1When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she envied her sister. “Give me sons, or I will die!” she said to Jacob.
2Jacob became angry with Rachel and said, “Am I in the place of God? He has withheld offspring from you!”
3Then she said, “Here is my maid Bilhah. Go sleep with her, and she’ll bear children for me so that through her I too can build a family.” 4So Rachel gave her slave Bilhah to Jacob as a wife, and he slept with her. 5Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. 6Rachel said, “God has vindicated me; yes, he has heard me and given me a son,” so she named him Dan.
7Rachel’s slave Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. 8Rachel said, “In my wrestlings with God, I have wrestled with my sister and won,” and she named him Naphtali.
9When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she took her slave Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10Leah’s slave Zilpah bore Jacob a son. 11Then Leah said, “What good fortune!” and she named him Gad.
12When Leah’s slave Zilpah bore Jacob a second son, 13Leah said, “I am happy that the women call me happy,” so she named him Asher.
14Reuben went out during the wheat harvest and found some mandrakes in the field. When he brought them to his mother Leah, Rachel asked, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”
15But Leah replied to her, “Isn’t it enough that you have taken my husband? Now you also want to take my son’s mandrakes?”
“Well then,” Rachel said, “he can sleep with you tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.”
16When Jacob came in from the field that evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must come with me, for I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So Jacob slept with her that night.
17God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18Leah said, “God has rewarded me for giving my slave to my husband,” and she named him Issachar.
19Then Leah conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son. 20“God has given me a good gift,” Leah said. “This time my husband will honor me because I have borne six sons for him,” and she named him Zebulun. 21Later, Leah bore a daughter and named her Dinah.
22Then God remembered Rachel. He listened to her and opened her womb. 23She conceived and bore a son, and she said, “God has taken away my disgrace.” 24She named him Joseph and said, “May the Lord add another son to me.”
Jacob’s Flocks Multiply
25After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me on my way so that I can return to my homeland. 26Give me my wives and my children that I have worked for, and let me go. You know how hard I have worked for you.”
27But Laban said to him, “If I have found favor with you, stay. I have learned by divination that the Lord has blessed me because of you.” 28Then Laban said, “Name your wages, and I will pay them.”
29So Jacob said to him, “You know how I have served you and how your herds have fared with me. 30For you had very little before I came, but now your wealth has increased. The Lord has blessed you because of me. And now, when will I also do something for my own family?”
31Laban asked, “What should I give you?”
And Jacob said, “You don’t need to give me anything. If you do this one thing for me, I will continue to shepherd and keep your flock. 32Let me go through all your sheep today and remove every sheep that is speckled or spotted, every dark-colored sheep among the lambs, and the spotted and speckled among the female goats. Such will be my wages. 33In the future when you come to check on my wages, my honesty will testify for me. If I have any female goats that are not speckled or spotted, or any lambs that are not black, they will be considered stolen.”
34“Good,” said Laban. “Let it be as you have said.”
35That day Laban removed the streaked and spotted male goats and all the speckled and spotted female goats — every one that had any white on it — and every dark-colored one among the lambs, and he placed his sons in charge of them. 36He put a three-day journey between himself and Jacob. Jacob, meanwhile, was shepherding the rest of Laban’s flock.
37Jacob then took branches of fresh poplar, almond, and plane wood, and peeled the bark, exposing white stripes on the branches. 38He set the peeled branches in the troughs in front of the sheep — in the water channels where the sheep came to drink. And the sheep bred when they came to drink. 39The flocks bred in front of the branches and bore streaked, speckled, and spotted young. 40Jacob separated the lambs and made the flocks face the streaked sheep and the completely dark sheep in Laban’s flocks. Then he set his own stock apart and didn’t put them with Laban’s sheep.
41Whenever the stronger of the flock were breeding, Jacob placed the branches in the troughs, in full view of the flocks, and they would breed in front of the branches. 42As for the weaklings of the flocks, he did not put out the branches. So it turned out that the weak sheep belonged to Laban and the stronger ones to Jacob. 43And the man became very rich. He had many flocks, female and male slaves, and camels and donkeys.