Following the birth of Joseph, Jacob made the decision to return home to his parents. Laban was slow to release him since God had blessed his flock because of Jacob. Laban asked what he could pay to make him stay. Jacob answered that he would accept wages of all the spotted, speckled, and brown goats and sheep belonging to his father in law. He would request the animals at any given moment. Over time, the herds of Jacob increased and he became a wealthy man.
Laban’s sons were not pleased when they noticed that Jacob was taking a large number of animals from their flocks. Laban was also not as nice as he used to be. God advised Jacob to leave and he took the advice. Along with his wives and children, Jacob left without letting Laban know. Before they departed, Rachel stole an important item called the teraphim from her father’s house.
Laban was outraged to learn that the teraphim was missing and he set off to find Jacob on a journey that lasted seven days. The night before Laban caught up with Jacob, God came to him in a dream. He was warned not to say anything to Jacob , even if it was positive or negative.
Finally, when the two encountered one another, Laban took on the role of a father in law who had been hurt by the actions of his son in law. He demanded that his teraphim be returned to him. Jacob was unaware that Rachel had stolen the object from Laban’s house and told him that whoever took his possessions should be put to death.
Jacob allowed Laban to search for what he sought after. When Laban reached the tent of his youngest daughter, he did not see the teraphim because she was sitting on top of them and told her father she could not get up because she was menstruating.
Finally, Jacob and Laban went their separate ways. Jacob continued to travel and Laban returned to his home. Before they departed from one another, they agreed to a pact to preserve the peace between them.
An Attempt to Conceive
Sometimes, a range of methods has been used by women to increase their chances of conceiving, including plants. A tale in the Bible mentions Leah and her firstborn son Reuben, who comes in from the field with mandrakes for his mother. It was during this time that Leah had not been conceiving for awhile. It is said that the plant had roots that resembled the human body and was thought to help people suffering from infertility. Rachel has been frustrated with her inability to bear a child and offers to trade a night with their husband in exchange for the mandrakes. Leah agrees and that night, she sleeps with Jacob and Issachar was conceived.