First Impressions I: Questions
He appeared at the well as a penniless vagabond. Jacob had nothing with him. “My brothers, where are you from?” he asked. I wonder if they reacted to “My brothers” the way I react when a panhandler on the subway begins his pitch with, “Hey! Bro!”
They respond tersely. “Haran.” “We know.” Jacob doesn’t take the hint and he continues the conversation, “Is it well with him?” They see a way to pass him off to someone else, “See, his daughter Rachel is coming with the flock!”
Jacob has been interested in Laban, but he now changes into an itinerant preacher, “Look, the day is still long, it isn’t yet time to bring the livestock in. Water the flocks and go on grazing.”
Who is this guy? He sees the huge boulder on the well. (See Rock & Roll) He can figure out why we are waiting. He’s homeless. Let him be Laban’s problem. Now, he’s preaching!”
I would have brushed him off, but they respond. They are defensive about their practice.
“While he was still speaking with them, Rachel had arrived with her father’s flock.” “Jacob came forward and rolled the stone off the mouth of the well and watered the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother. Then Jacob kissed Rachel; and he raised his voice and wept.”
They were probably ready to beat up the homeless preacher when he single handedly rolls the stone it usually took a large group of men to move. It’s probably not such a good idea to beat him up. They were, after all, busy taking care of their flocks..
Plus, this homeless guy is close enough to Laban to water his flocks.
They are not looking too kindly at Jacob when he gives them a great excuse to ridicule him and his sermons: he grabs Rachel and he kisses her. “You can’t trust these religious fanatics!”
Jacob, ignoring them, begins to cry over the fact that Rachel and he will not be buried together. The shepherds are convinced that this homeless man is crazy.
Not what I would call a great first impression!
Did Jacob sense how others perceived him? Did he care? Did he do all this on purpose?
He takes the same approach with Laban. Jacob told him everything that happened to him. He told Laban that he stole Eisav’s blessings! Neither of my sons-in-law would have made it to a first date with that approach!
Laban has a wonderful opportunity to act as the righteous party. He demands that he pay Jacob for his work.
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