30 1When Rachel realized that she wasn’t having any children for Jacob, she became jealous of her sister. She told Jacob, “Give me sons or I’ll die!” 2Jacob got angry with Rachel and said, “Am I God? Am I the one who refused you babies?” 3Rachel said, “Here’s my maid Bilhah. Sleep with her. Let her substitute for me so I can have a child through her and build a family.” 4So she gave him her maid Bilhah for a wife and Jacob slept with her. 5Bilhah became pregnant and gave Jacob a son. 6Rachel said, “God took my side and vindicated me. He listened to me and gave me a son.” She named him Dan (Vindication). 7Rachel’s maid Bilhah became pregnant again and gave Jacob a second son. 8Rachel said, “I’ve been in an all–out fight with my sister—and I’ve won.” So she named him Naphtali (Fight). 9When Leah saw that she wasn’t having any more children, she gave her maid Zilpah to Jacob for a wife. 10Zilpah had a son for Jacob. 11Leah said, “How fortunate!” and she named him Gad (Lucky). 12When Leah’s maid Zilpah had a second son for Jacob, 13Leah said, “A happy day! The women will congratulate me in my happiness.” So she named him Asher (Happy). 14One day during the wheat harvest Reuben found some mandrakes in the field and brought them home to his mother Leah. Rachel asked Leah, “Could I please have some of your son’s mandrakes?” 15Leah said, “Wasn’t it enough that you got my husband away from me? And now you also want my son’s mandrakes?” Rachel said, “All right. I’ll let him sleep with you tonight in exchange for your son’s love–apples.” 16When Jacob came home that evening from the fields, Leah was there to meet him: “Sleep with me tonight; I’ve bartered my son’s mandrakes for a night with you.” So he slept with her that night. 17God listened to Leah; she became pregnant and gave Jacob a fifth son. 18She said, “God rewarded me for giving my maid to my husband.” She named him Issachar (Bartered). 19Leah became pregnant yet again and gave Jacob a sixth son, 20saying, “God has given me a great gift. This time my husband will honor me with gifts—I’ve given him six sons!” She named him Zebulun (Honor). 21Last of all she had a daughter and named her Dinah. 22And then God remembered Rachel. God listened to her and opened her womb. 23She became pregnant and had a son. She said, “God has taken away my humiliation.” 24She named him Joseph (Add), praying, “May God add yet another son to me.” 25After Rachel had had Joseph, Jacob spoke to Laban, “Let me go back home. 26Give me my wives and children for whom I’ve served you. You know how hard I’ve worked for you.” 27Laban said, “If you please, I have learned through divine inquiry that God has blessed me because of you.” 28He went on, “So name your wages. I’ll pay you.” 29Jacob replied, “You know well what my work has meant to you and how your livestock has flourished under my care. 30The little you had when I arrived has increased greatly; everything I did resulted in blessings for you. Isn’t it about time that I do something for my own family?” 31“So, what should I pay you?” Jacob said, “You don’t have to pay me a thing. But how about this? I will go back to pasture and care for your flocks. 32Go through your entire flock today and take out every speckled or spotted sheep, every dark–colored lamb, every spotted or speckled goat. They will be my wages. 33That way you can check on my honesty when you assess my wages. If you find any goat that’s not speckled or spotted or a sheep that’s not black, you will know that I stole it.” 34“Fair enough,” said Laban. “It’s a deal.” 35But that very day Laban removed all the mottled and spotted billy goats and all the speckled and spotted nanny goats, every animal that had even a touch of white on it plus all the black sheep and placed them under the care of his sons. 36Then he put a three–day journey between himself and Jacob. Meanwhile Jacob went on tending what was left of Laban’s flock. 37But Jacob got fresh branches from poplar, almond, and plane trees and peeled the bark, leaving white stripes on them. 38He stuck the peeled branches in front of the watering troughs where the flocks came to drink. When the flocks were in heat, they came to drink 39and mated in front of the streaked branches. Then they gave birth to young that were streaked or spotted or speckled. 40Jacob placed the ewes before the dark–colored animals of Laban. That way he got distinctive flocks for himself which he didn’t mix with Laban’s flocks. 41And when the sturdier animals were mating, Jacob placed branches at the troughs in view of the animals so that they mated in front of the branches. 42But he wouldn’t set up the branches before the feebler animals. That way the feeble animals went to Laban and the sturdy ones to Jacob. 43The man got richer and richer, acquiring huge flocks, lots and lots of servants, not to mention camels and donkeys.
The Message® / © 2002 Eugene H. Peterson About