Today, I am reading and commenting on Genesis 29-30.
When Jacob arrived in the land where his uncle lived he spoke to some shepherds who were waiting by a well. They were waiting for all of the flocks to arrive before opening the well and starting to water the flocks. When Rachel arrived with Laban’s flocks, Jacob opened the well and watered them. The passage seems to imply that there were still more flocks due to arrive and that Jacob did not want Rachel to wait for them, although it is possible that what it is saying is that Jacob jumped the queue for Rachel and she got to water her flocks sooner than she would have otherwise. I doubt that this is important, but it strikes me every time I read the passage that the writer is telling us something beyond what he is explicitly writing. I just am not sure what that something is.
Another thing which struck me today is that, after Jacob told Laban his story, Laban said that Jacob was really his own flesh and blood. One can argue about what Laban meant by that statement, or what it was in Jacob’s story that led him to say it, but I believe it is a reference to Jacob buying Esau’s birthright with a bowl of stew and tricking Isaac into giving him the blessing intended for Esau. If I am interpreting this correctly, Jacob was duly warned and should have been more alert for Laban substituting Leah for Rachel. However, I do not believe that Jacob was at all surprised by Laban taking all of the spotted and speckled goats and all of the black sheep out of the flocks he tended before beginning the deal whereby such sheep became Jacob’s. By the time Jacob made that deal I am quite confident he already had a plan whereby most of the newborn sheep and goats would be those which counted as his, even if none of the adults in his care were.