1When Rachel saw that she wasn’t having any children for Jacob, she became jealous of her sister. She pleaded with Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!”
2Then Jacob became furious with Rachel. “Am I God?” he asked. “He’s the one who has kept you from having children!”
3Then Rachel told him, “Take my maid, Bilhah, and sleep with her. She will bear children for me,#30:3 Hebrew bear children on my knees. and through her I can have a family, too.” 4So Rachel gave her servant, Bilhah, to Jacob as a wife, and he slept with her. 5Bilhah became pregnant and presented him with a son. 6Rachel named him Dan,#30:6 Dan means “he judged” or “he vindicated.” for she said, “God has vindicated me! He has heard my request and given me a son.” 7Then Bilhah became pregnant again and gave Jacob a second son. 8Rachel named him Naphtali,#30:8 Naphtali means “my struggle.” for she said, “I have struggled hard with my sister, and I’m winning!”
9Meanwhile, Leah realized that she wasn’t getting pregnant anymore, so she took her servant, Zilpah, and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10Soon Zilpah presented him with a son. 11Leah named him Gad,#30:11 Gad means “good fortune.” for she said, “How fortunate I am!” 12Then Zilpah gave Jacob a second son. 13And Leah named him Asher,#30:13 Asher means “happy.” for she said, “What joy is mine! Now the other women will celebrate with me.”
14One day during the wheat harvest, Reuben found some mandrakes growing in a field and brought them to his mother, Leah. Rachel begged Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”
15But Leah angrily replied, “Wasn’t it enough that you stole my husband? Now will you steal my son’s mandrakes, too?”
Rachel answered, “I will let Jacob sleep with you tonight if you give me some of the mandrakes.”
16So that evening, as Jacob was coming home from the fields, Leah went out to meet him. “You must come and sleep with me tonight!” she said. “I have paid for you with some mandrakes that my son found.” So that night he slept with Leah. 17And God answered Leah’s prayers. She became pregnant again and gave birth to a fifth son for Jacob. 18She named him Issachar,#30:18 Issachar sounds like a Hebrew term that means “reward.” for she said, “God has rewarded me for giving my servant to my husband as a wife.” 19Then Leah became pregnant again and gave birth to a sixth son for Jacob. 20She named him Zebulun,#30:20 Zebulun probably means “honor.” for she said, “God has given me a good reward. Now my husband will treat me with respect, for I have given him six sons.” 21Later she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.
22Then God remembered Rachel’s plight and answered her prayers by enabling her to have children. 23She became pregnant and gave birth to a son. “God has removed my disgrace,” she said. 24And she named him Joseph,#30:24 Joseph means “may he add.” for she said, “May the Lord add yet another son to my family.”
Jacob’s Wealth Increases
25Soon after Rachel had given birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Please release me so I can go home to my own country. 26Let me take my wives and children, for I have earned them by serving you, and let me be on my way. You certainly know how hard I have worked for you.”
27“Please listen to me,” Laban replied. “I have become wealthy, for#30:27 Or I have learned by divination that. the Lord has blessed me because of you. 28Tell me how much I owe you. Whatever it is, I’ll pay it.”
29Jacob replied, “You know how hard I’ve worked for you, and how your flocks and herds have grown under my care. 30You had little indeed before I came, but your wealth has increased enormously. The Lord has blessed you through everything I’ve done. But now, what about me? When can I start providing for my own family?”
31“What wages do you want?” Laban asked again.
Jacob replied, “Don’t give me anything. Just do this one thing, and I’ll continue to tend and watch over your flocks. 32Let me inspect your flocks today and remove all the sheep and goats that are speckled or spotted, along with all the black sheep. Give these to me as my wages. 33In the future, when you check on the animals you have given me as my wages, you’ll see that I have been honest. If you find in my flock any goats without speckles or spots, or any sheep that are not black, you will know that I have stolen them from you.”
34“All right,” Laban replied. “It will be as you say.” 35But that very day Laban went out and removed the male goats that were streaked and spotted, all the female goats that were speckled and spotted or had white patches, and all the black sheep. He placed them in the care of his own sons, 36who took them a three-days’ journey from where Jacob was. Meanwhile, Jacob stayed and cared for the rest of Laban’s flock.
37Then Jacob took some fresh branches from poplar, almond, and plane trees and peeled off strips of bark, making white streaks on them. 38Then he placed these peeled branches in the watering troughs where the flocks came to drink, for that was where they mated. 39And when they mated in front of the white-streaked branches, they gave birth to young that were streaked, speckled, and spotted. 40Jacob separated those lambs from Laban’s flock. And at mating time he turned the flock to face Laban’s animals that were streaked or black. This is how he built his own flock instead of increasing Laban’s.
41Whenever the stronger females were ready to mate, Jacob would place the peeled branches in the watering troughs in front of them. Then they would mate in front of the branches. 42But he didn’t do this with the weaker ones, so the weaker lambs belonged to Laban, and the stronger ones were Jacob’s. 43As a result, Jacob became very wealthy, with large flocks of sheep and goats, female and male servants, and many camels and donkeys.
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1And when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister, and said to Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. 2And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, Am I in God's#GodHebrew: Elohim stead, who has withheld from thee the fruit of the womb? 3And she said, Behold, there is my maid, Bilhah: go in to her, in order that she may bear on my knees, and I may also be built up by her. 4And she gave him Bilhah her maidservant as wife, and Jacob went in to her. 5And Bilhah conceived, and bore Jacob a son. 6And Rachel said, God#GodHebrew: Elohim has done me justice, and has also heard my voice, and given me a son; therefore she called his name Dan. 7And Bilhah Rachel's maidservant again conceived, and bore Jacob a second son. 8And Rachel said, Wrestlings of God#GodHebrew: Elohim have I wrestled with my sister, and have prevailed; and she called his name Naphtali. 9And when Leah saw that she had ceased to bear, she took Zilpah her maidservant and gave her to Jacob as wife. 10And Zilpah Leah's maidservant bore Jacob a son. 11And Leah said, Fortunately! and she called his name Gad. 12And Zilpah Leah's maidservant bore Jacob a second son. 13And Leah said, Happy am I; for the daughters will call me blessed! and she called his name Asher.
14And Reuben went out in the days of wheat-harvest, and found mandrakes in the fields; and he brought them to his mother Leah. And Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son's mandrakes. 15And she said to her, Is it too little that thou hast taken my husband, that thou wilt take my son's mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to-night for thy son's mandrakes. 16And when Jacob came from the fields in the evening, Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in to me, for indeed I have hired thee with my son's mandrakes. And he lay with her that night. 17And God#GodHebrew: Elohim hearkened to Leah, and she conceived, and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18And Leah said, God#GodHebrew: Elohim has given me my hire, because I have given my maidservant to my husband; and she called his name Issachar. 19And Leah again conceived, and bore Jacob a sixth son; 20and Leah said, God#GodHebrew: Elohim has endowed me with a good dowry; this time will my husband dwell with me, because I have borne him six sons. And she called his name Zebulun. 21And afterwards she bore a daughter, and called her name Dinah. 22And God#GodHebrew: Elohim remembered Rachel, and God#GodHebrew: Elohim listened to her, and opened her womb. 23And she conceived, and bore a son, and said, God#GodHebrew: Elohim has taken away my reproach. 24And she called his name Joseph; and said, Jehovah will add to me another son.
25And it came to pass when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, Send me away, that I may go to my place and to my country. 26Give me my wives for whom I have served thee, and my children; that I may go away, for thou knowest my service which I have served thee. 27And Laban said to him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes — I have discovered that Jehovah has blessed me for thy sake. 28And he said, Appoint to me thy wages, and I will give it. 29And he said to him, Thou knowest how I have served thee, and what thy cattle has become with me. 30For it was little that thou hadst before me, and it is increased to a multitude, and Jehovah has blessed thee from the time I came; and now, when shall I also provide for my house? 31And he said, What shall I give thee? And Jacob said, Thou shalt not give me anything. If thou doest this for me, I will again feed and keep thy flock: 32I will pass through all thy flock to-day, to remove thence all the speckled and spotted sheep, and all the brown lambs, and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and that shall be my hire. 33And my righteousness shall answer for me hereafter, when thou comest about my hire, before thy face: all that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and brown among the lambs, let that be stolen with me. 34And Laban said, Well, let it be according to thy word. 35And he removed that day the he-goats that were ringstraked and spotted, and all the she-goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white in it, and all the brown among the lambs, and gave them into the hand of his sons. 36And he put three days' journey between himself and Jacob. And Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flock.
37And Jacob took fresh rods of white poplar, almond-tree, and maple; and peeled off white stripes in them, uncovering the white which was on the rods. 38And he set the rods which he had peeled before the flock, in the troughs at the watering-places where the flock came to drink, and they were ardent when they came to drink. 39And the flock was ardent before the rods; and the flock brought forth ringstraked, speckled, and spotted. 40And Jacob separated the lambs, and set the faces of the flock toward the ringstraked, and all the brown in the flock of Laban; and he made himself separate flocks, and did not put them with Laban's flock. 41And it came to pass whensoever the strong cattle were ardent, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the flock in the gutters, that they might become ardent among the rods; 42but when the sheep were feeble, he put them not in; so the feeble were Laban's, and the strong Jacob's. 43And the man increased very, very much, and had much cattle, and bondwomen, and bondmen, and camels, and asses.
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First published in 1890. This edition is maintained by the British and Foreign Bible Society.