Genesis 30:1-24

Jacob's family

1 Rachel now knew that she could not give birth to any children for Jacob. So she became jealous of her sister. Rachel said to Jacob, ‘Please give me children. If not, I will die.’ 2 Jacob became angry with Rachel. He said, ‘Am I God? God has stopped you from giving birth to children!’ 3 Rachel said, ‘Take my servant Bilhah and have sex with her. Then she can have children on my behalf. Through her, I can have a family.’

30:1At the time of the Old Testament it was very important for women to have children.
30:3Sarah had said the same thing to Abraham about Hagar. See Genesis 16:2

4 So Rachel gave her servant Bilhah to Jacob to become his wife. 5 Bilhah became pregnant and she gave birth to a son for Jacob. 6 Rachel said, ‘God has shown that I am right. He has listened to me and he has given a son to me.’ Because of this, she called the boy Dan. 7 Rachel's servant Bilhah became pregnant again. She gave birth to another son for Jacob. 8 Rachel said, ‘I have fought with my sister and I have won.’ She called this son Naphtali.

9 Leah saw that she had stopped having children. So she gave her servant Zilpah to Jacob as a wife. 10 Zilpah became pregnant and she gave birth to a son for Jacob. 11 Leah said, ‘This is very good.’ She called the boy Gad. 12 Leah's servant Zilpah gave Jacob another son. 13 Leah said, ‘I am very happy! Women will call me happy.’ So she called this boy Asher.

14 It was the time for the harvest of wheat. Reuben went out and he found some mandrake plants in a field. He took them to his mother, Leah. Rachel said to Leah, ‘Please give me some of the mandrakes that your son gave to you.’ 15 But Leah said to Rachel, ‘You took my husband from me. That was bad enough! Now you want to take my son's mandrakes too!’ Rachel said, ‘OK. If you give me some of your son's mandrakes, Jacob can sleep with you tonight.’

30:14A mandrake is a plant that people eat. Its root has a shape like a human body. People thought that it helped them to enjoy sex. Rachel thought that the mandrake plants would help her to give birth to a child. That is why she wanted them.

16 In the evening, Jacob came in from the fields. Leah went out to meet him. She said, ‘You must sleep with me tonight. I have paid for you with my son's mandrakes.’ So Jacob slept with Leah that night. 17 God listened to Leah and she became pregnant again. She gave birth to a fifth son for Jacob. 18 Leah said, ‘God has helped me because I gave my servant to Jacob as a wife.’ She called her son Issachar.

19 Leah became pregnant again and she gave Jacob a sixth son. 20 Leah said, ‘God has given me this valuable gift. Now my husband will respect me because I have given him six sons.’ She called this son Zebulun.

21 After some time, Leah became pregnant again. She gave birth to a daughter. She called her daughter Dinah.

22 Then God decided to help Rachel. He listened to her and he let her become pregnant. 23 She became pregnant and she gave birth to a son. Rachel said, ‘I am not ashamed any longer, because God has given me a son.’ 24 Rachel called her son Joseph. She said, ‘I pray that the Lord will give me another son.’