Was Jacob superstitious?

Post up on thoughts that are not related to the other forums in THEOLOGY.

Was Jacob superstitious?

Postby Paidion » Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:31 am

Before returning to his own country, Jacob asked his uncle Laban for his wages as follows:

Let me pass through all your flock today, removing from it every speckled and spotted sheep and every black lamb, and the spotted and speckled among the goats, and they shall be my wages. (Gen 30:32ESV)

Laban agreed, and then Jacob tried to increase his wages in the following way:

Then Jacob took fresh sticks of poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white streaks in them, exposing the white of the sticks. He set the sticks that he had peeled in front of the flocks in the troughs, that is, the watering places, where the flocks came to drink. And since they bred when they came to drink, the flocks bred in front of the sticks and so the flocks brought forth striped, speckled, and spotted. Gen 30:37-39 ESV)

This method of producing striped, speckled, and spotted offspring seems like superstition. Yet, the author of Genesis, whether Moses or someone else, seems to have believed that when the flocks viewed peeled sticks while mating, they would produce striped, speckled, and spotted offspring. Then he records that this technique actually worked.

If the story is true, here are my questions:
1. What was the cause (if any) of the striped, speckled, and spotted offspring?
2. Was it only a coincidence that striped, speckled, and spotted offspring were produced?
3. Did God indulge Jacob's seemingly superstitious belief by causing the flocks to produce striped, speckled, and spotted offspring? That seem unlike God.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 76 years. I am now in my 80th year of life.
User avatar
Paidion
 
Posts: 3836
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:38 pm
Location: The Back Woods of North-Western Ontario

Re: Was Jacob superstitious?

Postby davo » Mon Apr 11, 2016 6:57 pm

Paidion wrote:That seem unlike God.

I would agree. I once heard it explained (and have no idea how accurate this is) that such stripped sticks can have a tendency to spin/rotate in the water given certain conditions say like a windy day and that such a thing (light then dark movement) could likely startled the sheep and as a result produce the so-called imperfections of spotting etc. NO idea how true that is but they may have believed such a practice to work.
“...the power and mercy of God’s grace is NOT limited to man’s ability to comprehend it...”
User avatar
davo
 
Posts: 1557
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:10 am
Location: Brisbane Australia

Re: Was Jacob superstitious?

Postby DaveB » Mon Apr 11, 2016 7:58 pm

My grandmother had a birth mark that looked like a mouse, and she said it was because a mouse ran across her mother's foot when she was pregnant with Grandma, scaring her and causing the fetus to change.
How could I prove her wrong? Superstitions, like Jacob's, are funny and interesting.
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.
DaveB
 
Posts: 3787
Joined: Wed May 02, 2012 3:07 pm

Re: Was Jacob superstitious?

Postby Paidion » Tue Apr 12, 2016 10:31 am

I posted this in "The Narrow Path" forum. Steve Gregg who instigated that forum had a different explanation. He said there was no superstition involved, and that Jacob placed the peeled sticks in the drinking trough, not for the animals to view, but to add sap to the drinking water since this was considered to be an aid to fertility.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 76 years. I am now in my 80th year of life.
User avatar
Paidion
 
Posts: 3836
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:38 pm
Location: The Back Woods of North-Western Ontario

Re: Was Jacob superstitious?

Postby davo » Tue Apr 12, 2016 1:39 pm

Paidion wrote:I posted this in "The Narrow Path" forum. Steve Gregg who instigated that forum had a different explanation. He said there was no superstition involved, and that Jacob placed the peeled sticks in the drinking trough, not for the animals to view, but to add sap to the drinking water since this was considered to be an aid to fertility.

Sounds feasible.
“...the power and mercy of God’s grace is NOT limited to man’s ability to comprehend it...”
User avatar
davo
 
Posts: 1557
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:10 am
Location: Brisbane Australia

Re: Was Jacob superstitious?

Postby LLC » Tue Apr 12, 2016 10:23 pm

Paidion, Davo, I agree. I think that the sap from the sticks probably sweetened the water. This method either aided in fertility or attracted the animals to the water during mating season. Laban probably thought he had the upper hand in the deal since the speckled and spotted animals were fewer in number and probably considered worthless. However, I think he was surprised to find out that Jacob had a knack for raising flocks and increasing his fold.
LLC
 
Posts: 690
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 9:45 am


Return to General Theology

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests