1 When Rachel saw that she could not give Jacob children, she became jealous of her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children or I’ll die!” 2 Jacob became furious with Rachel and exclaimed, “Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?” 3 She replied, “Here is my servant Bilhah! Have sexual relations with her so that she can bear children for me and I can have a family through her.”
4 So Rachel gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob had marital relations with her. 5 Bilhah became pregnant and gave Jacob a son. 6 Then Rachel said, “God has vindicated me. He has responded to my prayer and given me a son.” That is why she named him Dan.
7 Bilhah, Rachel’s servant, became pregnant again and gave Jacob another son. 8 Then Rachel said, “I have fought a desperate struggle with my sister, but I have won.” So she named him Naphtali.
9 When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she gave her servant Zilpah to Jacob as a wife. 10 Soon Leah’s servant Zilpah gave Jacob a son. 11 Leah said, “How fortunate!” So she named him Gad.
12 Then Leah’s servant Zilpah gave Jacob another son. 13 Leah said, “How happy I am, for women will call me happy!” So she named him Asher.
14 At the time of the wheat harvest Reuben went out and found some mandrake plants in a field and brought them to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, “Give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” 15 But Leah replied, “Wasn’t it enough that you’ve taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes too?” “All right,” Rachel said, “he may sleep with you tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.” 16 When Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must sleep with me because I have paid for your services with my son’s mandrakes.” So he had marital relations with her that night. 17 God paid attention to Leah; she became pregnant and gave Jacob a son for the fifth time. 18 Then Leah said, “God has granted me a reward because I gave my servant to my husband as a wife.” So she named him Issachar.
19 Leah became pregnant again and gave Jacob a son for the sixth time. 20 Then Leah said, “God has given me a good gift. Now my husband will honour me because I have given him six sons.” So she named him Zebulun.
21 After that she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.
22 Then God took note of Rachel. He paid attention to her and enabled her to become pregnant. 23 She became pregnant and gave birth to a son. Then she said, “God has taken away my shame.” 24 She named him Joseph, saying, “May the Lord give me yet another son.”
The Flocks of Jacob
25 After Rachel had given birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me on my way so that I can go home to my own country. 26 Let me take my wives and my children whom I have acquired by working for you. Then I’ll depart, because you know how hard I’ve worked for you.”
27 But Laban said to him, “If I have found favour in your sight, please stay here, for I have learned by divination that the Lord has blessed me on account of you.” 28 He added, “Just name your wages – I’ll pay whatever you want.”
29 “You know how I have worked for you,” Jacob replied, “and how well your livestock have fared under my care. 30 Indeed, you had little before I arrived, but now your possessions have increased many times over. The Lord has blessed you wherever I worked. But now, how long must it be before I do something for my own family too?”
31 So Laban asked, “What should I give you?” “You don’t need to give me a thing,” Jacob replied, “but if you agree to this one condition, I will continue to care for your flocks and protect them: 32 Let me walk among all your flocks today and remove from them every speckled or spotted sheep, every dark-coloured lamb, and the spotted or speckled goats. These animals will be my wages. 33 My integrity will testify for me later on. When you come to verify that I’ve taken only the wages we agreed on, if I have in my possession any goat that is not speckled or spotted or any sheep that is not dark-coloured, it will be considered stolen.” 34 “Agreed!” said Laban, “It will be as you say.”
35 So that day Laban removed the male goats that were streaked or spotted, all the female goats that were speckled or spotted (all that had any white on them), and all the dark-coloured lambs, and put them in the care of his sons. 36 Then he separated them from Jacob by a three-day journey, while Jacob was taking care of the rest of Laban’s flocks.
37 But Jacob took fresh-cut branches from poplar, almond, and plane trees. He made white streaks by peeling them, making the white inner wood in the branches visible. 38 Then he set up the peeled branches in all the watering troughs where the flocks came to drink. He set up the branches in front of the flocks when they were in heat and came to drink. 39 When the sheep mated in front of the branches, they gave birth to young that were streaked or speckled or spotted. 40 Jacob removed these lambs, but he made the rest of the flock face the streaked and completely dark-coloured animals in Laban’s flock. So he made separate flocks for himself and did not mix them with Laban’s flocks. 41 When the stronger females were in heat, Jacob would set up the branches in the troughs in front of the flock, so they would mate near the branches. 42 But if the animals were weaker, he did not set the branches there. So the weaker animals ended up belonging to Laban and the stronger animals to Jacob. 43 In this way Jacob became extremely prosperous. He owned large flocks, male and female servants, camels, and donkeys.