And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Laban his mother’s brother.—The threefold repetition of these words has no other reason than that given in the Note on Genesis 28:5.Genesis 2:23. A month here means the period from new moon to new moon, and consists of twenty-nine or thirty days.The vale of Siddim was chosen by those five kings for the place of battle, that their adversaries being ignorant of the place might unawares fall into those pits, which they by their knowledge of it thought to escape.
Kings of Sodom and Gomorrah, i.e. their armies; a figurative speech, frequent in Scripture and other authors; for their persons escaped: see Genesis 14:17. They either,
1. Fell into the pits which they designed for others; or rather,
2. Were slain, as this word is oft used, as Joshua 8:24,25 Jud 8:10 12:6; and here too; for those that fell are here opposed to those that remained.
and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother; wherefore out of respect to him and his, he being so nearly allied to him, it was
that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, either with the help of the shepherds, or of himself by his own strength; which the Jewish writers (h) say amazed the shepherds, that he should do that himself, which required their united strength. The Targum of Jonathan says, he did it with one of his arms; and Jarchi, that he removed it as easily as a man takes off the lid cover of a pot:
and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother; this he did partly out of respect to his relations, and partly that he might be taken notice of by Rachel.And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)10. went near, and rolled] Jacob disregards the rule of the well; and at the risk of incurring the wrath of the local herdsmen and shepherds, by a feat of great personal strength, removes unaided the stone covering, and renders Rachel the service of watering Laban’s flock. The shepherds were apparently kept quiet by the appearance of the stranger’s energy and strength. For the whole scene, cf. the story of Moses, Exodus 2:16-21.Verse 10. - And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, - "the term mother's brother is not unintentionally repeated three times in this verse to describe with the greatest possible stress that Jacob had met with his own relations, with "his bone and his flesh" (Kalisch) - and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother (Jacob from the first takes particular notice of Laban's flock, perhaps regarding them as a sign of Laban s wealth. If Laban s daughter had her attractions for the son of Isaac, so also had Laban s sheep), that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth (probably disregarding the shepherds' rule to wait for the gathering of all the flocks, unless, indeed, Rachel s was the last), and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother. The threefold repetition of this phrase does not prove that Jacob acted in all this purely as a cousin (Lange). The phrase is the historian's, and Jacob had not yet informed Rachel of his name. Genesis 29:2), by which three flocks were lying, waiting for the arrival of the other flocks of the place, before they could be watered. The remark in Genesis 29:2, that the stone upon the well's mouth was large (גּדלה without the article is a predicate), does not mean that the united strength of all the shepherds was required to roll it away, whereas Jacob rolled it away alone (Genesis 29:10); but only that it was not in the power of every shepherd, much less of a shepherdess like Rachel, to roll it away. Hence in all probability the agreement that had been formed among them, that they would water the flocks together. The scene is so thoroughly in harmony with the customs of the East, both ancient and modern, that the similarity to the one described in Genesis 24:11. is by no means strange (vid., Rob. Pal. i. 301, 304, ii. 351, 357, 371). Moreover the well was very differently constructed from that at which Abraham's servant met with Rebekah. There the water was drawn at once from the (open) well and poured into troughs placed ready for the cattle, as is the case now at most of the wells in the East; whereas here the well was closed up with a stone, and there is no mention of pitchers and troughs. The well, therefore, was probably a cistern dug in the ground, which was covered up or closed with a large stone, and probably so constructed, that after the stone had been rolled away the flocks could be driven to the edge to drink.
(Note: Like the cistern Bir Beshat, described by Rosen., in the valley of Hebron, or those which Robinson found in the desert of Judah (Pal. ii. 165), hollowed out in the great mass of rock, and covered with a large, thick, flat stone, in the middle of which a round hole had been left, which formed the opening of the cistern, and in many cases was closed up with a heavy stone, which it would take two or three men to roll away.)
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