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Genesis 30 ~ What is with the rods?!
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TOPIC: Genesis 30 ~ What is with the rods?!

Genesis 30 ~ What is with the rods?! 5 years, 9 months ago #291

  • fotop
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Gen. 30:39 "So the flocks mated by the rods, and the flocks brought forth striped, speckled, and spotted."

Gen. 30:40 "And Jacob separated the lambs, and made the flocks face toward the striped and all the black in the flock of Laban; and he put his own herds apart, and did not put them with Laban's flock."

I totally don't get this! Is this about some biological phenomenon I've never heard about? Is this divine intervention? Did I accidently miss a verse?

I don't understand the connection between: 37 "fresh rods of poplar and almond and plane trees and peeled white stripes in them, exposing the white which was in the rods" and altered DNA.

Re:Genesis 30 ~ What is with the rods?! 5 years, 9 months ago #302

  • cartoonbug
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SHORT ANSWER
You are correct that there is something suspicious about Jacob’s Genetic Breeding program. It’s apparent that this was a superstition of Jacob’s that he could somehow control the mating outcome with some fancy carving of some branches of poplar, almond, and chestnut (Rods).

The fact is: God blessed Jacob in spite of his superstitious use of the stripped rods of poplar, almond, and chestnut. Jacob's scheme probably depended upon a faulty notion that vivid visual impressions during the act of reproduction determined the traits of the offspring. Regardless, God had plans for him and his offspring and so he directly intervened.

Genesis 31:11-12 (New International Version)
11 The angel of God said to me in the dream, 'Jacob.' I answered, 'Here I am.' 12 And he said, 'Look up and see that all the male goats mating with the flock are streaked, speckled or spotted, for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you.


LONG ANSWER
Genesis 30:30-40 (New International Version)
30 The little you had before I came has increased greatly, and the LORD has blessed you wherever I have been. But now, when may I do something for my own household?"

31 "What shall I give you?" he asked.
"Don't give me anything," Jacob replied. "But if you will do this one thing for me, I will go on tending your flocks and watching over them: 32 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. 33 And my honesty will testify for me in the future, whenever you check on the wages 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."

34 "Agreed," said Laban. "Let it be as you have said." 35 That same day he removed all the male goats that were streaked or spotted, and all the speckled or spotted female goats (all that had white on them) and all the dark-colored lambs, and he placed them in the care of his sons. 36 Then he put a three-day journey between himself and Jacob, while Jacob continued to tend the rest of Laban's flocks.

37 Jacob, however, took fresh-cut branches from poplar, almond and plane trees and made white stripes on them by peeling the bark and exposing the white inner wood of the branches. 38 Then he placed the peeled branches in all the watering troughs, so that they would be directly in front of the flocks when they came to drink. When the flocks were in heat and came to drink, 39 they mated in front of the branches. And they bore young that were streaked or speckled or spotted. 40 Jacob set apart the young of the flock by themselves, but made the rest face the streaked and dark-colored animals that belonged to Laban. Thus he made separate flocks for himself and did not put them with Laban's animals.

Did Jacob Have A Genetic Secret?
Did Jacob have some secret genetic process for controlling offspring outcomes? Was there some kind of Hocus Pocus in the placement of rods of poplar, almond, and chestnut that caused the sheep to give birth to speckled lambs?

Unfortunately skeptics complain and point out the lack of science here -- and to an extent they are right in their complaints. Jacob was dabbling in what is termed "sympathetic magic" – by putting a striped object in front of the flocks so that they had "streaked or speckled or spotted" offspring. Sympathetic magic, also known as imitative magic, is a type of magic based on imitation or correspondence. Imitation involves using effigies or poppets to affect the environment of people, or occasionally people themselves. Correspondence is based on the idea that one can influence something based on its relationship to another thing. There is no doubt that Jacob was engaged in a bogus act.

Superstition and God’s Plans
The fact is: God blessed Jacob in spite of his superstitious use of the stripped rods of poplar, almond, and chestnut. Jacob's scheme probably depended upon a faulty notion that vivid visual impressions during the act of reproduction determined the traits of the offspring. We do not know whether this was his own notion or something equivalent to a wives tale.

For centuries, couples have been trying to influence the sex of their children by a multitude of dubious tricks. Italian men were biting their wife’s left ear to beget a daughter and their right ear to sire a son. Swedish men were hanging their pants on the left bedpost to father a girl and on the right one to father a boy. German woodcutters were taking an axe to bed and then chanted: “Ruck, ruck, roy, you shall have a boy!” or “Ruck, ruck, raid, you shall have a maid!” This kind of nonsense goes on thru each generation.

God seems to have blessed Jacob in spite of his worldly schemes and plans.

Genesis 31:11-12 (New International Version)
11 The angel of God said to me in the dream, 'Jacob.' I answered, 'Here I am.' 12 And he said, 'Look up and see that all the male goats mating with the flock are streaked, speckled or spotted, for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you.

God did this because it is through Jacob that the whole world will be blessed and through him that the nation promised to Abraham will be born. Jacob's problem is that he thinks he needs to earn his good fortune; this is why he deceives Esau, leaves the land of promise, and tries to gain worldly wealth with Laban. Jacob does not trust that God is going to bless him and keep him, but thinks that he must take care of himself.

Thank the Lord our God that in spite of our feeble efforts to take control of our circumstances, he is there as our loving heavenly Father ensuring that we do not come to harm and that eventual we find ourselves aligned with God’s will and plan for our lives.
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