽר׃ יט וַתַּ֤הַר עוֹד֙ לֵאָ֔ה וַתֵּ֥לֶד בֵּן־שִׁשִּׁ֖י לְיַעֲקֹֽב׃ כ וַתֹּ֣אמֶר לֵאָ֗ה זְבָדַ֨נִי אֱלֹהִ֥ים ׀ אֹתִי֮ זֵ֣בֶד טוֹב֒ הַפַּ֙עַם֙ יִזְבְּלֵ֣נִי אִישִׁ֔י כִּֽי־יָלַ֥דְתִּי ל֖וֹ שִׁשָּׁ֣ה בָנִ֑ים וַתִּקְרָ֥א אֶת־שְׁמ֖וֹ זְבֻלֽוּן׃
17 And Elohim hearkened to Leah, so that she became pregnant and bore Yaaqov a[44]According to E, Leah is now tied in the procreative contest, 2 children versus 2 children for Rachel. fifth[45]See final comment on 30:7. son. 18 Leah said: “Elohim has given me my hired-wages,[46]See next comment. because I gave my maid to my husband!”[47]The Elohistic etymology explaining Issachar’s name is “I have hired you” / or “God has given me my hire” and plainly has nothing to do with Leah giving her handmaiden to Jacob, rather they refer to the transaction between Rachel and Leah in which they traded mandrakes for sexual privilege. The words “because I gave my maid to my husband” seem to be a secondary addition alluding to the birth of Zilpah’s children in vss. 9-13 (above, comment on 30:8). So she called his name: ‘Yissakhar/There-is-hire.’ 19 Once again Leah became pregnant, and she bore a[48]According to E, Leah is now ahead in the procreative contest, 3 children versus 2 children for Rachel. sixth[49]See final comment on 30:7. son to Yaaqov. 20 Leah said: “Elohim has presented me with a good present,[50]This is the first of two name etymologies for Zebulun, the first an “inferior” Elohistic etymology: “God has endowed with a good dowry” (which includes only three out of five of the letters of Zebulun); the second a “superior” Yahwistic etymology “Now my husband will honor me because I have borne him six sons” (which includes four out of five of the letters of the name). J, among other things, wished to improve the “inferior” Elohistic etymologies. this time my husband will prize me – for I have borne him six sons!”[51]See the above comment. Note also the addition of the Yahwistic numbering (six sons) added when J added 5 additional sons to this account. So she called his name: ‘Zevulun/Prince.’[52]See penultimate comment.

כא וְאַחַ֖ר יָ֣לְדָה בַּ֑ת וַתִּקְרָ֥א אֶת־שְׁמָ֖הּ דִּינָֽה׃  וַיִּזְכֹּ֥ר אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶת־רָחֵ֑ל וַיִּשְׁמַ֤ע אֵלֶ֙יהָ֙ אֱלֹהִ֔ים וַיִּפְתַּ֖ח אֶת־רַחְמָֽהּ׃ כג וַתַּ֖הַר וַתֵּ֣לֶד בֵּ֑ן וַתֹּ֕אמֶר אָסַ֥ף אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶת־חֶרְפָּתִֽי׃ כד וַתִּקְרָ֧א אֶת־שְׁמ֛וֹ יוֹסֵ֖ף לֵאמֹ֑ר יֹסֵ֧ף יְהֹוָ֛ה לִ֖י בֵּ֥ן אַחֵֽר׃
21 Afterward she bore a daughter, and called her name ‘Dina.’[53]Dinah does not feature in the E narrative. She appears only in the Yahwistic Chapter 34. 22 But Elohim kept Raḥel in mind, Elohim hearkened to her and opened her womb, 23 so that she became pregnant and bore a son. She said: “Elohim has removed/asaf my reproach!” 24 So she called his name: ‘Yosef,’[54]Rachel is now tied with her sister 3 sons to 3 sons. She will win the procreative contest when she gives birth to Benjamin in Genesis 35. Note J’s improvement of E’s name etymology (the Yahwistic etymology has all the letters of Joseph’s name, whereas the Elohistic etymology has only 2 out of 4), and see above comment on Zevulun in 30:20. saying: “May YHVH add/yosef another son to me!”

כה וַיְהִ֕י כַּאֲשֶׁ֛ר יָלְדָ֥ה רָחֵ֖ל אֶת־יוֹסֵ֑ף וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יַעֲקֹב֙ אֶל־לָבָ֔ן שַׁלְּחֵ֙נִי֙ וְאֵ֣לְכָ֔ה אֶל־מְקוֹמִ֖י וּלְאַרְצִֽי׃ כו תְּנָ֞ה אֶת־נָשַׁ֣י וְאֶת־יְלָדַ֗י אֲשֶׁ֨ר עָבַ֧דְתִּי אֹֽתְךָ֛ בָּהֵ֖ן וְאֵלֵ֑כָה כִּ֚י אַתָּ֣ה יָדַ֔עְתָּ אֶת־עֲבֹדָתִ֖י אֲשֶׁ֥ר עֲבַדְתִּֽיךָ׃
25 Now it was, once Raḥel had borne Yosef, that Yaaqov said to Lavan: “Send me free, that I may go back to my place, to my land, 26 give over my wives and my children, for whom I have served you, and I will go. Indeed, you yourself know my service that I have served you!”

כז וַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֵלָיו֙ לָבָ֔ן אִם־נָ֛א מָצָ֥אתִי חֵ֖ן בְּעֵינֶ֑יךָ נִחַ֕שְׁתִּי וַיְבָרְכֵ֥נִי יְהֹוָ֖ה בִּגְלָלֶֽךָ׃ חמישי כח וַיֹּאמַ֑ר נׇקְבָ֧ה שְׂכָרְךָ֛ עָלַ֖י וְאֶתֵּֽנָה׃
27 Lavan said to him: “Pray, if I have found favor in your eyes . . . I have become wealthy, and YHVH has blessed me on account of you.” 28 And he said: “Specify the wages due you from me, and I will give you payment.”

כט וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֵלָ֔יו אַתָּ֣ה יָדַ֔עְתָּ אֵ֖ת אֲשֶׁ֣ר עֲבַדְתִּ֑יךָ וְאֵ֛ת אֲשֶׁר־הָיָ֥ה מִקְנְךָ֖ אִתִּֽי׃ ל כִּ֡י מְעַט֩ אֲשֶׁר־הָיָ֨ה לְךָ֤ לְפָנַי֙ וַיִּפְרֹ֣ץ לָרֹ֔ב וַיְבָ֧רֶךְ יְהֹוָ֛ה אֹתְךָ֖ לְרַגְלִ֑י וְעַתָּ֗ה מָתַ֛י אֶֽעֱשֶׂ֥ה גַם־אָנֹכִ֖י לְבֵיתִֽי׃
29 He said to him: “You yourself know how I have served you, and how it has gone with your livestock in my charge. 30 For you had but few before me, and they have since burst out into a multitude. Thus has YHVH blessed you at my every step! But now, when may I too do something for my household?”

לא וַיֹּ֖אמֶר מָ֣ה אֶתֶּן־לָ֑ךְ וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יַעֲקֹב֙ לֹא־תִתֶּן־לִ֣י מְא֔וּמָה אִם־תַּֽעֲשֶׂה־לִּי֙ הַדָּבָ֣ר הַזֶּ֔ה אָשׁ֛וּבָה אֶרְעֶ֥ה צֹֽאנְךָ֖ אֶשְׁמֹֽר׃ לב אֶֽעֱבֹ֨ר בְּכׇל־צֹֽאנְךָ֜ הַיּ֗וֹם הָסֵ֨ר מִשָּׁ֜ם כׇּל־שֶׂ֣ה ׀ נָקֹ֣ד וְטָל֗וּא וְכׇל־שֶׂה־חוּם֙ בַּכְּשָׂבִ֔ים וְטָל֥וּא וְנָקֹ֖ד בָּעִזִּ֑ים וְהָיָ֖ה שְׂכָרִֽי׃ לג וְעָֽנְתָה־בִּ֤י צִדְקָתִי֙ בְּי֣וֹם מָחָ֔ר כִּֽי־תָב֥וֹא עַל־שְׂכָרִ֖י לְפָנֶ֑יךָ כֹּ֣ל אֲשֶׁר־אֵינֶ֩נּוּ֩ נָקֹ֨ד וְטָל֜וּא בָּֽעִזִּ֗ים וְחוּם֙ בַּכְּשָׂבִ֔ים גָּנ֥וּב ה֖וּא אִתִּֽי׃ לד וַיֹּ֥אמֶר לָבָ֖ן הֵ֑ן ל֖וּ יְהִ֥י כִדְבָרֶֽךָ׃ לה וַיָּ֣סַר בַּיּוֹם֩ הַה֨וּא אֶת־הַתְּיָשִׁ֜ים הָֽעֲקֻדִּ֣ים וְהַטְּלֻאִ֗ים וְאֵ֤ת כׇּל־הָֽעִזִּים֙ הַנְּקֻדּ֣וֹת וְהַטְּלֻאֹ֔ת כֹּ֤ל אֲשֶׁר־לָבָן֙ בּ֔וֹ וְכׇל־ח֖וּם בַּכְּשָׂבִ֑ים וַיִּתֵּ֖ן בְּיַד־בָּנָֽיו׃ לו וַיָּ֗שֶׂם דֶּ֚רֶךְ שְׁלֹ֣שֶׁת יָמִ֔ים בֵּינ֖וֹ וּבֵ֣ין יַעֲקֹ֑ב
31 He said: “What shall I give you?” Yaaqov said: “You are not to give me anything – only do this thing for me, then I will return, I will tend your flock, I will keep watch: 32 Let me go over your whole flock today removing from there every speckled and dappled head; and every dark head among the lambs, and each dappled and speckled-one among the goats – they shall be my wages. 33 And may my honesty plead for me on a future day: when you come-to-check my wages (that are) before you, whatever is not speckled or dappled among the goats, or dark among the lambs, it will be as though stolen by me.” 34 Lavan said: “Good, let it be according to your words.” 35 And on that (very) day he removed the streaked and dappled he-goats and every speckled and dappled she-goat, every one that had any white on it, and every dark-one among the lambs, and handed them over to his sons. 36 Then he put a three-days’ journey between himself and Yaaqov.

וְיַעֲקֹ֗ב רֹעֶ֛ה אֶת־צֹ֥אן לָבָ֖ן הַנּוֹתָרֹֽת׃ לז וַיִּֽקַּֽח־ל֣וֹ יַעֲקֹ֗ב מַקַּ֥ל לִבְנֶ֛ה לַ֖ח וְל֣וּז וְעַרְמ֑וֹן וַיְפַצֵּ֤ל בָּהֵן֙ פְּצָל֣וֹת לְבָנ֔וֹת מַחְשֹׂף֙ הַלָּבָ֔ן אֲשֶׁ֖ר עַל־הַמַּקְלֽוֹת׃ לח וַיַּצֵּ֗ג אֶת־הַמַּקְלוֹת֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר פִּצֵּ֔ל בָּרְהָטִ֖ים בְּשִֽׁקְת֣וֹת הַמָּ֑יִם אֲשֶׁר֩ תָּבֹ֨אןָ הַצֹּ֤אן לִשְׁתּוֹת֙ לְנֹ֣כַח הַצֹּ֔אן וַיֵּחַ֖מְנָה בְּבֹאָ֥ן לִשְׁתּֽוֹת׃ לט וַיֶּחֱמ֥וּ הַצֹּ֖אן אֶל־הַמַּקְל֑וֹת וַתֵּלַ֣דְןָ הַצֹּ֔אן עֲקֻדִּ֥ים נְקֻדִּ֖ים וּטְלֻאִֽים׃ מ וְהַכְּשָׂבִים֮ הִפְרִ֣יד יַעֲקֹב֒ וַ֠יִּתֵּ֠ן פְּנֵ֨י הַצֹּ֧אן אֶל־עָקֹ֛ד וְכׇל־ח֖וּם בְּצֹ֣אן לָבָ֑ן וַיָּֽשֶׁת־ל֤וֹ עֲדָרִים֙ לְבַדּ֔וֹ וְלֹ֥א שָׁתָ֖ם עַל־צֹ֥אן לָבָֽן׃ מא וְהָיָ֗ה בְּכׇל־יַחֵם֮ הַצֹּ֣אן הַמְקֻשָּׁרוֹת֒ וְשָׂ֨ם יַעֲקֹ֧ב אֶת־הַמַּקְל֛וֹת לְעֵינֵ֥י הַצֹּ֖אן בָּרְהָטִ֑ים לְיַחְמֵ֖נָּה בַּמַּקְלֽוֹת׃ מב וּבְהַעֲטִ֥יף הַצֹּ֖אן לֹ֣א יָשִׂ֑ים וְהָיָ֤ה הָעֲטֻפִים֙ לְלָבָ֔ן וְהַקְּשֻׁרִ֖ים לְיַעֲקֹֽב׃ מג וַיִּפְרֹ֥ץ הָאִ֖ישׁ מְאֹ֣ד מְאֹ֑ד וַֽיְהִי־לוֹ֙ צֹ֣אן רַבּ֔וֹת וּשְׁפָחוֹת֙ וַעֲבָדִ֔ים וּגְמַלִּ֖ים וַחֲמֹרִֽים׃
Now Yaaqov was tending Lavan’s remaining flock. 37 Yaaqov took himself rods from moist poplar, almond, and plane trees and peeled white peelings in them, exposing the white that was on the rods, 38 then he presented the rods that he had peeled in the gutters, in the water troughs where the flock would come to drink, in front of the flock. Now they would be in heat as they came to drink; 39 thus the flock came to be in heat by the rods, and the flock bore streaked, speckled, and dappled (young). 40 But the sheep, Yaaqov set apart, and gave position among the flock to each streaked-one and every dark-one among Lavan’s flocks; thus he made special herds for himself, but did not make them for Lavan’s flock. 41 So it was that whenever the robust flock-animals were in heat, Yaaqov would put the rods in sight of the flock-animals, in the gutters, to make them be in heat next to the rods. 42 But when the flock-animals were feeble, he would not put them there. And so it was that the feeble-ones became Lavan’s, and the robust-ones, Yaaqov’s. 43 The man burst-forth-with-wealth exceedingly, yes, exceedingly, he came to have many flock-animals and maids and servants, and camels and donkeys.[55]Jacob cheats Laban using animal husbandry just as Laban cheated him. Once again J portrays Jacob in a negative manner, in contrast with E’s very positive portrayal.

לא א וַיִּשְׁמַ֗ע אֶת־דִּבְרֵ֤י בְנֵֽי־לָבָן֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר לָקַ֣ח יַעֲקֹ֔ב אֵ֖ת כׇּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר לְאָבִ֑ינוּ וּמֵאֲשֶׁ֣ר לְאָבִ֔ינוּ עָשָׂ֕ה אֵ֥ת כׇּל־הַכָּבֹ֖ד הַזֶּֽה׃ ב וַיַּ֥רְא יַעֲקֹ֖ב אֶת־פְּנֵ֣י לָבָ֑ן וְהִנֵּ֥ה אֵינֶ֛נּוּ עִמּ֖וֹ כִּתְמ֥וֹל שִׁלְשֽׁוֹם׃ כט ג וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהֹוָה֙ אֶֽל־יַעֲקֹ֔ב שׁ֛וּב אֶל־אֶ֥רֶץ אֲבוֹתֶ֖יךָ וּלְמוֹלַדְתֶּ֑ךָ וְאֶֽהְיֶ֖ה עִמָּֽךְ׃
31 1 Now he heard the words of Lavan’s sons, (that they) said: “Yaaqov has taken away all that was our father’s, and from what was our father’s he has made all this weighty-wealth!” 2 And Yaaqov saw by Lavan’s face: here, he was no longer with him as yesterday and the day-before. 3 And YHVH said to Yaaqov: “Return to the land of your fathers, to your kindred! I will be with you!”[56]The first 2 verses of the chapter allude to Jacob’s enrichment at Laban’s expense at the end of Chapter 30 (J). The third verse (“Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your ancestors and to your kindred, and I will be with you”) anticipates the revelation of vss. 10-12 (E), adding it before its proper place in the narrative account.

ד וַיִּשְׁלַ֣ח יַעֲקֹ֔ב וַיִּקְרָ֖א לְרָחֵ֣ל וּלְלֵאָ֑ה הַשָּׂדֶ֖ה אֶל־צֹאנֽוֹ׃ ה וַיֹּ֣אמֶר לָהֶ֗ן רֹאֶ֤ה אָנֹכִי֙ אֶת־פְּנֵ֣י אֲבִיכֶ֔ן כִּֽי־אֵינֶ֥נּוּ אֵלַ֖י כִּתְמֹ֣ל שִׁלְשֹׁ֑ם וֵֽאלֹהֵ֣י אָבִ֔י הָיָ֖ה עִמָּדִֽי׃ ו וְאַתֵּ֖נָה יְדַעְתֶּ֑ן כִּ֚י בְּכׇל־כֹּחִ֔י עָבַ֖דְתִּי אֶת־אֲבִיכֶֽן׃ ז וַאֲבִיכֶן֙ הֵ֣תֶל בִּ֔י וְהֶחֱלִ֥ף אֶת־מַשְׂכֻּרְתִּ֖י עֲשֶׂ֣רֶת מֹנִ֑ים וְלֹֽא־נְתָנ֣וֹ אֱלֹהִ֔ים לְהָרַ֖ע עִמָּדִֽי׃ ח אִם־כֹּ֣ה יֹאמַ֗ר נְקֻדִּים֙ יִהְיֶ֣ה שְׂכָרֶ֔ךָ וְיָלְד֥וּ כׇל־הַצֹּ֖אן נְקֻדִּ֑ים וְאִם־כֹּ֣ה יֹאמַ֗ר עֲקֻדִּים֙ יִהְיֶ֣ה שְׂכָרֶ֔ךָ וְיָלְד֥וּ כׇל־הַצֹּ֖אן עֲקֻדִּֽים׃ ט וַיַּצֵּ֧ל אֱלֹהִ֛ים אֶת־מִקְנֵ֥ה אֲבִיכֶ֖ם וַיִּתֶּן־לִֽי׃ י וַיְהִ֗י בְּעֵת֙ יַחֵ֣ם הַצֹּ֔אן וָאֶשָּׂ֥א עֵינַ֛י וָאֵ֖רֶא בַּחֲל֑וֹם וְהִנֵּ֤ה הָֽעַתֻּדִים֙ הָעֹלִ֣ים עַל־הַצֹּ֔אן עֲקֻדִּ֥ים נְקֻדִּ֖ים וּבְרֻדִּֽים׃ יא וַיֹּ֨אמֶר אֵלַ֜י מַלְאַ֧ךְ הָאֱלֹהִ֛ים בַּחֲל֖וֹם יַֽעֲקֹ֑ב וָאֹמַ֖ר הִנֵּֽנִי׃ יב וַיֹּ֗אמֶר שָׂא־נָ֨א עֵינֶ֤יךָ וּרְאֵה֙ כׇּל־הָֽעַתֻּדִים֙ הָעֹלִ֣ים עַל־הַצֹּ֔אן עֲקֻדִּ֥ים נְקֻדִּ֖ים וּבְרֻדִּ֑ים כִּ֣י רָאִ֔יתִי אֵ֛ת כׇּל־אֲשֶׁ֥ר לָבָ֖ן עֹ֥שֶׂה לָּֽךְ׃ יג אָנֹכִ֤י הָאֵל֙ בֵּֽית־אֵ֔ל אֲשֶׁ֨ר מָשַׁ֤חְתָּ שָּׁם֙ מַצֵּבָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר נָדַ֥רְתָּ לִּ֛י שָׁ֖ם נֶ֑דֶר עַתָּ֗ה ק֥וּם צֵא֙ מִן־הָאָ֣רֶץ הַזֹּ֔את וְשׁ֖וּב אֶל־אֶ֥רֶץ מוֹלַדְתֶּֽךָ׃
4 So Yaaqov sent and had Raḥel and Leah called to the field, to his flock, 5 and said to them: “I see by your father’s face: indeed, he is no longer toward me as yesterday and the day-before.[57]In the Elohistic narrative sequence this episode occurs right after the birth of Joseph. But the elo’ah of my father has been with me![58]Jacob’s father is unknown to E, it is thus likely that this is a J addition. Just as with vs. 3, this statement anticipates the revelation of vss. 10-12 (E) before its proper place in the narrative account. 6 You yourselves know that I have served your father with all my might, 7 but your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times over, yet Elohim has not allowed him to do me ill. 8 If he said thus: ‘The speckled-ones shall be your wages, all the animals would bear speckled-ones,’ and if he said thus: ‘The streaked-ones shall be your wages, all the animals would bear streaked-ones.’ 9 So Elohim has snatched away your father’s livestock and given them to me. 10 Now it was at the time of the animals’ being in heat that I lifted up my eyes and saw in a dream: here, the he-goats that mount the animals – streaked, speckled, and spotted![59]According to E Jacob gained all of Laban’s flock through divine intervention. J interprets this as Jacob “helping himself” to Laban’s flock with the Lord’s blessing, and see above 30:25-43. 11 And Elohim’s messenger[60]It is likely that a later glossator (perhaps J) softened this revelation by adding the word “angel” before “God”, since in vs. 13 this angel claims to be God. This is a fairly common occurrence and compare the Septuagint’s (the ancient Greek translation) additions of “angel” throughout Judges 6. said to me in the dream: ‘Yaaqov!’ I said: ‘Here I am.’ 12 He said: ‘Pray lift up your eyes and see: All the he-goats that mount the animals – streaked, speckled, and spotted! For I have seen all that Lavan is doing to you. 13 I am the El of Bet-el, where you anointed the pillar, where you vowed a vow to me. So now, arise, get out of this land, return to the land of your kindred!'”

יד וַתַּ֤עַן רָחֵל֙ וְלֵאָ֔ה וַתֹּאמַ֖רְנָה ל֑וֹ הַע֥וֹד לָ֛נוּ חֵ֥לֶק וְנַחֲלָ֖ה בְּבֵ֥ית אָבִֽינוּ׃ טו הֲל֧וֹא נׇכְרִיּ֛וֹת נֶחְשַׁ֥בְנוּ ל֖וֹ כִּ֣י מְכָרָ֑נוּ וַיֹּ֥אכַל גַּם־אָכ֖וֹל אֶת־כַּסְפֵּֽנוּ׃ טז כִּ֣י כׇל־הָעֹ֗שֶׁר אֲשֶׁ֨ר הִצִּ֤יל אֱלֹהִים֙ מֵֽאָבִ֔ינוּ לָ֥נוּ ה֖וּא וּלְבָנֵ֑ינוּ וְעַתָּ֗ה כֹּל֩ אֲשֶׁ֨ר אָמַ֧ר אֱלֹהִ֛ים אֵלֶ֖יךָ עֲשֵֽׂה׃
14 Raḥel and Leah answered him, they said to him: “Do we still have a share, an inheritance in our father’s house? 15 Is it not as strangers that we are thought of by him? For he has sold us and eaten up, yes, eaten up our purchase-price! 16 Indeed, all the riches that Elohim has snatched away from our father – they belong to us and to our children. So now, whatever Elohim has said to you, do!”

ששי יז וַיָּ֖קׇם יַעֲקֹ֑ב וַיִּשָּׂ֛א אֶת־בָּנָ֥יו וְאֶת־נָשָׁ֖יו עַל־הַגְּמַלִּֽים׃ יח וַיִּנְהַ֣ג אֶת־כׇּל־מִקְנֵ֗הוּ וְאֶת־כׇּל־רְכֻשׁוֹ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר רָכָ֔שׁ מִקְנֵה֙ קִנְיָנ֔וֹ אֲשֶׁ֥ר רָכַ֖שׁ בְּפַדַּ֣ן אֲרָ֑ם לָב֛וֹא אֶל־יִצְחָ֥ק אָבִ֖יו אַ֥רְצָה כְּנָֽעַן׃ יט וְלָבָ֣ן הָלַ֔ךְ לִגְזֹ֖ז אֶת־צֹאנ֑וֹ וַתִּגְנֹ֣ב רָחֵ֔ל אֶת־הַתְּרָפִ֖ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר לְאָבִֽיהָ׃ כ וַיִּגְנֹ֣ב יַעֲקֹ֔ב אֶת־לֵ֥ב לָבָ֖ן הָאֲרַמִּ֑י עַל־בְּלִי֙ הִגִּ֣יד ל֔וֹ כִּ֥י בֹרֵ֖חַ הֽוּא׃ כא וַיִּבְרַ֥ח הוּא֙ וְכׇל־אֲשֶׁר־ל֔וֹ וַיָּ֖קׇם וַיַּעֲבֹ֣ר אֶת־הַנָּהָ֑ר וַיָּ֥שֶׂם אֶת־פָּנָ֖יו הַ֥ר הַגִּלְעָֽד׃
17 So Yaaqov arose, he lifted his children and his wives onto the camels[61]Jacob’s ultimate destination is the land of his birth which remains unspecified in E. In vs. 17 P specifies Jacob’s destination more clearly. This same “travelogue” information in very similar language is found in P’s additions to Genesis 12 (vs. 4-5) and in Genesis 36. 18 and led away all his livestock, all his property that he had gained, the acquired-livestock of his own acquiring which he had gained in the country of Aram, to come home to Yitsḥaq his father in the land of K’naan.[62]Padan Aram is specified in this verse as Jacob’s residence of the last 20 years. In J it is Haran or Aram Naharayim, and in E it is the land of the people of the east. 19 Now Lavan had gone to shear his flock; Raḥel, meanwhile, stole the terafim that belonged to her father. 20 Now Yaaqov stole the wits of Lavan the Arami, by not telling him that he was about to flee. 21 And flee he did, he and all that was his; he arose and crossed the River, setting his face toward the hill-country of Gil’ad.

כב וַיֻּגַּ֥ד לְלָבָ֖ן בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֑י כִּ֥י בָרַ֖ח יַעֲקֹֽב׃ כג וַיִּקַּ֤ח אֶת־אֶחָיו֙ עִמּ֔וֹ וַיִּרְדֹּ֣ף אַחֲרָ֔יו דֶּ֖רֶךְ שִׁבְעַ֣ת יָמִ֑ים וַיַּדְבֵּ֥ק אֹת֖וֹ בְּהַ֥ר הַגִּלְעָֽד׃ כד וַיָּבֹ֧א אֱלֹהִ֛ים אֶל־לָבָ֥ן הָאֲרַמִּ֖י בַּחֲלֹ֣ם הַלָּ֑יְלָה וַיֹּ֣אמֶר ל֗וֹ הִשָּׁ֧מֶר לְךָ֛ פֶּן־תְּדַבֵּ֥ר עִֽם־יַעֲקֹ֖ב מִטּ֥וֹב עַד־רָֽע׃
22 Lavan was told on the third day that Yaaqov had fled; 23 he took his tribal-brothers with him and pursued him, a seven-days’ journey, and caught up with him in the hill-country of Gil’ad. 24 But Elohim came to Lavan the Aramean in a dream of the night and said to him: “Be on your watch lest you speak to Yaaqov, be it good or ill!”

כה וַיַּשֵּׂ֥ג לָבָ֖ן אֶֽת־יַעֲקֹ֑ב וְיַעֲקֹ֗ב תָּקַ֤ע אֶֽת־אׇהֳלוֹ֙ בָּהָ֔ר וְלָבָ֛ן תָּקַ֥ע אֶת־אֶחָ֖יו בְּהַ֥ר הַגִּלְעָֽד׃ כו וַיֹּ֤אמֶר לָבָן֙ לְיַעֲקֹ֔ב מֶ֣ה עָשִׂ֔יתָ וַתִּגְנֹ֖ב אֶת־לְבָבִ֑י וַתְּנַהֵג֙ אֶת־בְּנֹתַ֔י כִּשְׁבֻי֖וֹת חָֽרֶב׃ כז לָ֤מָּה נַחְבֵּ֙אתָ֙ לִבְרֹ֔חַ וַתִּגְנֹ֖ב אֹתִ֑י וְלֹא־הִגַּ֣דְתָּ לִּ֔י וָֽאֲשַׁלֵּחֲךָ֛ בְּשִׂמְחָ֥ה וּבְשִׁרִ֖ים בְּתֹ֥ף וּבְכִנּֽוֹר׃ כח וְלֹ֣א נְטַשְׁתַּ֔נִי לְנַשֵּׁ֥ק לְבָנַ֖י וְלִבְנֹתָ֑י עַתָּ֖ה הִסְכַּ֥לְתָּֽ עֲשֽׂוֹ׃ כט יֶשׁ־לְאֵ֣ל יָדִ֔י לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת עִמָּכֶ֖ם רָ֑ע וֵֽאלֹהֵ֨י אֲבִיכֶ֜ם אֶ֣מֶשׁ ׀ אָמַ֧ר אֵלַ֣י לֵאמֹ֗ר הִשָּׁ֧מֶר לְךָ֛ מִדַּבֵּ֥ר עִֽם־יַעֲקֹ֖ב מִטּ֥וֹב עַד־רָֽע׃ ל וְעַתָּה֙ הָלֹ֣ךְ הָלַ֔כְתָּ כִּֽי־נִכְסֹ֥ף נִכְסַ֖פְתָּה לְבֵ֣ית אָבִ֑יךָ לָ֥מָּה גָנַ֖בְתָּ אֶת־אֱלֹהָֽי׃
25 When Lavan caught up with Yaaqov, – Yaaqov had pegged his tent in the mountains, and Lavan along with his brothers had pegged (his tent) in the hill-country of Gil’ad – 26 Lavan said to Yaaqov: “What did you mean to do by stealing my wits and leading my daughters away like captives of the sword? 27 Why did you secretly flee and steal away on me, without even telling me, – for I would have sent you off with joy and with song, with drum and with lyre – 28 and you did not even allow me to kiss my grandchildren and my daughters? You have done foolishly now![63]God appears to Laban in a dream as is customary in E (compare vss. 10-13 of this chapter). Laban claims that what Jacob did was stupid. It is, however, arguable whether Jacob’s act was rash. The relationship between Laban and Jacob had soured and leaving was a natural act. The only rash act recorded in the text is the theft of Laban’s idols by Rachel referred to in vs. 29. The intervening section mentions the God of Jacob’s father and the house of Jacob’s father; as mentioned above though Jacob’s father is not a character in the Elohistic version of events. It is thus likely vss 28-29a were added by a later author, most likely J. 29 It lies in my hand’s power to do (all of) you ill! But yesterday night the elo’ah of your father said to me, saying: ‘Be on your watch from speaking to Yaaqov, be it good or ill!’ 30 Well now, you had to go, yes, go, since you longed, longed for your father’s house – [64]See the previous comment. Why did you steal my elo’ah?”

לא וַיַּ֥עַן יַעֲקֹ֖ב וַיֹּ֣אמֶר לְלָבָ֑ן כִּ֣י יָרֵ֔אתִי כִּ֣י אָמַ֔רְתִּי פֶּן־תִּגְזֹ֥ל אֶת־בְּנוֹתֶ֖יךָ מֵעִמִּֽי׃ לב עִ֠ם אֲשֶׁ֨ר תִּמְצָ֣א אֶת־אֱלֹהֶ֘יךָ֮ לֹ֣א יִֽחְיֶה֒ נֶ֣גֶד אַחֵ֧ינוּ הַֽכֶּר־לְךָ֛ מָ֥ה עִמָּדִ֖י וְקַֽח־לָ֑ךְ וְלֹֽא־יָדַ֣ע יַעֲקֹ֔ב כִּ֥י רָחֵ֖ל גְּנָבָֽתַם׃ לג וַיָּבֹ֨א לָבָ֜ן בְּאֹ֥הֶל יַעֲקֹ֣ב ׀ וּבְאֹ֣הֶל לֵאָ֗ה וּבְאֹ֛הֶל שְׁתֵּ֥י הָאֲמָהֹ֖ת וְלֹ֣א מָצָ֑א וַיֵּצֵא֙ מֵאֹ֣הֶל לֵאָ֔ה וַיָּבֹ֖א בְּאֹ֥הֶל רָחֵֽל׃ לד וְרָחֵ֞ל לָקְחָ֣ה אֶת־הַתְּרָפִ֗ים וַתְּשִׂמֵ֛ם בְּכַ֥ר הַגָּמָ֖ל וַתֵּ֣שֶׁב עֲלֵיהֶ֑ם וַיְמַשֵּׁ֥שׁ לָבָ֛ן אֶת־כׇּל־הָאֹ֖הֶל וְלֹ֥א מָצָֽא׃ לה וַתֹּ֣אמֶר אֶל־אָבִ֗יהָ אַל־יִ֙חַר֙ בְּעֵינֵ֣י אֲדֹנִ֔י כִּ֣י ל֤וֹא אוּכַל֙ לָק֣וּם מִפָּנֶ֔יךָ כִּי־דֶ֥רֶךְ נָשִׁ֖ים לִ֑י וַיְחַפֵּ֕שׂ וְלֹ֥א מָצָ֖א אֶת־הַתְּרָפִֽים׃
31 Yaaqov answered and said to Lavan: “Indeed, I was afraid, for I said to myself: ‘Perhaps you will even rob me of your daughters!’ 32 With whomever you find your elo’ah – he shall not live; here in front of our brothers, (see if) you recognize anything of yours with me, and take it!” Yaaqov did not know that Raḥel had stolen them. 33 Lavan came into Yaaqov’s tent and into Leah’s tent and into the tents of the two maids, but he did not find anything. Then he went out of Leah’s tent and came into Raḥel’s tent. 34 Now Raḥel had taken the terafim and had put them in the basket-saddle of the camels, and had sat down upon them. Lavan felt all around the tent, but he did not find anything. 35 She said to her father: “Do not let upset be in my lord’s eyes that I am not able to rise in your presence, for the manner of women is upon me.” So he searched, but he did not find the terafim.

לו וַיִּ֥חַר לְיַעֲקֹ֖ב וַיָּ֣רֶב בְּלָבָ֑ן וַיַּ֤עַן יַעֲקֹב֙ וַיֹּ֣אמֶר לְלָבָ֔ן מַה־פִּשְׁעִי֙ מַ֣ה חַטָּאתִ֔י כִּ֥י דָלַ֖קְתָּ אַחֲרָֽי׃ לז כִּֽי־מִשַּׁ֣שְׁתָּ אֶת־כׇּל־כֵּלַ֗י מַה־מָּצָ֙אתָ֙ מִכֹּ֣ל כְּלֵי־בֵיתֶ֔ךָ שִׂ֣ים כֹּ֔ה נֶ֥גֶד אַחַ֖י וְאַחֶ֑יךָ וְיוֹכִ֖יחוּ בֵּ֥ין שְׁנֵֽינוּ׃ לח זֶה֩ עֶשְׂרִ֨ים שָׁנָ֤ה אָנֹכִי֙ עִמָּ֔ךְ רְחֵלֶ֥יךָ וְעִזֶּ֖יךָ לֹ֣א שִׁכֵּ֑לוּ וְאֵילֵ֥י צֹאנְךָ֖ לֹ֥א אָכָֽלְתִּי׃ לט טְרֵפָה֙ לֹא־הֵבֵ֣אתִי אֵלֶ֔יךָ אָנֹכִ֣י אֲחַטֶּ֔נָּה מִיָּדִ֖י תְּבַקְשֶׁ֑נָּה גְּנֻֽבְתִ֣י י֔וֹם וּגְנֻֽבְתִ֖י לָֽיְלָה׃ מ הָיִ֧יתִי בַיּ֛וֹם אֲכָלַ֥נִי חֹ֖רֶב וְקֶ֣רַח בַּלָּ֑יְלָה וַתִּדַּ֥ד שְׁנָתִ֖י מֵֽעֵינָֽי׃ מא זֶה־לִּ֞י עֶשְׂרִ֣ים שָׁנָה֮ בְּבֵיתֶ֒ךָ֒ עֲבַדְתִּ֜יךָ אַרְבַּֽע־עֶשְׂרֵ֤ה שָׁנָה֙ בִּשְׁתֵּ֣י בְנֹתֶ֔יךָ וְשֵׁ֥שׁ שָׁנִ֖ים בְּצֹאנֶ֑ךָ וַתַּחֲלֵ֥ף אֶת־מַשְׂכֻּרְתִּ֖י עֲשֶׂ֥רֶת מֹנִֽים׃ מב לוּלֵ֡י אֱלֹהֵ֣י אָבִי֩ אֱלֹהֵ֨י אַבְרָהָ֜ם וּפַ֤חַד יִצְחָק֙ הָ֣יָה לִ֔י כִּ֥י עַתָּ֖ה רֵיקָ֣ם שִׁלַּחְתָּ֑נִי אֶת־עׇנְיִ֞י וְאֶת־יְגִ֧יעַ כַּפַּ֛י רָאָ֥ה אֱלֹהִ֖ים וַיּ֥וֹכַח אָֽמֶשׁ׃
36 Now Yaaqov became upset and took up quarrel with Lavan, Yaaqov spoke up, saying to Lavan: “What is my offense, what is my sin, that you have dashed hotly after me, 37 that you have felt all through my wares? What have you found from all your household-wares? Set it here in front of your brothers and my brothers, that they may decide between us two! 38 It is twenty years now that I have been under you: your ewes and your she-goats have never miscarried, the rams from your flock I never have eaten, 39 none torn-by-beasts/treifah have I ever brought you – I would make good the loss, at my hand you would seek it, stolen by day or stolen by night. 40 (Thus) I was: by day, parching-heat consumed me, and cold by night, and my sleep eluded my eyes. 41 It is twenty years for me now in your house:[65]The description of Jacob’s years with Laban is one of hardship which does not accord with the vast wealth Jacob accrued according to J at the end of Chapter 30. I have served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your animals, yet you have changed my wages ten times over. 42 Had not the elo’ah of my father, the elo’ah of Avraham and the Terror of Yitsḥaq, been-there for me, indeed, you would have sent me off now, empty-handed! But[66]Vss. 41-42 once again mentions Jacob’s father who does not feature in the E text. The breakdown of the years Jacob was with Laban (specified in vs. 38 as 20) may have also been added by J who is more detailed oriented than E. Elohim has seen my being afflicted and the toil of my hands,[67]The rebuke according to E was Jacob’s ultimate enrichment, according to J it was God’s warning to Laban – Laban, however, does not mention this warning to Jacob according to E (at least not in my division). and yesterday night he decided.”[68]See the previous comment.

שביעי מג וַיַּ֨עַן לָבָ֜ן וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֶֽל־יַעֲקֹ֗ב הַבָּנ֨וֹת בְּנֹתַ֜י וְהַבָּנִ֤ים בָּנַי֙ וְהַצֹּ֣אן צֹאנִ֔י וְכֹ֛ל אֲשֶׁר־אַתָּ֥ה רֹאֶ֖ה לִי־ה֑וּא וְלִבְנֹתַ֞י מָֽה־אֶעֱשֶׂ֤ה לָאֵ֙לֶּה֙ הַיּ֔וֹם א֥וֹ לִבְנֵיהֶ֖ן אֲשֶׁ֥ר יָלָֽדוּ׃ מד וְעַתָּ֗ה לְכָ֛ה נִכְרְתָ֥ה בְרִ֖ית אֲנִ֣י וָאָ֑תָּה וְהָיָ֥ה לְעֵ֖ד בֵּינִ֥י וּבֵינֶֽךָ׃ מה וַיִּקַּ֥ח יַעֲקֹ֖ב אָ֑בֶן וַיְרִימֶ֖הָ מַצֵּבָֽה׃ מו וַיֹּ֨אמֶר יַעֲקֹ֤ב לְאֶחָיו֙ לִקְט֣וּ אֲבָנִ֔ים וַיִּקְח֥וּ אֲבָנִ֖ים וַיַּֽעֲשׂוּ־גָ֑ל וַיֹּ֥אכְלוּ שָׁ֖ם עַל־הַגָּֽל׃ מז וַיִּקְרָא־ל֣וֹ לָבָ֔ן יְגַ֖ר שָׂהֲדוּתָ֑א וְיַֽעֲקֹ֔ב קָ֥רָא ל֖וֹ גַּלְעֵֽד׃
43 Lavan gave answer, he said to Yaaqov: “The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, the animals are my animals – all that you see, it is mine! But to my daughters – what can I do to them today, or to their children whom they have borne? 44 So now, come, let us cut a covenant, I and you, and let (something here) serve as a witness between me and you.” 45 Yaaqov took a stone and erected it as a standing-pillar.[69]Jacob sets up a pillar as a sign of how the covenant between Laban and himself is binding. J, however, never mentions ritual pillars in his writing, perhaps because they were forbidden cultic objects according to the other Judean source written roughly at the same period, namely D (see Deuteronomy 16:22). J instead has the Patriarchs erecting altars which are not sacrificed upon (e.g. 12:7; 13:4), which fulfill the same commemorative function as E’s pillars. This aversion to pillars is likely the reason J added the non-polemical word “heap” in vss. 47-48 and by each mention of the pillar in vs. 52. 46 And Yaaqov said to his brothers: “Collect stones!” They fetched stones and made a mound. And they ate there by the mound. 47 Now Lavan called it: ‘Yegar Sahaduta,’ while Yaaqov called it: ‘Gal-Eid.’

מח וַיֹּ֣אמֶר לָבָ֔ן הַגַּ֨ל הַזֶּ֥ה עֵ֛ד בֵּינִ֥י וּבֵינְךָ֖ הַיּ֑וֹם עַל־כֵּ֥ן קָרָֽא־שְׁמ֖וֹ גַּלְעֵֽד׃ מט וְהַמִּצְפָּה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אָמַ֔ר יִ֥צֶף יְהֹוָ֖ה בֵּינִ֣י וּבֵינֶ֑ךָ כִּ֥י נִסָּתֵ֖ר אִ֥ישׁ מֵרֵעֵֽהוּ׃ נ אִם־תְּעַנֶּ֣ה אֶת־בְּנֹתַ֗י וְאִם־תִּקַּ֤ח נָשִׁים֙ עַל־בְּנֹתַ֔י אֵ֥ין אִ֖ישׁ עִמָּ֑נוּ רְאֵ֕ה אֱלֹהִ֥ים עֵ֖ד בֵּינִ֥י וּבֵינֶֽךָ׃ נא וַיֹּ֥אמֶר לָבָ֖ן לְיַעֲקֹ֑ב הִנֵּ֣ה ׀ הַגַּ֣ל הַזֶּ֗ה וְהִנֵּה֙ הַמַּצֵּבָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר יָרִ֖יתִי בֵּינִ֥י וּבֵינֶֽךָ׃ נב עֵ֚ד הַגַּ֣ל הַזֶּ֔ה וְעֵדָ֖ה הַמַּצֵּבָ֑ה אִם־אָ֗נִי לֹֽא־אֶעֱבֹ֤ר אֵלֶ֙יךָ֙ אֶת־הַגַּ֣ל הַזֶּ֔ה וְאִם־אַ֠תָּ֠ה לֹא־תַעֲבֹ֨ר אֵלַ֜י אֶת־הַגַּ֥ל הַזֶּ֛ה וְאֶת־הַמַּצֵּבָ֥ה הַזֹּ֖את לְרָעָֽה׃ נג אֱלֹהֵ֨י אַבְרָהָ֜ם וֵֽאלֹהֵ֤י נָחוֹר֙ יִשְׁפְּט֣וּ בֵינֵ֔ינוּ אֱלֹהֵ֖י אֲבִיהֶ֑ם וַיִּשָּׁבַ֣ע יַעֲקֹ֔ב בְּפַ֖חַד אָבִ֥יו יִצְחָֽק׃ נד וַיִּזְבַּ֨ח יַעֲקֹ֥ב זֶ֙בַח֙ בָּהָ֔ר וַיִּקְרָ֥א לְאֶחָ֖יו לֶאֱכׇל־לָ֑חֶם וַיֹּ֣אכְלוּ לֶ֔חֶם וַיָּלִ֖ינוּ בָּהָֽר׃ מפטיר לב א וַיַּשְׁכֵּ֨ם לָבָ֜ן בַּבֹּ֗קֶר וַיְנַשֵּׁ֧ק לְבָנָ֛יו וְלִבְנוֹתָ֖יו וַיְבָ֣רֶךְ אֶתְהֶ֑ם וַיֵּ֛לֶךְ וַיָּ֥שׇׁב לָבָ֖ן לִמְקֹמֽוֹ׃
48 Lavan said: “This mound is witness between me and you from today.” Therefore they called its name: ‘Gal-Eid/Mound-witness,’ 49 and also: ‘Mitspah/Guardpost,’ because he said: “May YHVH keep guard between me and you, when we are hidden from one another! 50 If you should ever afflict my daughters, if you should ever take wives besides my daughters . . . ! No man is here with us,[70]See the previous comment. (but) see, Elohim is witness between me and you!” 51 And Lavan said to Yaaqov:[71]Another reason J objects so strongly to the pillar, is that in this text it is seen as an actual manifestation of the divine, and J is uncomfortable with “divine rocks” as we see in Gen 28:10-21, and see our comments there. “Here is this mound,[72]Note the addition of heap 4 times (!) in the space of one verse, the redundancy is J’s method of emphasizing that the pillar was no more than a non-cultic of stones rather than a cultic object, and see above, comment on 31:45. here is the pillar that I have sunk between me and you: 52 witness is this mound,[73]Note the switch of pronouns here from I to you. Jacob erected the pillar not Laban. This is contra the Hebrew which reads “that I erected”, this, however, does not makes sense, and the text is often corrected in this way. witness is the pillar that I will not cross over[74]See comment on 31:45 and the last comment on 31:51. this mound[75]See comment on 31:45 and the last comment on 31:51. to you and you will not cross over[76]See comment on 31:45 and the last comment on 31:51. this mound and[77]See comment on 31:45 and the last comment on 31:51. this pillar to me, for ill![78]See comment on 31:45 and the last comment on 31:51. 53 May the elo’ah of Avraham and the elo’ah of Naḥor keep-justice between us – the elo’ah of their father.” And Yaaqov swore by the Terror of his father Yitsḥaq.[79]Jacob’s father is mentioned this time by name which indicates in my opinion Yahwistic authorship since E does not record any Isaac narratives, and see the first comment on 31:42 above. 54 Then Yaaqov slaughtered a slaughter-meal on the mountain and called his brothers to eat bread. They ate bread and spent the night on the mountain.[80]The offering of a sacrifice after sealing the pact emphasizes the deal’s cultic aspect and thus is very likely Elohistic, since J is uncomfortable with this facet of the bargain, and see comment on 31:45. 32 1 Lavan started-early in the morning, kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them, and Lavan went to return to his place.[81]This sliver of a narrative has eluded explanation for centuries. Many claim it is a small part of a larger narrative that was excised from the text, this is however, an argument from the silence, which is weak. The solution we offer here is startling in its simplicity. One must simply read these verses together with vss. 24-30, Jacob saw a company of angels and one fought with one of them. Both texts are clearly Elohistic (contra the majority view) since “God” is the only name that appears in both sections. Moreover, Jacob is described here as strong and virile as in the Elohistic version of Chapter 29. In J texts Jacob is described as weak and cowardly as in vss. 3-23 of this chapter. The change of name from Jacob to Israel coincides nicely with the usage of the latter name in the Joseph cycle by E as opposed to the retention of the original Jacob by J.

ב וְיַעֲקֹ֖ב הָלַ֣ךְ לְדַרְכּ֑וֹ וַיִּפְגְּעוּ־ב֖וֹ מַלְאֲכֵ֥י אֱלֹהִֽים׃ ג וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יַעֲקֹב֙ כַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר רָאָ֔ם מַחֲנֵ֥ה אֱלֹהִ֖ים זֶ֑ה וַיִּקְרָ֛א שֵֽׁם־הַמָּק֥וֹם הַה֖וּא מַֽחֲנָֽיִם׃
2 As Yaaqov went on his way, messengers of Elohim encountered him. 3 Yaaqov said when he saw them: “This is a camp of Elohim!” And he called the name of that place: ‘Maḥanayim/Double-camp.’

The Masoretic text presented here is from Rabbi Dr. Seth (Avi) Kadish’s Miqra al pi ha-Mesorah. For the translation in English, I have adapted the translation of Everett Fox in the Schocken Bible (1997), mostly to re-Hebraize divine names, place names, and personal names, but I have made other changes. In place of “soil” for “adamah,” I have “fertile-ground.” And in verse 29:10, I have added back an instance of אחי אמו (“his mother’s brother”) that was omitted by Fox, probably for what he may have considered redundancy. Aside from these, I have made minor punctuation changes.

Notes   [ + ]

  1. Beer Sheva was Abraham’s final settling place in Genesis 22 (vs. 19) according to E. Thus a literary connection is forged between Abraham and Jacob. Abraham was the theological model, and Jacob was the progenitor of the Israelite nation.
  2. Ḥaran is Jacob’s destination according to J, as we will soon see in the Yahwistic supplement to Chapter 29. According to E, it is to the lands of the People of the East (29:1).
  3. The Elohistic revelation is non-verbal, thus Jacob’s vow of vs. 20-22 (E) is not cognizant of the similarly worded divine promise in vss. 13-15 (J).
  4. Note the switch from “God” (Elohim) to “the Lord” (Yhwh). The promise of progeny is common to J, and non-existent in E. The Lord’s promise to Jacob is a later restatement and elaboration of Jacob’s vow (vs. 20-22). In vss. 20-22 Jacob is clearly not cognizant of the similarly worded divine promise.
  5. In E, God is actually present in the rock in some way, and thus Jacob sets it up as a pillar. In J the Lord simply reveals himself there.
  6. J provides an alternate name for the site of the revelation in order to lessen the effect of the notion that God is specially tied to the place (Bethel = the house of God in biblical Hebrew).
  7. See comment on 29:12.
  8. This equation between the Lord and God (Yhwh and Elohim) is common throughout J, and compare the usage in Genesis 2-3 (J). A further theological statement is being made here, namely that the Lord is the God that was revealed here and not a local deity connected with the site.
  9. The establishment of Bethel as a shrine goes against J notion of centralization of cult, thus the attempts above to desanctify it (the change of name, revelation as opposed to being tied to the site). Bethel is, however, one of the most important cultic sites in the Northern Kingdom and is therefore important to E which was written in the north.
  10. Laban lives in “the land of the people of the east” according to E (vs.1 ); according to J, however, he lives in Ḥarran (vs. 4).
  11. In vs. 6 the shepherds mention that Rachel is coming with her flock, Jacob seemingly ignores this statement and asks about the well and why they are waiting there in vs. 7. This is discordant with Jacob’s very emotional reaction to meeting Rachel in vss. 10-11. It is thus likely that these verses were inserted by J in order to establish the setting as Ḥarran.
  12. E emphasizes Jacob’s positive characteristics such as strength (in this passage), loyalty to God (Gen 28, 35), loyalty to family (Gen 31, 32). This is in contrast to J who prefers to emphasize Jacob’s negative characteristics, perhaps basing himself to some degree on the etymology of Jacob’s name, which means cheating or sinful behavior. Since J is a supplementer and is adding to E, he creates a well-rounded character with both positive and negative traits.
  13. J is concerned that we understand what the familial relationship of Laban and Jacob is – in E (vss. 11 and 14) the implication is that they are brothers. In order to swerve our understanding of this term to a more distant kinship (uncle-nephew) (which is possible in Biblical Hebrew) J emphasizes the uncle-nephew relationship no less than 5 times in the space of 4 verses.
  14. The familial relationship between Jacob and Rachel is extraneous to this verse and the next verses and the text reads well without them. The sheer emphasis upon the familial relationship encumbers the style here and in the following verses.
  15, 17. See second comment on this verse.
  16. See first comment on this verse.
  18. The style here is particularly cumbersome since the verse tells us that A: Jacob is Laban’s kinsman; B. Jacob is Laban’s nephew. The second statement of relationship seems to be elucidatory, and see comment above (the second comment on 29:10).
  19, 21. See second comment on 29:10.
  20. See third comment on 29:10.
  22. The natural reaction to the greeting of a kinsman. In E we do not know of the history between Laban’s family and Jacob’s family as we do in J, since an Isaac cycle of narratives is absent in this source. Thus it is J who adds that Jacob told Laban everything, perhaps explaining to Laban why he fled at the end of vs. 13.
  23. Vs. 14: “Surely you are my bone and flesh” is meant to contrast Vs. 15: “Because you are my kinsman/brother.”
  24. The repetition of the fact that Rachel was Laban’s daughter is necessary here in order to contrast her with her sister.
  25. The beauty of the matriarchs is a common theme in J narrative, thus Sarah and Rebecca were beautiful (12:11, 24:16), as was Joseph (Chapter 39). It is possible that this description was added by J.
  26. Jacob came to Leah thinking she was Rachel and then in the morning discovered she was Leah. This sequence is interrupted by Laban’s present of Zilpah to Leah, a detail which is extraneous to the E narrative in which Zilpah does not feature.
  27, 33. See previous comment.
  28. See comment on 29:23. Bilhah does feature in the E narrative but only as a secondary character. Moreover this verse is stylistically identical to vs. 24, which seems to be an insertion.
  29. It is probable that the narrator intends us to understand that the birth of Jacob’s children occurred during the seven years mentioned in vs. 30, rather then after them.
  30. ”The Lord” is employed here as a divine name, and thus the beginning of this narrative is likely Yahwistic. Matriarchal barrenness is a Yahwistic theme and compare Sarah’s barrenness (Chapter 16), and Rebecca’ barrenness (Chapter 25). The word barren is not used to describe the matriarchs in E.
  31. According to E, Jacob had only seven sons. The two most significant tribes missing from the Elohistic account are Levi and Judah, who are unimportant to an author writing in the Northern Kingdom (compare the song of Deborah in Judges 5 where these tribes are also absent). When the J who was a southern Judean author inherited the Elohistic narrative he added 5 tribes who were important to his audience. ¶ Further proof for 7 as the original number of tribes exists in Chapters 43:34 and 45:22 where Joseph gives Benjamin five times the gifts he gives the rest of his brothers. If there are 12 brothers, this number has no significance. If there are seven brothers, however, Joseph gives Benjamin the same amount of gifts as all the rest of the brothers combined, accentuating the literary theme that Benjamin is worth the same as all the rest of Joseph’s brothers, since without him the brothers would not receive food.
  32. There are two name etymologies (explanations) in this verse: 1. Because the Lord looked on my affliction; 2. Surely now my husband will love me. Each of the etymologies feature most of the letters of the name, although the second explanation lacks the first letter. The phenomenon of double etymologies for Jacob’s children is also apparent in the birth notices of Zebulun, Joseph, and perhaps Issachar. In each of the cases the first etymology is further from the name than the second etymology. In two of the cases (Reuben and Joseph), the “better” etymology employs “the Lord” as a divine name. It thus seems that the original narrative was supplemented by a later Yahwistic editor, who added (among other things) superior name etymologies.
  34. ”The Lord” appears in the name etymologies of both Levi and Judah, marking them as Yahwistic additions to the text (as well as the southern Shimon sandwiched between them), and see first comment above on 29:32.
  35. Note the parallel to Sarah who uses Hagar as a surrogate (Chapter 16 – J). The same verb בנה (literally – to build), is used in both instances.
  36. In the Hebrew handmaiden is rendered as both “Shifchah” and “Amah”. Amah is employed by the Elohist (e.g. 20:17), Shifchah by the Yahwist (e.g. 12:15). Bilhah is first referred to in this text as “Amah” and in conjunction with the divine name – “Elohim” as opposed to “YHVH” in the previous verses – marks this text as Elohistic. It is likely that the term “Shifchah” was added in vs. 4 by J to indicate that Bilhah was a lesser wife and thus her child was in fact Rachel’s. The term wasn’t added to the E narrative consistently and is absent in vs. 5.
  37. ”Elohim” is the divine name in this verse, indicating an Elohistic narrative.
  38. See penultimate comment (on verse 30:4).
  39. At this point in E’s narrative Leah has one son (Reuben) and Rachel has born two sons (Dan and Naphtali) through her handmaiden.
  40. The numbering of the children is likely a Yahwistic addition, since it is this source that is changing the number of sons from 7 to 12.
  41. The statement “I have wrestled with my sister and prevailed” makes sense only in the Elohistic narrative where Rachel has two sons through Bilhah and Leah has only one son. In J, it does not make sense since Leah is ahead in the procreative contest, four children versus two children.
  42. Raphael Patai notes that the text here was likely amended, ‘oshri’ from ‘Ashera’ (in Hebrew Goddess, ch. 1, footnote 15, p.297)
  43. This section is difficult to attribute to a specific source using clear cut criteria. It seems more likely that it is Yahwistic since the term Shifchah is used. Moreover, the clearly secondary statement “because I gave my maid to my husband” in vs. 18 [see below] which refers to these verses (9-13), indicates that this section too is secondary.
  44. According to E, Leah is now tied in the procreative contest, 2 children versus 2 children for Rachel.
  45, 49. See final comment on 30:7.
  46. See next comment.
  47. The Elohistic etymology explaining Issachar’s name is “I have hired you” / or “God has given me my hire” and plainly has nothing to do with Leah giving her handmaiden to Jacob, rather they refer to the transaction between Rachel and Leah in which they traded mandrakes for sexual privilege. The words “because I gave my maid to my husband” seem to be a secondary addition alluding to the birth of Zilpah’s children in vss. 9-13 (above, comment on 30:8).
  48. According to E, Leah is now ahead in the procreative contest, 3 children versus 2 children for Rachel.
  50. This is the first of two name etymologies for Zebulun, the first an “inferior” Elohistic etymology: “God has endowed with a good dowry” (which includes only three out of five of the letters of Zebulun); the second a “superior” Yahwistic etymology “Now my husband will honor me because I have borne him six sons” (which includes four out of five of the letters of the name). J, among other things, wished to improve the “inferior” Elohistic etymologies.
  51. See the above comment. Note also the addition of the Yahwistic numbering (six sons) added when J added 5 additional sons to this account.
  52. See penultimate comment.
  53. Dinah does not feature in the E narrative. She appears only in the Yahwistic Chapter 34.
  54. Rachel is now tied with her sister 3 sons to 3 sons. She will win the procreative contest when she gives birth to Benjamin in Genesis 35. Note J’s improvement of E’s name etymology (the Yahwistic etymology has all the letters of Joseph’s name, whereas the Elohistic etymology has only 2 out of 4), and see above comment on Zevulun in 30:20.
  55. Jacob cheats Laban using animal husbandry just as Laban cheated him. Once again J portrays Jacob in a negative manner, in contrast with E’s very positive portrayal.
  56. The first 2 verses of the chapter allude to Jacob’s enrichment at Laban’s expense at the end of Chapter 30 (J). The third verse (“Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your ancestors and to your kindred, and I will be with you”) anticipates the revelation of vss. 10-12 (E), adding it before its proper place in the narrative account.
  57. In the Elohistic narrative sequence this episode occurs right after the birth of Joseph.
  58. Jacob’s father is unknown to E, it is thus likely that this is a J addition. Just as with vs. 3, this statement anticipates the revelation of vss. 10-12 (E) before its proper place in the narrative account.
  59. According to E Jacob gained all of Laban’s flock through divine intervention. J interprets this as Jacob “helping himself” to Laban’s flock with the Lord’s blessing, and see above 30:25-43.
  60. It is likely that a later glossator (perhaps J) softened this revelation by adding the word “angel” before “God”, since in vs. 13 this angel claims to be God. This is a fairly common occurrence and compare the Septuagint’s (the ancient Greek translation) additions of “angel” throughout Judges 6.
  61. Jacob’s ultimate destination is the land of his birth which remains unspecified in E. In vs. 17 P specifies Jacob’s destination more clearly. This same “travelogue” information in very similar language is found in P’s additions to Genesis 12 (vs. 4-5) and in Genesis 36.
  62. Padan Aram is specified in this verse as Jacob’s residence of the last 20 years. In J it is Haran or Aram Naharayim, and in E it is the land of the people of the east.
  63. God appears to Laban in a dream as is customary in E (compare vss. 10-13 of this chapter). Laban claims that what Jacob did was stupid. It is, however, arguable whether Jacob’s act was rash. The relationship between Laban and Jacob had soured and leaving was a natural act. The only rash act recorded in the text is the theft of Laban’s idols by Rachel referred to in vs. 29. The intervening section mentions the God of Jacob’s father and the house of Jacob’s father; as mentioned above though Jacob’s father is not a character in the Elohistic version of events. It is thus likely vss 28-29a were added by a later author, most likely J.
  64, 68, 70. See the previous comment.
  65. The description of Jacob’s years with Laban is one of hardship which does not accord with the vast wealth Jacob accrued according to J at the end of Chapter 30.
  66. Vss. 41-42 once again mentions Jacob’s father who does not feature in the E text. The breakdown of the years Jacob was with Laban (specified in vs. 38 as 20) may have also been added by J who is more detailed oriented than E.
  67. The rebuke according to E was Jacob’s ultimate enrichment, according to J it was God’s warning to Laban – Laban, however, does not mention this warning to Jacob according to E (at least not in my division).
  69. Jacob sets up a pillar as a sign of how the covenant between Laban and himself is binding. J, however, never mentions ritual pillars in his writing, perhaps because they were forbidden cultic objects according to the other Judean source written roughly at the same period, namely D (see Deuteronomy 16:22). J instead has the Patriarchs erecting altars which are not sacrificed upon (e.g. 12:7; 13:4), which fulfill the same commemorative function as E’s pillars. This aversion to pillars is likely the reason J added the non-polemical word “heap” in vss. 47-48 and by each mention of the pillar in vs. 52.
  71. Another reason J objects so strongly to the pillar, is that in this text it is seen as an actual manifestation of the divine, and J is uncomfortable with “divine rocks” as we see in Gen 28:10-21, and see our comments there.
  72. Note the addition of heap 4 times (!) in the space of one verse, the redundancy is J’s method of emphasizing that the pillar was no more than a non-cultic of stones rather than a cultic object, and see above, comment on 31:45.
  73. Note the switch of pronouns here from I to you. Jacob erected the pillar not Laban. This is contra the Hebrew which reads “that I erected”, this, however, does not makes sense, and the text is often corrected in this way.
  74, 75, 76, 77, 78. See comment on 31:45 and the last comment on 31:51.
  79. Jacob’s father is mentioned this time by name which indicates in my opinion Yahwistic authorship since E does not record any Isaac narratives, and see the first comment on 31:42 above.
  80. The offering of a sacrifice after sealing the pact emphasizes the deal’s cultic aspect and thus is very likely Elohistic, since J is uncomfortable with this facet of the bargain, and see comment on 31:45.
  81. This sliver of a narrative has eluded explanation for centuries. Many claim it is a small part of a larger narrative that was excised from the text, this is however, an argument from the silence, which is weak. The solution we offer here is startling in its simplicity. One must simply read these verses together with vss. 24-30, Jacob saw a company of angels and one fought with one of them. Both texts are clearly Elohistic (contra the majority view) since “God” is the only name that appears in both sections. Moreover, Jacob is described here as strong and virile as in the Elohistic version of Chapter 29. In J texts Jacob is described as weak and cowardly as in vss. 3-23 of this chapter. The change of name from Jacob to Israel coincides nicely with the usage of the latter name in the Joseph cycle by E as opposed to the retention of the original Jacob by J.

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