1 Rachel saw that she couldn't have any children by Jacob. So she became jealous of her sister. She said to Jacob, "Give me children, or I'll die!"
2 Jacob became angry with her. He said, "Do you think I'm God? He's the one who has kept you from having children."
3 Then she said, "Here's my servant Bilhah. Make love to her so that she can have children for me. Then I too can have a family through her."
4 So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife. Jacob made love to her.
5 And Bilhah became pregnant. She had a son by him.
6 Then Rachel said, "God has stood up for my rights. He has listened to my prayer and given me a son." So she named him Dan.
7 Rachel's servant Bilhah became pregnant again. She had a second son by Jacob.
8 Then Rachel said, "I've had a great struggle with my sister. Now I've won." So she named him Naphtali.
9 Leah saw that she had stopped having children. So she gave her servant Zilpah to Jacob as a wife.
10 Leah's servant Zilpah had a son by Jacob.
11 Then Leah said, "What good fortune!" So she named him Gad.
12 Leah's servant Zilpah had a second son by Jacob.
13 Then Leah said, "I'm so happy! The women will call me happy." So she named him Asher.
14 While the wheat harvest was being gathered, 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 son's mandrakes."
15 But Leah said to her, "Isn't it enough that you took my husband away? Are you going to take my son's mandrakes too?" Rachel said, "All right. Jacob can make love to you tonight if you give me your son's mandrakes."
16 Jacob came in from the fields that evening. Leah went out to meet him. "You have to sleep with me tonight," she said. "I've bought you with my son's mandrakes." So he made love to her that night.
17 God listened to Leah. She became pregnant and had a fifth son by Jacob.
18 Then Leah said, "God has rewarded me because I gave my female servant to my husband." So she named the boy Issachar.
19 Leah became pregnant again. She had a sixth son by Jacob.
20 Then Leah said, "God has given me a priceless gift. This time my husband will treat me with honor. I've had six sons by him." So she named the boy Zebulun.
21 Some time later she had a daughter. She named her Dinah.
22 Then God listened to Rachel. He showed concern for her. He made it possible for her to have children.
23 She became pregnant. She had a son. She said, "God has taken my shame away."
24 She continued, "May the LORD give me another son." So she named him Joseph.
25 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.
26 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."
27 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."
28 He continued, "Name your pay. I'll give it to you."
29 Jacob said to him, "You know how hard I've worked for you. You know that your livestock has done better under my care.
30 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?"
31 "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.
32 "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.
33 "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."
34 "I agree," said Laban. "Let's do what you have said."
35 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.
36 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.
37 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.
38 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.
39 So they mated in front of the branches. And they had little ones that were striped or speckled or spotted.
40 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.
41 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.
42 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.
43 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.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica. All rights reserved worldwide.
1 Jacob heard what Laban's sons were saying. "Jacob has taken everything our father owned," they said. "He has gained all of this wealth from what belonged to our father."
2 Jacob noticed that Laban's feelings toward him had changed.
3 Then the LORD spoke to Jacob. He said, "Go back to your father's land and to your relatives. I will be with you."
4 So Jacob sent word to Rachel and Leah. He told them to come out to the fields where his flocks were.
5 He said to them, "I see that your father's feelings toward me have changed. But the God of my father has been with me.
6 You know that I've worked for your father with all of my strength.
7 "But your father has cheated me. He has changed my pay ten times. In spite of everything that's happened, God hasn't let him harm me.
8 Sometimes Laban would say, 'The speckled ones will be your pay.' Then all the flocks had little ones with speckles. At other times he would say, 'The striped ones will be your pay.' Then all the flocks had little ones with stripes.
9 So God has taken away your father's livestock and given it to me.
10 "Once during the mating season I had a dream. In my dream I looked up and saw male goats mating with the flock. The goats had stripes, speckles or spots.
11 "The angel of God said to me in the dream, 'Jacob.' I answered, 'Here I am.'
12 He said, 'Look up. See the male goats mating with the flock. All of them have stripes, speckles or spots. That is because I have seen everything that Laban has been doing to you.
13 " 'I am the God of Bethel. That is where you poured oil on a pillar. There you made a promise to me. Now leave this land. Go back to your own land.' "
14 Rachel and Leah replied, "Do we still have any share in our father's property?
15 Doesn't our father think of us as strangers? First he sold us. Now he has used up what he was paid for us.
16 All of the wealth God took away from our father really belongs to us and our children. So do what God has told you to do."
17 Then Jacob put his children and wives on camels.
18 He drove all of his livestock ahead of him. He also took with him everything he had gotten in Paddan Aram. He left to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.
19 Laban had gone to clip the wool from his sheep. While he was gone, Rachel stole the statues of family gods that belonged to her father.
20 And that's not all. Jacob tricked Laban the Aramean. He didn't tell him he was running away.
21 So Jacob ran off with everything he had. He crossed the Euphrates River. And he headed for the hill country of Gilead.
22 On the third day Laban was told that Jacob had run away.
23 He took his relatives with him and went after Jacob. Seven days later he caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead.
24 Then God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night. He said to him, "Be careful. Do not say anything to Jacob, whether it is good or bad."
25 Jacob had set up his tent in the hill country of Gilead. That's where Laban caught up with him. Laban and his relatives camped there too.
26 Laban said to Jacob, "What have you done? You have tricked me. You have taken my daughters away like prisoners of war.
27 Why did you run away in secret and trick me? Why didn't you tell me? Then I could have sent you away happily. We could have sung to the music of tambourines and harps.
28 You didn't even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters good-by. You have done a foolish thing.
29 "I have the power to harm you. But last night the God of your father spoke to me. He said, 'Be careful. Do not say anything to Jacob, whether it is good or bad.'
30 "Now you have run away. You longed to go back to your father's home. But why did you have to steal my gods?"
31 Jacob answered Laban, "I was afraid. I thought you would take your daughters away from me by force.
32 "But if you find anyone who has your gods, he will not remain alive. While our relatives are watching, look for yourself. See if there's anything of yours here with me. If you find anything belonging to you, take it." But Jacob didn't know that Rachel had stolen the gods.
33 So Laban went into Jacob's tent and Leah's tent. He went into the tent of their two female servants. But he didn't find anything. After he came out of Leah's tent, he entered Rachel's tent.
34 Rachel was the one who had taken his family gods. She had put them inside her camel's saddle. She was sitting on them. Laban searched the whole tent. But he didn't find anything.
35 Rachel said to her father, "I'm sorry, sir. I can't get up for you right now. But don't be angry with me. I'm having my monthly period." So he searched everywhere but couldn't find his family gods.
36 Jacob was very angry with Laban. "What have I done wrong?" he asked. "What sin have I committed to make you hunt me down like this?
37 You have searched through all of my things. What have you found that belongs to your family? Put it here in front of your relatives and mine. Let them decide between the two of us.
38 "I've been with you for 20 years now. The little ones of your sheep and goats were not dead when they were born. I haven't eaten rams from your flocks.
39 I didn't bring you animals that were torn apart by wild beasts. I made up for the loss myself. Also, you made me pay for anything that was stolen by day or night.
40 "And what was my life like? The heat burned me in the daytime. And it was so cold at night that I froze. I couldn't sleep.
41 That's what it was like for the 20 years I was living with you. "I worked for 14 years to get your two daughters. I worked for six years to get my share of your flocks. You changed my pay ten times.
42 "But the God of my father was with me. He is the God of Abraham and the God Isaac worshiped. If he hadn't been with me, you would certainly have sent me away without anything to show for all of my work. But God has seen my hard times. He has seen all of the work my hands have done. So last night he warned you."
43 Laban answered Jacob, "The women are my daughters. The children are my children. The flocks are my flocks. Everything you see is mine. But what can I do today about these daughters of mine? What can I do about the children they've had?
44 "Come now. Let's make a covenant, you and I. Let it be a witness between us."
45 So Jacob took a stone. He set it up as a pillar.
46 He said to his relatives, "Get some stones." So they took stones and put them in a pile. And they ate there by it.
47 Laban named the pile of stones Jegar Sahadutha. Jacob named it Galeed.
48 Laban said, "This pile of stones is a witness between you and me today." That's why it was named Galeed.
49 It was also called Mizpah. That's because Laban said, "May the LORD keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other.
50 Don't treat my daughters badly. Don't get married to any women besides my daughters. There isn't anyone here to see what we're doing. But remember that God is a witness between you and me."
51 Laban also said to Jacob, "Here is this pile of stones. And here is this pillar. I've set them up between you and me.
52 This pile is a witness. And this pillar is a witness. They give witness that I won't go past this pile to harm you. And they give witness that you won't go past this pile and pillar to harm me.
53 "The God of Abraham and Nahor is also the God of their father. May their God decide which of us is right." So Jacob took an oath in the name of the God his father Isaac worshiped.
54 He offered a sacrifice there in the hill country. And he invited his relatives to a meal. After they had eaten, they spent the night there.
55 Early the next morning Laban kissed his grandchildren and his daughters. He gave them his blessing. Then he left and returned home.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica. All rights reserved worldwide.