1When Rachel realized she was unable to give Jacob any children she was jealous of her sister. She complained to Jacob, “I'll die if you don't give me children!”
2Jacob became angry with Rachel and told her, “Am I God? Do you think I'm the one stopping you having children?”
3“Here's my personal maid Bilhah,” Rachel replied. “Sleep with her and she can have children for me so I'll have a family too.” 4She gave her personal maid Bilhah to him as a wife and Jacob slept with her. 5Bilhah became pregnant and had a son for Jacob. 6Rachel said, “God has judged in my favor! He listened to me and gave me a son.” So she named him Dan.#30:6. Dan means “judge.” 7Rachel's personal maid Bilhah became pregnant again and had a second son for Jacob. 8Rachel said, “I've had a hard struggle with my sister, but I've won.” So she named him Naphtali.#30:8. Naphtali means “struggle.”
9Leah realized she wasn't having any more children, so she gave her personal maid Zilpah to Jacob as a wife. 10Zilpah had a son for Jacob. 11Leah said, “I'm really fortunate!” So she named him Gad.#30:11. Gad means “fortunate.” 12Leah's personal maid Zilpah became pregnant again and had a second son for Jacob. 13Leah said, “I'm so happy, and the other women will say I'm happy too!” So she named him Asher.#30:13. Asher means “happy.”
14At the time of the wheat harvest Reuben found some mandrake plants when he was out in the fields. He took them back to his mother Leah. Rachel asked Leah, “Please give me some of the mandrakes your son found.”
15“Aren't you satisfied with stealing my husband?” Leah replied. “Are you going to take my son's mandrakes too?”
“Fine, he can sleep with you tonight if you give me some mandrakes in return,” Rachel responded.
16When Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him. “You have to sleep with me because I've paid for you with my son's mandrakes,” she told him. So he slept with her that night. 17God heard Leah's request, and she became pregnant and had a fifth son for Jacob. 18Leah said, “The Lord has rewarded me for giving my personal maid to my husband.” So she named him Issachar.#30:18. Issachar means “reward.” 19Then Leah became pregnant again and had a sixth son for Jacob. 20Leah said, “God has given me a good gift. Now my husband will honor me because I've given him six sons.” So she named him Zebulun.#30:20. Zebulun is related to both the words for “gift” and “honor.” 21Later she had a daughter she named Dinah.
22Then God paid attention to Rachel and listened to her appeals, and helped her to have children. 23She became pregnant and had a son. “God has removed my disgrace,” she said. 24She named him Joseph,#30:24. Joseph may mean both “may he add,” and “he takes away,” referring to Rachel's “disgrace.” saying, “May the Lord give me an additional son.”
25Once Rachel had given birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Let me leave so I can return to my home and my own country. 26Give me my wives and children because I worked for you to have them. Let me go now because you know very well how much work I've done for you.”
27“Please be so kind as to stay,” Laban replied, “because I have discovered#30:27. “Discovered”: or “learned by divination.” that the Lord has blessed me because of you.” 28Then Laban continued, “Tell me how much to pay you and I'll give it to you.”
29“You certainly know how much work I've done for you, and how well your flocks have done under my care. 30You hardly had anything before I arrived, but now you have so much! The Lord has blessed you through what I've done. When am I going to be able to provide for my own family?”
31“Well, what do you propose I give you?” Laban asked again.
“You don't have to give me anything,” Jacob replied. “If you want to do something for me, then how about this: I'll go on looking after your flocks, making sure they're fed. 32Let me go through your flocks today and take all the sheep that are speckled or spotted, and all the dark ones, as well as all the speckled and spotted goats. They'll be my wages. 33In the future you'll be able to prove that I've been honest. When you check my flock, any goats that don't have speckles or spots, or any sheep that aren't dark will be considered stolen from you.”
34“Very good,” Laban agreed. “We'll do as you say.” 35However, the same day Laban went and removed all the striped and spotted male goats, all the speckled and spotted female goats, and all the dark sheep. He had his sons look after them and sent them away— 36a three day journey between them and Jacob, while Jacob was looking after the rest of Laban's flocks.
37Then Jacob cut some sticks from poplar, almond, and plane trees that had white wood under the bark. He peeled off some of the bark, making the sticks look streaked with white. 38He put the sticks he'd peeled in the water troughs where the flocks came to drink because that's where they mated. 39The flocks mated in front of the sticks and gave birth to young that were streaked, speckled, and spotted. 40Jacob separated all these ones out. Then he made his flock face towards those in Laban's flock that were streaked and dark. This is the way he kept his flocks apart from Laban's flock.
41When the strong females were ready to breed, Jacob put the sticks in the troughs where the flocks could see them when they mated. 42He didn't do this for the weaker females. The weaker ones went to Laban, and the strong ones went to Jacob. 43In this way Jacob became an extremely rich man with large flocks, and many male and female slaves, camels, and donkeys.