1 Rachel had not borne Jacob any children. As a result, she became jealous of her sister and said to Jacob: »Give me children, or I will die.«
2 Jacob became angry with Rachel. He said: »I cannot take the place of God. He is the one who keeps you from having children.«
3 She said: »Here is my maid Bilhah. Sleep with her, so that she can have a child for me. This way I can become a mother through her.«
4 Then Rachel let Jacob marry Bilhah. Jacob slept with Bilhah.
5 They had a son.
6 Rachel named him Dan, because she said: »God has answered my prayers. He has vindicated me and given me a son.«
7 Bilhah and Jacob had a second son.
8 Rachel said: »I have struggled hard with my sister, and I have won!« So she named the boy Naphtali.
9 When Leah realized she could not have any more children, she let Jacob marry her servant Zilpah.
10 They had a son.
11 Leah said: »How fortunate. She called him Gad.«
12 Leahs slave Zilpah gave birth to her second son for Jacob.
13 Leah said: »I am happy, for women will call me blessed. So she named him Asher.«
14 During the wheat harvest 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 sons mandrake plants.«
15 Leah replied: »Is it not enough that you took my husband? Are you also going to take my sons mandrake plants?« Rachel responded: »Very well, Jacob can go to bed with you tonight in return for your sons mandrake plants.«
16 Jacob came in from the fields that evening. Leah went out to meet him. »You are to sleep with me,« she said. »You are my reward for my sons mandrake plants.« So he went to bed with her that night.
17 God answered Leahs prayer. She became pregnant and gave birth to her fifth son for Jacob.
18 Leah said: »God has given me my reward, because I gave my slave to my husband.« So she named him Issachar.
19 She became pregnant again and gave birth to her sixth son for Jacob.
20 Leah said: »God has presented me with a wonderful gift. This time my husband will honor me, because I have given him six sons.« So she named him Zebulun.
21 Later she bore a daughter and named her Dinah.
22 Then God remembered Rachel. God listened to her and opened her womb.
23 So she conceived and gave birth to a son. She said: »God has taken away my reproach.«
24 She named him Joseph. She said: »May Jehovah give me another son.«
25 When Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban: »Send me away, that I may go to my own place and to my own country.
26 »Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you. Let me depart. For you know how much service I have done for you.«
27 But Laban said: »If now it pleases you, stay with me. I have observed that Jehovah has blessed me on your account.«
28 He continued: »Name your wages, and I will pay.«
29 Jacob responded: »You know how much work I have done for you and what has happened to your livestock under my care.
30 »The little that you had before I came has grown to a large amount. Jehovah has blessed you wherever I have been. When may I do something for my own family?«
31 Laban asked: »What should I give you?« Jacob answered: »Do not give me anything. Instead, do something for me. Then I will go back to taking care of and watching your flocks again.
32 »Let me go through all of your flocks today and take every speckled and spotted sheep, every black lamb, and every spotted and speckled goat. They will be my wages.
33 »My honesty will speak for itself whenever you come to check on my wages. Any goat I have that is not speckled or spotted or any lamb that is not black will be considered stolen.«
34 Laban answered: »I agree; we will do as you have said.«
35 Laban took out the striped and spotted male goats, all the speckled and spotted female goats every one with white on it, and every black lamb. He had his sons take charge of them that same day.
36 They moved away from Jacob with this flock as far as he could travel in three days. Jacob took care of the rest of Labans flocks.
37 Jacob took green branches of poplar storax, almond, and plane trees and stripped off some of the bark so that the branches had white stripes on them.
38 He placed these branches in front of the flocks at their drinking troughs. He put them there, because the animals mated when they came to drink.
39 So when the goats bred in front of the branches, they produced young that were streaked, speckled, and spotted.
40 Jacob kept the sheep separate from the goats and made them face in the direction of the streaked and black animals of Labans flock. In this way he built up his own flock and kept it apart from Labans.
41 When the strongest of the flock were mating, Jacob would place the rods in the sight of the flock in the gutters, so that they might mate by the rods.
42 When the flock was feeble, he did not put them in. That way the feebler were Labans and the stronger Jacobs.
43 He became exceedingly prosperous, and had large flocks and female and male servants and camels and donkeys.