1Rachel saw that she wasn’t having any children by Jacob. So she became jealous of her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!”
2Jacob became angry with her. He said, “Do you think I’m God? He’s the one who has kept you from having children.”
3Then she said, “Here’s my servant Bilhah. Sleep with her so that she can have children for me. Then I too can have a family through her.”
4So Rachel gave Jacob her servant Bilhah as a wife. Jacob slept with her. 5And Bilhah became pregnant. She had a son by him. 6Then Rachel said, “God has stood up for my rights. He has listened to my prayer and given me a son.” So she named him Dan.
7Rachel’s servant Bilhah became pregnant again. She had a second son by Jacob. 8Then Rachel said, “I’ve had a great struggle with my sister. Now I’ve won.” So she named him Naphtali.
9Leah saw that she had stopped having children. So she gave her servant Zilpah to Jacob as a wife. 10Leah’s servant Zilpah had a son by Jacob. 11Then Leah said, “What good fortune!” So she named him Gad.
12Leah’s servant Zilpah had a second son by Jacob. 13Then Leah said, “I’m so happy! The women will call me happy.” So she named him Asher.
14While the wheat harvest was being gathered, Reuben went out into the fields. He found some mandrake plants. He brought them to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”
15But Leah said to her, “Isn’t it enough that you took my husband away? Are you going to take my son’s mandrakes too?”
Rachel said, “All right. Jacob can sleep with you tonight if you give me your son’s mandrakes.”
16Jacob came in from the fields that evening. Leah went out to meet him. “You have to sleep with me tonight,” she said. “I’ve traded my son’s mandrakes for that time with you.” So he slept with her that night.
17God listened to Leah. She became pregnant and had a fifth son by Jacob. 18Then Leah said, “God has rewarded me because I gave my female servant to my husband.” So she named the boy Issachar.
19Leah became pregnant again. She had a sixth son by Jacob. 20Then Leah said, “God has given me a priceless gift. This time my husband will treat me with honor. I’ve had six sons by him.” So she named the boy Zebulun.
21Some time later she had a daughter. She named her Dinah.
22Then God listened to Rachel. He showed concern for her. He made it possible for her to have children. 23She became pregnant and had a son. Then she said, “God has taken away my shame.” 24She said, “May the Lord give me another son.” So she named him Joseph.
Jacob Becomes the Owner of Large Flocks
25After Rachel had Joseph, Jacob spoke to Laban. He said, “Send me on my way. I want to go back to my own home and country. 26Give me my wives and children. I worked for you to get them. So I’ll be on my way. You know how much work I’ve done for you.”
27But Laban said to him, “If you are pleased with me, stay here. I’ve discovered that the Lord has blessed me because of you.” 28He continued, “Name your pay. I’ll give it to you.”
29Jacob said to him, “You know how hard I’ve worked for you. You know that your livestock has done better under my care. 30You had only a little before I came. But that little has become a lot. The Lord has blessed you everywhere I’ve been. But when can I do something for my own family?”
31“What should I give you?” Laban asked.
“Don’t give me anything,” Jacob replied. “Just do one thing for me. Then I’ll go on taking care of your flocks and watching over them. 32Let me go through all your flocks today. Let me remove every speckled or spotted sheep. Let me remove every dark-colored lamb. Let me remove every speckled or spotted goat. They will be my pay. 33My honesty will be a witness about me in days to come. It will be a witness every time you check on what you have paid me. Suppose I have a goat that doesn’t have speckles or spots. Or suppose I have a lamb that isn’t dark colored. Then it will be considered stolen.”
34“I agree,” said Laban. “Let’s do what you have said.” 35That same day Laban removed all the male goats that had stripes or spots. He removed all the female goats that had speckles or spots. They were the ones that had white on them. He also removed all the dark-colored lambs. He had his sons take care of them. 36Then he put a journey of three days between himself and Jacob. But Jacob continued to take care of the rest of Laban’s flocks.
37Jacob took freshly cut branches from poplar, almond and plane trees. He made white stripes on the branches by peeling off their bark. 38Then he placed the peeled branches in all the stone tubs where the animals drank water. He placed them there so they would be right in front of the flocks when they came to drink. The flocks were ready to mate when they came to drink. 39So they mated in front of the branches. And the flocks gave birth to striped, speckled or spotted little ones. 40Jacob put the little ones of the flock to one side by themselves. But he made the older ones face the striped and dark-colored animals that belonged to Laban. In that way, he made separate flocks for himself. He didn’t put them with Laban’s animals. 41Every time the stronger females were ready to mate, Jacob would place the branches in the stone tubs. He would place them in front of the animals so they would mate near the branches. 42But if the animals were weak, he wouldn’t place the branches there. So the weak animals went to Laban. And the strong ones went to Jacob. 43That’s how Jacob became very rich. He became the owner of large flocks. He also had many male and female servants. And he had many camels and donkeys.