Genesis 29:9
And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep: for she kept them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) Rachel came with her father’s sheep.—Comp. Exodus 2:16; and so in modern times Mr. Malan saw “the sheik’s daughter, the beautiful and well-favoured Ladheefeh, drive her flock of fine patriarchal sheep” to a well for water in this very region (Philosophy or Truth, p. 95). As forty years at least elapsed between this meeting of Jacob and Rachel and the birth of Benjamin, she must have been a mere child at this time.

Genesis 29:9. For she kept them — Having, no doubt, servants under her who performed the meaner and more laborious offices, and whom it was her place to oversee. When Jacob understood that this was his kinswoman Rachel, (for he had probably heard of her name before,) knowing what his errand was into that country, we may suppose it occurred to his mind immediately, that this must be his wife. As one already smitten with an honest, comely face, (though it is likely sun-burnt, and she in the homely dress of a shepherdess,) he is wonderfully officious, and ready to serve her, (Genesis 29:10,) and addresses himself to her with tears of joy and kisses of love, Genesis 29:11. She runs with all haste to tell her father, for she will by no means entertain her kinsman’s address without her father’s knowledge and approbation, Genesis 29:12. These mutual respects at their first interview were good presages of their being a happy couple. Providence made that which seemed contingent and fortuitous to give a speedy satisfaction to Jacob’s mind, as soon as ever he came to the place he was bound for. Thus God guides his people with his eye, Psalm 32:8. Laban, though none of the best-humoured men, bid him welcome, was satisfied with the account he gave of himself, and the reason of his coming in such poor circumstances. While we avoid the extreme on the one hand of being foolishly credulous, we must take heed of falling into the other extreme of being uncharitably jealous and suspicious.

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.Jacob's interview with Rachel, and hospitable reception by Laban. Rachel's approach awakens all Jacob's warmth of feeling. He rolls away the stone, waters the sheep, kisses Rachel, and bursts into tears. The remembrance of home and of the relationship of his mother to Rachel overpowers him. He informs Rachel who he is, and she runs to acquaint her father. Laban hastens to welcome his relative to his house. "Surely my bone and my flesh art thou." This is a description of kinsmanship probably derived from the formation of the woman out of the man Genesis 2:23. A month here means the period from new moon to new moon, and consists of twenty-nine or thirty days.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? No text from Poole on this verse.

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.

And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep; for she kept them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
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.). Genesis 29:9Jacob asked the shepherds where they lived; from which it is probable that the well was not situated, like that in Genesis 24:11, in the immediate neighbourhood of the town of Haran; and when they said they were from Haran, he inquired after Laban, the son, i.e., the descendant, of Nahor, and how he was (לו השׁלום: is he well?; and received the reply, "Well; and behold Rachel, his daughter, is just coming (בּאה particip.) with the flock." When Jacob thereupon told the shepherds to water the flocks and feed them again, for the day was still "great," - i.e., it wanted a long while to the evening, and was not yet time to drive them in (to the folds to rest for the night) - he certainly only wanted to get the shepherds away from the well, that he might meet with his cousin alone. But as Rachel came up in the meantime, he was so carried away by the feelings of relationship, possibly by a certain love at first sight, that he rolled the stone away from the well, watered her flock, and after kissing her, introduced himself with tears of joyous emotion as her cousin (אביה אחי, brother, i.e., relation of her father) and Rebekah's son. What the other shepherds thought of all this, is passed over as indifferent to the purpose of the narrative, and the friendly reception of Jacob by Laban is related immediately afterwards. When Jacob had told Laban "all these things," - i.e., hardly "the cause of his journey, and the things which had happened to him in relation to the birthright" (Rosenmller), but simply the things mentioned in Genesis 29:2-12 - Laban acknowledged him as his relative: "Yes, thou art my bone and my flesh" (cf. Genesis 2:23 and Judges 9:2); and thereby eo ipso ensured him an abode in his house.
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