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The Master Shepherd
Jacob was simply a master, when it came to tending flocks. In fact, he wasn't only an expert at his trade, but he was found to be very hard-working, industrious and ingenious at what he did.
(Bible Study Online Article Covers : Genesis 30:29-43)
In the last article we'd learned -- that after it had came to Laban's attention, that Jacob was ready to leave, and make his own way out in the world. Laban would present Jacob with another proposal? And from within this proposal, Laban would give Jacob the freedom to name his own wages. And Jacob would do just that... sort of?
For the Sacred Record would reveal, this time around, Jacob would counter Laban's proposal?
Jacob would do this by first reminding his father-in-law, about all the things that he had done for him, for the past 14 years:
"You know how I have worked for you and how your livestock have fared under my care.
"The little you had before I came has increase greatly, and the Lord has blessed you wherever I have been. But now, when may I do something for my own household?" -- Genesis 30:29,30
And if Laban was to be honest with himself? There was no way, that he could deny, any of what Jacob had just stated.
And actually, from the very beginning, it was for the very same reasons, that he wanted to keep Jacob around. Nonetheless, now that Jacob was able to get Laban to officially acknowledged, what he had done for him for the past 14 years -- it would be this move on Jacob's part, that would end up paving the way for Jacob's counter-proposal:
"Don't give me anything, but if you will do this one thing for me, I will go on managing your flocks. Let me go through all your flocks today and remove from them every speckled or spotted sheep, every dark-colored lamb and every spotted or speckled goat. They will be my wages, and my honesty will testify for me in the future, whenever you checked on the wages that you have paid me. Any goat in my possession that is not speckled or spotted, or any lamb that is not dark-colored, will be considered stolen." -- Genesis 30:31-33
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And after hearing Jacob's counter-proposal, Laban would immediately accept Jacob's terms. For Laban knew, that the "speckled and spotted" that Jacob wanted to be compensated with, were very few in number. In fact, one could state, that they were a rarity. And given the history, when it came to the birth results from Laban's current flocks -- he knew that his goats and lambs, were known to reproduce their young, that were primarily solid in color (black, white, or tan), instead of the "spotted and specked" ones that Jacob had requested to be paid with.
So basically, Laban saw this as a win-win business opportunity for him. For he knew, that not only would he get Jacob to continue to manage his flocks, but he would also get his expert services for next to nothing. So after everything had been said and done, in regards to their new business arrangement, Next we find Laban going out and immediately separating the flocks that were solid in color, from the very few that were "spotted and speckle".
And after Laban had done this -- he would then place a three day journey between his family group and the solid colored flocks that he's solely owed, and Jacob's family group, and his newly acquired "spotted and speckled" colored flock.
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Tricks of the Trade?
Nonetheless, we now find -- that after Jacob had been left alone to do his work, when it came to the tending of his newly acquired "spotted and speckled" flock. We find Jacob going out and gathering some fresh-cut branches, that had came from some popular almond and plane trees, that was located nearby. Next, Jacob would then turn the branches he'd just acquired, into white stripes? And he did this by peeling back the bark, which in turn, exposed the white inner wood of the branches.
Then Jacob would place the peeled branches, in all the watering troughs that the flock would drink from. He did this, so the peeled branches would be directly in front of the flocks when they'd came to drink. Jacob had did this, so that when the flocks had came before the watering troughs to drink -- the peeled branches would end up having a strange effect on the flock? An effect, that would cause the flock, to immediately want to mate with each other. And because of this particular, secret shepherding technique -- Jacob's flock would bore young that were: streaked, spotted, or speckled.
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Jacob the Master of His Craft?
Now keep in mind that Jacob had came from the land of Canaan. Now I'm pointing this out, because the shepherding Canaanites were known throughout the land as "Nekohim?" Know that the name means (speckled). Now personally, I believe that this is important to know, because over in Canaan, the shepherds had preferred their flocks to be "speckled or spotted" in color. As a matter of fact, this was their forte (one's strong point) -- so to speak.
So basically, the preference of color and the "herding techniques" that we find Jacob using, most likely had been learnt from that part of the country -- you know, the one from whence he came. Now I'm stating all of this, so that you may know, that Jacob was simply a master, when it came to tending flocks. In fact, he wasn't only an expert at his trade -- but he was found to be an individual, that was very hard-working, industrious and ingenious at what he did.
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It's All in the Mind?
Nonetheless, the Sacred Record would also reveal, that Jacob would then place the "spotted and speckled" ahead of the flock that were solid in color, when he drove them across the terrain. Understand, that this shepherding technique, was done to somehow mentally prepare the females that were solid in color, to give birth to "spotted and speckled" young -- instead of young that was solid in color. Yeah I know, didn't I tell you, that Jacob was methodical when it came to his craft?
However, Jacob wouldn't stop there? For we also find, that he would further separate the flocks... by making one group specifically for him, and the other group, would be specifically for Laban. And it would be at this time, that the Sacred Record would inform us, that Jacob would allow only the strong females (those that were in heat) to mate and give birth. And when it came to the weak females, he would not let them mate. So what he did instead, he'd placed them into the flock that belonged to Laban.
So basically when it was all said and done, Jacob's flock had quickly grown in size, therefore, making him exceedingly prosperous. And on top of this, he'd also seen increase in his household, along with his maidservants and menservants. For the Sacred Record also reveals, that Jacob came to own large flocks of his own -- along with donkeys and camels as well: "In this way [Jacob] grew exceedingly prosperous and came to own large flocks, and maidservants and menservants, and camels and donkeys." -- Genesis 30:43
In the next Bible Study Online Article:
Now after learning of Jacob's new found wealth, and his strength in numbers -- how will Laban respond? For it would seem, that Jacob had made out far better in their business deal, than Laban had anticipated.
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