After Rachel had Joseph, Jacob spoke to Laban. He said, "Send me on my way. I want to go back to my own home and country.
Give me my wives and children. I worked for you to get them. So I'll be on my way. You know how much work I've done for you."
But Laban said to him, "If you are pleased with me, stay here. I've discovered that the LORD has blessed me because of you."
He continued, "Name your pay. I'll give it to you."
Jacob said to him, "You know how hard I've worked for you. You know that your livestock has done better under my care.
You had only a little before I came. But that little has become a lot. The LORD has blessed you everywhere I've been. But when can I do something for my own family?"
"What should I give you?" Laban asked. "Don't give me anything," Jacob replied. "Just do one thing for me. Then I'll go on taking care of your flocks and watching over them.
"Let me go through all of your flocks today. Let me remove every sheep that has speckles or spots on it. Let me remove every dark-colored lamb. Let me remove every goat that has spots or speckles on it. They will be my pay.
"My honesty will give witness about me in days to come. It will give witness every time you check on what you have paid me. Suppose I have a goat that doesn't have speckles or spots. Or suppose I have a lamb that isn't dark-colored. Then it will be considered stolen."
"I agree," said Laban. "Let's do what you have said."
That same day Laban removed all of the male goats that had stripes or spots. He removed all of the female goats that had speckles or spots. They were the ones that had white on them. He also removed all of the dark-colored lambs. He had his sons take care of them.
Then he put a journey of three days between himself and Jacob. But Jacob continued to take care of the rest of Laban's flocks.
Jacob took branches that were freshly cut from poplar, almond and plane trees. He made white stripes on them by peeling off the bark. He uncovered the white wood inside the branches.
Then he placed the peeled branches in all of the stone tubs where the animals drank water. He placed them so they would be right in front of the flocks when they came to drink. The flocks were ready to mate when they came to drink.
So they mated in front of the branches. And they had little ones that were striped or speckled or spotted.
Jacob put the little ones of the flock to one side by themselves. But he made the older ones face the striped and dark-colored animals that belonged to Laban. In that way, he made separate flocks for himself. He didn't put them with Laban's animals.
Every time the stronger females were ready to mate, Jacob would place the branches in the stone tubs. He would place them in front of the animals so they would mate near the branches.
But if the animals were weak, he wouldn't place the branches there. So the weak animals went to Laban. And the strong ones went to Jacob.
In this way, Jacob became very rich. He became the owner of large flocks. He also had many male and female servants. And he had many camels and donkeys.