Images, Imagination, Procreation, and Immersion
Genesis 30:25–43; 31:1–16
Works of art by Titian, Sol LeWitt, and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
Commentaries by François Quiviger and Agata Paluch
Genesis 30:25–43; 31:1–16
Bible passage (Revised Standard Version)
25 When Rachel had borne Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, that I may go to my own home and country. 26Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me go; for you know the service which I have given you.” 27But Laban said to him, “If you will allow me to say so, I have learned by divination that the Lord has blessed me because of you; 28name your wages, and I will give it.” 29Jacob said to him, “You yourself know how I have served you, and how your cattle have fared with me. 30For you had little before I came, and it has increased abundantly; and the Lord has blessed you wherever I turned. But now when shall I provide for my own household also?” 31He said, “What shall I give you?” Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything; if you will do this for me, I will again feed your flock and keep it: 32let me pass through all your flock today, removing from it every speckled and spotted sheep and every black lamb, and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and such shall be my wages. 33So my honesty will answer for me later, when you come to look into my wages with you. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats and black among the lambs, if found with me, shall be counted stolen.” 34Laban said, “Good! Let it be as you have said.” 35But that day Laban removed the he-goats that were striped and spotted, and all the she-goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white on it, and every lamb that was black, and put them in charge of his sons; 36and he set a distance of three days’ journey between himself and Jacob; and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flock.
37 Then Jacob took fresh rods of poplar and almond and plane, and peeled white streaks in them, exposing the white of the rods. 38He set the rods which he had peeled in front of the flocks in the runnels, that is, the watering troughs, where the flocks came to drink. And since they bred when they came to drink, 39the flocks bred in front of the rods and so the flocks brought forth striped, speckled, and spotted. 40And Jacob separated the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the striped and all the black in the flock of Laban; and he put his own droves apart, and did not put them with Laban’s flock. 41Whenever the stronger of the flock were breeding Jacob laid the rods in the runnels before the eyes of the flock, that they might breed among the rods, 42but for the feebler of the flock he did not lay them there; so the feebler were Laban’s, and the stronger Jacob’s. 43Thus the man grew exceedingly rich, and had large flocks, maidservants and menservants, and camels and asses.
31 Now Jacob heard that the sons of Laban were saying, “Jacob has taken all that was our father’s; and from what was our father’s he has gained all this wealth.” 2And Jacob saw that Laban did not regard him with favor as before. 3Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you.” 4So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah into the field where his flock was, 5and said to them, “I see that your father does not regard me with favor as he did before. But the God of my father has been with me. 6You know that I have served your father with all my strength; 7yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times, but God did not permit him to harm me. 8If he said, ‘The spotted shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore spotted; and if he said, ‘The striped shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore striped. 9Thus God has taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me. 10In the mating season of the flock I lifted up my eyes, and saw in a dream that the he-goats which leaped upon the flock were striped, spotted, and mottled. 11Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob,’ and I said, ‘Here I am!’ 12And he said, ‘Lift up your eyes and see, all the goats that leap upon the flock are striped, spotted, and mottled; for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. 13I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me. Now arise, go forth from this land, and return to the land of your birth.’ ” 14Then Rachel and Leah answered him, “Is there any portion or inheritance left to us in our father’s house? 15Are we not regarded by him as foreigners? For he has sold us, and he has been using up the money given for us. 16All the property which God has taken away from our father belongs to us and to our children; now then, whatever God has said to you, do.”