Jacob Finds His Relatives
Background and Printed Text: Genesis 29:1-14
Genesis 29:1 And He-Will-Heel carried his feet. And he walked toward the land of the sons of the east. 2And he saw. And behold, a well is in the field. And behold, three flocks of sheep couching upon her are there. For they watered the flocks from that well. And the stone is big upon the mouth of the well. 3And all the flocks will be gathered there. And they will roll the stone from upon the mouth of the well. And they will water the sheep. And they will return the stone upon the mouth of the well to her place.
4And He-Will-Heel said to them, “My brethren, from where are ye?” And they said, “We are from Fury.” 5And he said to them, “Knew ye White the son of Snorer?” And they said, “We knew.” 6And he said to them, “Is peace to him?” And they said, “Peace. And behold, Ewe his daughter came with the flock.”
7And he said, “Behold, the day is yet big. [It] is not time for the cattle to be gathered. Water ye the flock. And go-ye. Pasture-ye.” 8And they said, “We will not be able until all the flocks shall be gathered and they shall roll the stone from upon the mouth of the well. And we will water the flock.”
9He is yet speaking with them. And Ewe came with the flock that is to her father. For he is a shepherdess. 10And he was just as He-Will-Heel saw Ewe the daughter of White his mother’s brother and the sheep of White his mother’s brother. And He-Will-Heel approached. And he rolled the stone from upon the mouth of the well. And he watered the flock of White his mother’s brother. 11And He-Will-Heel kissed Ewe. And he carried his voice. And he wept.
12And He-Will-Heel told to Ewe that he is her father’s brother, and that he is Multiple-Pouring’s son. And she ran. And she told to her father. 13And he was as White’s hearing news of He-Will-Heel his sister’s son. And he ran to meet him. And he embraced him. And he kissed him. And he brought him unto his house. And he scrolled to White all these things. 14And White said to him, “But thou art my bone and my flesh!” And he dwelt with him a month of days.
I. Jacob and the Well (verses 1-3)
The Hebrew says that Jacob carried his feet. He had just seen the ladder, and he had spoken with Yehovah. He went toward Laban’s house.
He walked toward a place known as the land of the sons of the east. He looked and saw a well in a field. There were three flocks by it, so Jacob knew that this was a gathering place.
They watered the flocks from this well. A very large stone was placed over the well’s mouth; only when the stone was rolled from the well’s mouth could the sheep be watered. Then the stone was put back again. The shepherds and shepherdesses could not individually remove this large stone; it was far too heavy. Some strong men did the moving of the stone on a daily basis.
1. What does “Jacob carried his feet” mean?
2. What is the land of the sons of the east?
3. Jacob, like Avraham’s slave, came right to the right spot and just at the right time to meet a relative of Laban. Did Jacob have good luck or didn’t he?
4. What does couching mean (verse 2)?
5. Why were the sheep couching?
6. Why did they use that well (instead of another well)?
7. Why was a stone placed over the well, and how was it shaped?
8. Who will normally roll the stone from the well and will return the stone to the well to cover it?
II. The Inquiry (verses 4-6)
Jacob was the stranger to the area, but he asked them, “From where are ye?” or the way we might say it, “Where are you from?” They told him that they are from Haran (Fury). He then inquired about Laban (White), and they knew him.
In Hebrew, the question, “Is there peace to you?” means, “Are you doing well?” For if one is not doing well, he doesn’t have peace. He asked about Laban’s peace, And they responded, “Peace.” They also knew Rachel, and they told Jacob that she came with the flock.
1. Why did Jacob call strangers brethren?
2. The brethren answered that they knew White (Laban), and peace was to him. Why didn’t they say more?
3. Is Ewe a good name for a girl? What is a ewe?
4. Since Ewe (Raquel) has her own flock of sheep, is she wealthy?
III. Jacob’s Advice (verses 7-8)
Jacob was mystified. There were three flocks by this covered well, and the day is yet big (the sun is high); this isn’t the time to gather cattle. He told them to water the flock and to take them to pasture.
They explained that they were unable to do this. All the flocks must be gathered; then and only then will they role the stone from the mouth of the well. They can then water the flock.
1. Why did Jacob act in such a bossy manner (verse 7)?
2. What does “Behold, the day is yet big” mean?
3. What is the time that cattle should be gathered?
4. What does “Pasture-ye” mean?
IV. Jacob’s Sudden Strength (verses 9-11)
Jacob was still in conversation when Rachel and her flock arrived. When Jacob saw her and the sheep, Jacob approached the well and rolled the stone cover from it. He then watered the flock of Laban. After this, he kissed Rachel. Then Jacob carried (lifted) his voice and wept out loud.
1. What other text describes an event that is like this, in which a slave is speaking to Yehovah and making a request, when he is also interrupted by seeing an important girl?
2. Why does the text read, “For he is a shepherdess,” when he is a girl?
3. Why did Jacob suddenly approach the stone over the mouth of the well, and roll it off?
4. Where did Jacob get the strength to move such a heavy rock?
5. Why did Jacob water the flock?
6. Why did Jacob kiss Rachel before he explained who he was? Wasn’t this wrong? After all, kissing a girl was a very big deal in those days!
7. Wasn’t Jacob a wimp, a sissy or a wuss for weeping out loud?
V. Laban Comes (verses 12-14)
Jacob told Rachel how he was related to her. He called himself “her father’s brother,” but the word “brother” is used to mean “relative” when used this way. He said that he was Rebekah’s (Rivka’s) son. Rachel ran and told her father (leaving Jacob by the well).
Laban heard the news, and he ran to meet Jacob. He embraced him (he hugged him tightly), and he kissed him. (Men kiss men in many cultures, and it does not mean that they are attracted to each other; it means that they are glad to see each other or that they will miss each other when they part.)
Laban then brought Jacob to his house. Jacob scrolled to Laban what had happened at his house, and why he had come. Laban said that he (Jacob) was his bone and flesh!
Jacob stayed with Laban for a month of days—that is, for about thirty days.
1. Ewe ran. Did she leave the sheep?
2. Did her father live far away?
3. What does “And he was” mean?
4. Was Laban happy to see him?
5. What did Jacob tell Laban?
6. What did Laban mean by, “but thou art my bone and my flesh”?
7. Was it good for Jacob to stay a full month?