|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
29:9-14 See Rachel's humility and industry. Nobody needs to be ashamed of honest, useful labour, nor ought it to hinder any one's preferment. When Jacob understood that this was his kinswoman, he was very ready to serve her. Laban, though not the best humoured, bade him welcome, and was satisfied with the account Jacob gave of himself. While we avoid being foolishly ready to believe every thing which is told us, we must take heed of being uncharitably suspicious.
Verse 9. - And while he yet spake with them (literally, he yet speaking with them), Rachel came with her father's sheep: for she kept them - or, she was a shepherdess, the part. רֹעָה being used as a substantive (Gesenius, 'Lex.,' sub. nom.).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And while he yet spake with them,.... While Jacob was thus discoursing with the shepherds:
Rachel came with her father's sheep; to water them at the well. She was within sight when Jacob first addressed the shepherds, but now she was come to the well, or near it, with the sheep before her:
for she kept them: or "she was the shepherdess" (d); the chief one; she might have servants under her to do some parts of the office of a shepherd, not so fit for her to do; it may be Laban's sons, for some he had, Genesis 31:1; were not as yet grown up, and Leah, the eldest daughter, having tender eyes, could not bear the open air, and light of the sun, nor so well look after the straying sheep; and therefore the flock was committed to the care of Rachel the younger daughter, whose name signifies a sheep. The Jews say (e), that the hand of God was upon Laban's flock, and there were but few left, so that he put away his shepherds, and what remained be put before his daughter Rachel, see Genesis 30:30; and some ascribe it to his covetousness that he did this; but there is no need to suggest anything of that kind; for keeping sheep in those times and countries was a very honourable employment, and not below the sons and daughters of great personages, and still is so accounted. Dr. Shaw (f) says it is customary, even to this day, for the children of the greatest Emir to attend their flocks; the same is related of the seven children of the king of Thebes, of Antiphus the son of Priam, and of Anchises, Aeneas's father (g).
(d) "quia pastor illa", Montanus, "pastrix", Schmidt. (e) Targ. Jon. in loc. Pirke Eliezer, c. 36. (f) Travels, p. 240. No. 2. Ed. 2.((g) Hom. II. 1. ver. 313. II. 6. ver. 424. II. 11. ver. 106.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
9-11. While he yet spake with them, Rachel came—Among the pastoral tribes the young unmarried daughters of the greatest sheiks tend the flocks, going out at sunrise and continuing to watch their fleecy charges till sunset. Watering them, which is done twice a day, is a work of time and labor, and Jacob rendered no small service in volunteering his aid to the young shepherdess. The interview was affecting, the reception welcome, and Jacob forgot all his toils in the society of his Mesopotamian relatives. Can we doubt that he returned thanks to God for His goodness by the way?
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